June 11, 2023
Which women’s college basketball teams are taking foreign tours in 2023?
Plus, where teams will travel and what they’ll do overseas
Americans are expected to travel in record-breaking numbers this summer, especially by airplane, according to the travel and insurance organization AAA. That strong demand for travel is evident among women’s college basketball teams as well: At least 58 Division I teams will take foreign tours this summer, up from at least 18 in 2022.
College teams can take foreign tours once every four years, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all tours in 2020 and deterred most teams from traveling in 2021 and 2022. That means that most teams have not traveled since at least 2019 and are eligible to do so this summer, and many are seizing the opportunity. All told, the 58 teams will visit 16 countries and territories and spend more than 550 total days out of the United States, with most trips taking place in August.
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Here is a list of the teams that The Next confirmed will travel this summer, based on outreach to 13 leading tour companies and several schools’ athletic departments:
|Arkansas||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 5-14|
|Auburn||France and Switzerland||Aug. 6-16|
|Baylor||Italy and Greece||Aug. 3-13|
|Belmont||Italy||July 29-Aug. 8|
|Boston College||Italy||July 31-Aug. 10|
|Clemson||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 9-19|
|Colgate||Italy and Greece||Aug. 2-12|
|Florida State||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 5-15|
|George Washington||Italy and Greece||Aug. 12-22|
|Georgia State||Greece||Aug. 7-15|
|Georgia Tech||Croatia and Spain||Aug. 6-16|
|Gonzaga||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 13-25|
|Holy Cross||Ireland||July 26-Aug. 3|
|Iowa||Italy and Croatia||Aug. 4-15|
|Iowa State||Italy and Greece||Aug. 7-17|
|Kansas||Italy and Greece||Aug. 6-16|
|Kent State||Greece||Aug. 6-13|
|Louisiana||Costa Rica||Aug. 8-14|
|Marquette||Italy and Greece||Aug. 9-18|
|Miami||France and Greece||Aug. 2-12|
|Michigan||Italy and Croatia||Aug. 15-24|
|Minnesota||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 17-27|
|Mississippi||Italy||July 30-Aug. 8|
|Nebraska||Greece||July 30-Aug. 9|
|Notre Dame||Greece and Croatia||July 29-Aug. 8|
|Oklahoma State||Italy and Greece||Aug. 1-11|
|Oregon||England and Greece||Aug. 19-28|
|Oregon State||Italy||Aug. 18-30|
|Pacific||Spain||July 31-Aug. 9|
|Princeton||Spain and Greece||Aug. 19-29|
|Rutgers||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 7-17|
|Southern Utah||Australia||Aug. 5-16|
|St. John’s||Italy and Greece||Aug. 11-20|
|Stephen F. Austin||Italy||Aug. 4-14|
|Tennessee||Italy and Greece||June 11-22|
|UC Davis||Italy||Aug. 10-20|
|UC Irvine||Guadeloupe||July 24-Aug. 2|
|UC San Diego||Italy||Aug. 15-25|
|UCLA||Senegal and Germany||Aug. 21-31|
|UConn||Croatia, Slovenia and Italy||Aug. 14-25|
|Utah Tech||Greece||Aug. 9-16|
|VCU||Croatia, Slovenia and Italy||Aug. 7-16|
|Virginia Tech||Greece||Aug. 8-17|
|Washington State||Greece and Croatia||Aug. 5-15|
|Western Michigan||Portugal and Greece||Aug. 19-28|
|Wofford||France||July 31-Aug. 10|
Foreign tours provide several benefits to participating teams. They give teams a unique opportunity to bond and to play exhibition games against foreign teams, which can be especially helpful for teams with new head coaches or an influx of transfers. Combined with the 10 extra practices teams get before departure, tours can give teams a head start on preparing for the season. At the same time, foreign tours expose players to different cultures, food and history, and coaches tout how these experiences can be life-changing for players. Some coaches even require their players to take a summer class beforehand to learn more about their destination.
“The opportunity to go on a foreign tour with our team is incredibly valuable,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said about her team’s upcoming trip to Croatia and Greece. “The chance to spend time not just learning and seeing these amazing places, but also experiencing them together is incredible.”
Teams generally spend much of their tours visiting monuments, museums and historic sites such as the Eiffel Tower in France, the Colosseum in Italy and the Panathenaic Stadium (home of the first modern Olympics) in Greece. They do so not just on foot, but also sometimes by water taxi, gondola or bicycle. Some teams take cooking classes while abroad to further immerse themselves in the local cuisine, and Baylor’s itinerary in Italy and Greece this August will include hosting a youth basketball clinic.
These tours have been part of college athletics for decades, but one newer development is that they can also provide opportunities for international student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness (NIL), which many of them cannot do while in the United States due to visa restrictions. (No student-athletes, whether domestic or international, were allowed to profit from their NIL until 2021.) One tour company representative told The Next that several teams have asked about building time for this into their trips this summer.
