Format decided for 68-team tourney: The 2011 championship will tip off with four first-round games, all broadcast nationally in primetime for the first time.
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Q & A with Division I Men’s Basketball Committee chair: Dan Guerrero spoke to a select group of reporters about the format for the expanded, 68-team championship in 2011. Read the story
Q & A with NCAA Senior Vice president of Division I Men’s Basketball and Business Strategies: Greg Shaheen spoke to a select group of reporters about Monday’s “First Four” announcement. Read the story
Looking back: An inside look at how the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1984. Read the story
1939 – The first National Collegiate men’s basketball tournament is conducted with an eight-team field, a bracket size that continues for 12 years.
1946 – The championship game is televised for the first time in New York City to viewing audience estimated at 500,000. It also is the first time four team advance to the finals site.
1951 – The field expands to 16 teams and employs automatic qualification for the first time (10 conferences).
1952 – Regionals expand from two to four, with the winners advancing to the finals.
1953 – The bracket expands to 22 teams. The field fluctuates between 22 and 25 teams for the next two decades.
1954 – The championship game is televised nationally for the first time. The semifinals and final also move from a Tuesday-Wednesday format to Friday-Saturday.
1963 – The first TV rights contract with Sports Network totals $140,000.
1966 – Net income for the tournament exceeds $500,000 for the first time.
1969 – NBC is awarded the TV contract for $547,500. Net income for the tournament exceeds $1 million for the first time.
1973 – The semifinals and final are moved to Saturday-Monday. NBC reports the championship game is the highest-rated basketball telecast of all time.
1975 – The field expands to 32 teams. For the first time, more than one team from a conference can be selected.
1979 – The bracket grows to 40, all of which are seeded for the first time. The championship game between Michigan State and Indiana State draws a 24.1 rating, which committee members assumed would only grow in subsequent years but has yet to be topped.
1980 – The bracket expands to 48 teams, including 24 automatic qualifiers and 24 at-large berths. More than two teams from the same conference are allowed for the first time.
1981 – The committee begins using the Rating Percentage Index as a selection tool. The committee also adopts a policy stating that automatic qualifiers can’t compose more than 50 percent of the field.
1982 – CBS is awarded a three-year contract to broadcast the tournament. The selection show is broadcast live for the first time.
1983 – The bracket grows to 52 teams. The committee introduces an opening round requiring eight conference automatic qualifiers to vie for four spots.=
1984 – A 53rd berth is added to the bracket. The committee votes to expand the field to 64 the following year.
1985 – The 64-team bracket is deployed, eliminating all first-round byes. The committee caps the number of automatic qualifiers at 30 for the next five years.
1989 – The NCAA Executive Committee extends the cap on automatic qualifiers through 1998. All games are played at neutral sites for the first time.
1991 – CBS re-ups for $1 billion for seven years and commits to covering all games of the tournament.
1995 – The NCAA and CBS renegotiate the rights agreement to a more than $1.72 billion deal through 2002.
1999 – CBS signs an 11-year, $6 billion bundled-rights agreement that includes= broadcast, Internet, cable, digital and home video rights.
2001 – To accommodate a 31st conference, the committee adds a 65th berth and approves an opening-round game.
2009 – A new seating configuration accommodates a record crowd at Detroit’s Ford Field for the 25th year of the 64-team bracket.
2010 – The NCAA announces a new 14-year television, Internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 and continuing through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion.
2010 – The Division I Board of Directors approves the basketball committee’s recommendation that the bracket be expanded to 68 teams.