October 3, 2022 

The Morning Post-Up, Vol. 1 — NCAA explores second postseason tournament in the wake of gender equity report

Plus: U23 3x3 World Cup kicks off in Budapest and a new Nigerian invitational tournament Crowns its first winner

Happy Monday! Welcome to The Morning Post-Up, a free twice-weekly newsletter from The Next. This edition features the latest from the NCAA on postseason opportunities, upcoming events to look out for and a recap of recent major tournaments.

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Earlier this year, Front Office Sports (FOS) reported that during its August meeting, the NCAA Division I committee had discussed plans to host an additional postseason women’s tournament. Adding NCAA support for a tournament similar to the men’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT) was a strong recommendation of the 2021 External Gender Equity Review. The Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) has long been run from outside the bounds of the NCAA. Triple Crown Sports, which runs the tournament, requires that teams fund the vast majority of participation costs, including travel, themselves. Men’s teams participating in the NIT are provided a per diem and have all travel costs covered by the NCAA. The Review specifically noted this “disparity in participation opportunities for men’s and women’s basketball” as an area for significant improvement.

Originally called the National Women’s Invitation Tournament (NWIT), the event was founded in Amarillo, Texas in 1969 by Harley Redin. Redin, who coached women’s basketball at Wayland Baptist University through 1973, is a Women’s Basketball and Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member. The tournament has long been sponsored by third parties and outside groups, and propped up by its own teams. In 1996, the NWIT folded, but the idea was picked up again in 1998 by Triple Crown, which has since operated both pre- and post-season WNIT tournaments, as well as a number of other in-season events.

Now, with the NCAA looking to move into the space, major changes are expected. The FOS report, which pulls from the August meeting minutes, expects the tournament size to be cut in half. At present, the WNIT hosts a 64-team bracket, but the NCAA version is likely to take on the style of the NIT, which takes just 32 teams. Prize money is expected to be similar to the NIT bonus structure; at present, teams receive no financial compensation from the WNIT. When the NCAA will officially make the move is unclear, no timeline came alongside the announcement. But with 2022–23 WNIT events on the way, and the NCAA’s own media deal with ESPN set to expire in two years, the NCAA faces additional pressure outside of the Gender Equity Review to pull together a fair and effective tournament outside of March Madness.

On the block

Next up tournaments to keep your eye on, from 3×3 to international leagues, we’ve got you covered.

  • U23 3×3 World Cup, Oct. 5–9, Bucharest, Romania (7 hours ahead of ET). Free to stream at YouTube.com/c/FIBA3x3.
    • France (group A) and China (group B) enter as favorites. Team USA will play in group C and brings a team stuffed with WNBA rookies, namely Emily Engstler, Veronica Burton and Lexie Hull. N’dea Elyse Jones, former Texas A&M star, rounds out the roster. Team France have come up big in the 2022 3×3 circuit, taking home the 3×3 Nations League title and coming second to Canada in the Women’s Series earlier this year.

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Dish and Swish

Major events and results to know from around the world

Crown Elite Basketball Championship, Lagos National Stadium, Nigeria — The invitational tournament for top Nigerian clubs opened a women’s side for the first time in late August of this year. First Bank Basketball Club of Lagos took home the inaugural title, beating Mountain of Fire Miracles, 44–27. Murtanatu Musa was named tournament MVP. Moving fowrad, Crown Elite expects to host a women’s championship once a year.

FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series, Constanta, Romania — The major 3×3 event wrapped up on Sept. 18 after two days of intense matches. Team Canada stood atop the standings, after entering as heavy favorites and living up to expectations as they posted a 25–3 record. France, who won both the World and Euro Cups, and the USA rounded out the top three teams. The final between France and Canada, which is slowly becoming my favorite rivalry in 3×3, is free to watch here. Canadian star Michelle Plouffe was named Finals MVP, while fan voting for the tournament MVP will close on Oct. 18.

Next, read…

  • Our Scott Mammoser details Lauren Jackson’s 30-point last stand with the Opals, and what it took to make the comeback possible.
  • Dallas Morning News‘ Peter Warren details how the upcoming rollout of the prioritization clause could affect the Wings.
  • Our Scott Mammoser explores the 2022 FIBA Hall of Fame class, which was announced on Friday.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing editor for The Next from upstate New York. She occasionally covers 3x3 and labor in women's basketball.

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