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Teams from 20 conferences will take foreign tours this summer. The Big Ten has the most teams traveling with eight, the ACC has seven and the SEC has six teams traveling. A list of teams, sorted by conference, that are traveling is available at the end of this article.
Europe is by far the most popular continent for foreign tours, as 54 of the 58 teams traveling this summer — 93% — will spend all or part of their time there. A few teams will travel internationally in North America, Africa and Australia.
Thirty of the teams traveling this summer will spend their entire trip in one country, while 26 will visit two countries. Greece and Italy are the most popular destinations, and several teams will make stops in both countries. Twenty-eight teams will spend all or part of their trips in Greece, and 24 will do the same in Italy. Croatia is the only other country that will host double-digit teams, with 14 slated to visit this summer.
Whereas Greece and Italy were similarly popular with teams in 2022 as they are this summer, Croatia has become much more popular this summer. No teams went to Croatia in 2022, but its visitors this summer will include some of the sport’s biggest names. Iowa, the national runner-up in 2022, will visit Italy and Croatia in early August and play three exhibition games. UConn will also head to Croatia later in the month, starting in senior guard Nika Mühl’s hometown of Zagreb before visiting Samobor, Croatia; Slovenia; and Italy. (UConn and VCU are the only teams that will visit more than two countries this summer.)
Iowa and UConn are two of eight teams traveling that played in the Sweet 16 last season. That list also includes Elite Eight participant Miami, which will head to France and Greece from Aug. 2-12, and Final Four participant Virginia Tech, which will tour Greece from Aug. 8-17.
Two more Sweet 16 teams bookend the calendar: Tennessee will be the first team to travel, departing on June 11 for Italy and Greece. UCLA will wait the longest — the Bruins won’t leave for Senegal and Germany until Aug. 21.
“We’re about to spend … 11 straight days together, and you’re gonna learn a lot about people when you’re in that close quarters for that long,” Tennessee head coach Kellie Harper told reporters on June 8. “… I think it’s great to be able to see new things [and] experience new things together because while you’re doing that, you get to learn even more about one another. I think it’ll be great for our chemistry. I think it’s a great way to start the summer to be able to spend that time together.”
Here are some additional facts to know about the teams taking foreign tours this summer and their itineraries:
- Nevada will stay relatively close to home when it visits Vancouver and Whistler, Canada, in early August. In contrast, Southern Utah will travel roughly 8,000 miles to visit Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, a few days later.
- Nevada’s trip is also the shortest at six days long, whereas Gonzaga and Oregon State have the longest trips at 12 days. (The median length is 10 days.)
- UCLA’s tour of Senegal and Germany is the only one this summer that spans multiple continents.
- Most teams that take foreign tours work with a tour company that handles the logistics. UC Irvine is an exception, as its staff is planning the team’s trip to the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe in late July and early August.
- Davidson will take its first foreign tour in more than 20 years when it visits Barcelona and Valencia, Spain, in August.
- As with UConn and Mühl, Holy Cross’ trip to Ireland in late July and early August will be a homecoming for an international player. The trip will begin in Dublin, the hometown of senior guard Bronagh Power-Cassidy, and continue on to Cork and Galway.
Teams traveling in 2023 by conference:
|Conference||Number Traveling||Teams Traveling|
|Big Ten||8||Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Rutgers, Wisconsin|
|ACC||7||Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech|
|SEC||6||Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi, Tennessee, Vanderbilt|
|Big 12||5||Baylor, BYU, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State|
|Pac-12||4||Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington State|
|A-10||4||Davidson, George Washington, UMass, VCU|
|BIG EAST||3||Marquette, St. John’s, UConn|
|Big West||3||UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego|
|WAC||3||Stephen F. Austin, Utah Tech, Western Michigan|
|MAC||2||Kent State, Toledo|
|Patriot League||2||Colgate, Holy Cross|
|Sun Belt||2||Georgia State, Louisiana|
|Big Sky||1||Southern Utah|
Note: This story was updated on July 19 to include one additional team taking a foreign tour in summer 2023.
To learn more about foreign tours, check out these articles from past summers:
- “Foreign tours are officially back in women’s college basketball” (2022)
- “How eight days in the summer set the tone for Columbia’s 2022-23 season” (2022)
- “Inside West Virginia women’s basketball’s tour of Italy and Greece” (2019)
- “‘They’re never going to forget that moment’: What six women’s college basketball teams are doing on their foreign tours” (2019)
- “‘There is no way to replicate this at home’: Six women’s college basketball teams share memories, lessons from foreign tours” (2019)
Written by Jenn Hatfield
Jenn Hatfield has been a contributor to The Next since December 2018 and is currently the site's managing editor, Washington Mystics beat reporter and Ivy League beat reporter. Her work has also appeared at FiveThirtyEight, Her Hoop Stats, FanSided and Power Plays.