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So Much For 96: NCAA Recommends Expanding To 68-Team NCAA Tournament

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The NCAA just sent out a press release announcing its new TV contract with CBS/Turner Sports, and it included a very surprising line about NCAA Tournament expansion (emphasis mine).

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.  

This is an interesting move considering all the noise about how it was 96 teams or bust. It also could very well be a permanent move rather than a stop-gap decision. As Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy notes, there was nothing in the press release that indicated this was a temporary decision. Then again, the word "permanent" doesn't appear in the release either. 

Regardless, an expansion merely to 68 teams is one that fans of the 65-team bracket will probably understand more than a rapid expansion to 96 teams.