NCAA to launch second women’s basketball postseason tournament

The Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament will run like the men’s NIT, and feature 32 teams that just missed the NCAA tournament.

The Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament will run like the men’s NIT, and feature 32 teams that just missed the NCAA tournament. (Jacob Kupferman/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Women’s basketball is getting a second postseason tournament.

The NCAA announced on Monday that it is launching a second women’s college basketball tournament this season. The Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament will begin this spring, and it will operate like the NIT on the men’s side. The tournament will feature 32 teams that just missed the cut for the NCAA tournament.

“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,” Jamie Boggs, chair of the Division-I women’s basketball oversight committee, . “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.”

It’s unclear what will happen to the women’s NIT. That 64-team tournament was run independent of the NCAA, and teams had to bid to host games and pay for most expenses. Kansas beat Columbia to win the women’s NIT last season, which marked the 25th year for the event.

Specifics regarding the new WBIT tournament are not yet known. The NCAA is planning to create a selection committee, host sites, bracket rules and more later this summer. It will likely run similar to how the NCAA tournament is set up, where teams host early rounds of the tournament before moving to a central location for later rounds.

Though this new system will help add postseason opportunities for women’s teams at a much cheaper cost, not everyone is thrilled about it. Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella told The Associated Press that he was upset with how the overall postseason field is now smaller.

“A lot of people are saying [the new tournament] is great for women’s basketball. but I’m not sure it is,” Bozzella said. “With the WNIT and NCAA we had 132 teams, now we have 100. Is it better for women’s basketball, we will see.”

last season and claim their first ever title. The game , which is up more than 100% from 2022 and made it the most-watched women’s NCAA basketball game ever.