The NCAA men’s basketball tournament could feature a few more teams in the future.

Per an NCAA release sent out Thursday morning, the Division I men’s basketball committee spent time talking about a possible expansion of the tournament during three days of meetings this week.

Expansion isn’t imminent, however, and per The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, “this was the first time that the men’s basketball committee actually had potential expansion on its meeting agenda and time for a thorough conversation on the topic.”

The idea of tournament expansion was recommended in January by the DI transformation committee. That committee was formed to “identify opportunities to modernize college sports and recommend forward-thinking changes for consideration by the NCAA.”

One of the recommendations given by the transformation committee was to accommodate and/or allow for 25% of a sport’s membership to have championships access (for sports that have at least 200 participating schools).

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Currently, there are 351 DI schools that sponsor men’s basketball, meaning only 19.4% of teams have championship access. And that doesn’t include the 11 schools that are currently reclassifying from Division II to Division I.

(If the men’s National Invitation Tournament (NIT) is included in championship access discussions, the percentage of teams with access is 28.5%).

“The committee must be good stewards for the Division I men’s basketball championship,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement. “They are committed to doing their due diligence looking at a few different models to make an informed decision that’s in the best interests of the championship, and that may very well include deciding against expansion.

“The committee and staff will continue studying options and gathering feedback from various constituents. Whether the tournament expands or not remains to be seen.”

Expansion has been a defining characteristic of the NCAA Tournament for more than 70 years.

The first NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament was played in 1939, and included just eight teams. The field grew to 16 teams in 1951, then doubled to 32 in 1975 and then expanded again to 64 teams in 1985. 

In 2001, an opening-round game was introduced and then in 2011 three more games were added to that round, creating the First Four.