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MAC basketball tournaments to undergo changes

First round games at campus sites for next two seasons

The Mid-American Conference Council of Presidents approved several recommendations of the league’s Joint Committee at its annual spring meeting Monday.

The Presidents approved a recommendation to retain a 12-team men’s and women’s basketball tournament format with only eight men’s and women’s teams advancing to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland following first-round campus site games. The approved format will be in place for a two-year period (2010 and 2011).

The Council of Presidents endorsed the Directors of Athletics’ recommendation that over the next 12 to 16 months the MAC develop a fiscally responsible plan to arrive at two 12-team tournaments at separate, neutral-site venues beginning with the 2012 events. The approved tournament format for 2010 and 2011 was in place the first seven years of the event’s existence in Cleveland (2000-06); the last three years (2007-09) all 12 men’s and women’s teams advanced to Cleveland.

“The action taken today by our presidents provides a short term plan of action as well as a vision for building both events,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher in a news release. “I look forward to working with our membership in bringing this vision to reality.”

The Council of Presidents also approved several substantive cost containment measures for the 2009-10 fiscal year to include no conference printed media guides (although the guides will be available online), no men’s and women’s basketball media days and luncheon, and a minimum one-year moratorium on student-athlete gifts at the 23 sponsored MAC championships.

The Presidents also took action by ratifying bowl extensions through 2013 with the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and International Bowl in Toronto. The GMAC Bowl will own the MAC’s first selection following the 2009, 2011 and 2013 football seasons; the Motor City Bowl will retain the first selection following the 2010 and 2012 seasons. 

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Northern Illinois women's basketball coach Carol Owens about possible changes to the conference tournaments.

"My first year that I was at NIU [2005-06], we did the first round with higher seeds at campus sites, which seems to work out pretty well,” Owens said. “I know that our stance as coaches is that we want to continue to have all 12 teams in the tournament.”

So, what do you think? Did the MAC make the right call? What's your solution?

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