The NCAA creates a new 32-team postseason event: Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament; WNIT and WBI respond
The NCAA is adding another postseason women’s tournament to its lineup. The organization announced the launch of the 32-team Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament for 2024. The event will be completely owned and funded by the NCAA.
There are already two independent postseason tournaments that have robust participation: The 64-team WNIT and the eight-team Women’s Basketball Invitational. The new NCAA tournament’s name is very close to the original WBI. The WNIT and WBI are often showcases for up-and-coming teams that have later success in the NCAA tournament.
From the NCAA release:
With the addition of the WBIT, 100 postseason NCAA-funded opportunities will be available for Division I women’s basketball teams, equal to that of men’s basketball through its two events (the 68-team championship and 32-team National Invitation Tournament). Details about the tournament’s format — including the selection process, bracketing principles and host sites — will be released later.
“Women’s basketball is at an all-time high with records being set for national championship and Final Four viewership, and the tournament was the most viewed since 2009,” said Jamie Boggs, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and vice president of athletics for Grand Canyon. “This tournament will create an additional NCAA-funded postseason opportunity for women’s basketball, and it comes at a time when we are seeing tremendous growth in popularity for women’s basketball.”
The NCAA also released branding for the tournament, which continues to highlight orange in alignment with other NCAA women’s basketball branding, including the March Madness logo. The WBIT logo — which is inspired by a backboard and net — also will feature blue to tie in to the NCAA’s primary branding.
Later this summer, the NCAA will identify a selection committee, comprising women’s basketball stakeholders and NCAA members, to administer the WBIT.
The WNIT issued a response to the NCAA’s announcement Monday afternoon:
Amidst the news of the NCAA launching the new 32-team Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament (WBIT), the WNIT will continue to be a thriving postseason tournament featuring 48 teams starting in 2024.
The WNIT has consistently demonstrated its unwavering commitment to women’s basketball and its dedication to promoting the sport’s growth and development. With a rich history spanning 25 years, the WNIT’s primary motive has always been to prioritize what is best for women’s basketball, and that unwavering dedication will continue to guide its operations.
As the tournament moves forward, its commitment to providing a platform for teams and athletes to showcase their skills, fostering competition, and advancing the women’s game will remain unchanged, ensuring a bright and promising future for women’s basketball at the collegiate level.
The WBI followed suit with a statement on Tuesday:
The new NCAA postseason tournament, announced yesterday, is a long overdue step in growing the game of women’s college basketball.
The WBI (Women’s Basketball Invitational) has provided a postseason women’s basketball tournament since 2010. Since that time, the WBI has given 132 teams the opportunity to continue their successful seasons into postseason play. The WBI plans to keep its unique format of eight teams at one venue playing for a championship. The details will be announced in the coming months.
Stay tuned for more updates on this story.