The NAIA will combine divisions in men’s and women’s basketball in 2020-21, the organization announced on Monday after a decision by the Council of Presidents.
The move could create a postseason experience similar to the March Madness allure of the NCAA tournament, though it is undecided how the year-end tournament will shape up. The NAIA previously prided itself on running a postseason tournament that required winning five games in seven days at a single site that featured the 32 top qualified teams. On the men’s side in Division-I, the final site in Kansas City has been the host site for the past 17 years and carries with it much history.
“The NAIA has a long history with Municipal Auditorium and although we have yet to negotiate future contracts, our hope is to keep the men’s tournament in Kansas City,” NAIA president Jim Carr said in a release.
The D-II tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the women’s D-I tournament in Billings and the women’s D-II tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, are expected to continue through 2020.
A 64-team tournament has been recommended with a 16-team or 32-team final site.
What the combined tournament looks like will likely be determined in June, according to the release. The NAIA had previously been a single division of competition in basketball until 1992.
Each school will be allotted a maximum of eight scholarships.