The NCAA released the early and regional sites for the 2014 Division I women’s basketball tournament on Oct. 10.
Louisville, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Stanford were the four institutions selected to host the 2014 regionals. Those teams will get to play on their home courts if they make the Sweet 16.
This will mark the first time that schools will have an opportunity to host a regional game in a decade. The NCAA went away from this practice because they believed it hindered the competitive equity of the tournament. However, according to ESPNW’s Michelle Voepel, the mindset of the NCAA has changed in the past year to "How do we make more revenue from the tournament?"
Last month, NCAA officials and former WNBA president Val Ackerman met with college coaches and administrators at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis to discuss several issues at the forefront of the women's college game.
Ackerman had been hired to write a "white paper" that looked at the sport from several different perspectives and offered suggestions on how to increase attendance and popularity, among other things. Her report was released publicly during the summer, at which time the NCAA also had decided that returning the regionals to predetermined home courts was on the table.
Those present at the summit in September voted on recommendations for many issues, which then gave a road map to the NCAA committees that are ultimately responsible for deciding on changes.
But in regard to the home-court regionals idea, it seemingly did not make any difference what the coaches or administrators thought, at least not for 2014. This was going to happen, regardless, for the upcoming season.
Muffet McGraw, head coach of Notre Dame, and Jeff Walz, head coach of Louisville, told Voepel at the summit that they were against the idea of having schools host the regionals.
"I think hosting a regional is in complete opposition to preserving the integrity of the game," McGraw said that day. "I think you can buy your way into the Final Four."
Each of the four schools scheduled to host the regionals have experienced tremendous success the past six years at home. Stanford is 92-2 at Maples Pavilion and Notre Dame is 85-11 at home since 2007-08. In the meanwhile, Louisville and Nebraska each have won 81 percent of their home games during that span.
The Final Four will be played in Nashville this year.