An official game ball sits on the court during the...

An official game ball sits on the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game between Southern California and UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament Friday, March 8, 2024, in Las Vegas.  Credit: AP/David Becker

Seton Hall and Indiana State may have been snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee but are still playing for a championship in the NIT on Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. A year from now, teams like those — left out of the NCAA Tournament 68-team field — could be participating in one of two competing national postseason tournaments.

Fox Sports and entertainment giant AEG unveiled on Wednesday the plan to hold another championship tournament beginning next season. The College Basketball Crown will be a 16-team tournament held in Las Vegas at MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena. All 15 games will be held between March 31 and April 6, 2025 and will be broadcast on FOX and FS1. None of the games will be played in the same broadcast windows as the NCAA Tournament games.

ESPN’s networks carry the NIT and the College Basketball Crown has the potential to steal participants as well as viewers. The new tournament already has inked multi-year deals with the Big East, Big 12 and Big Ten and a minimum of two teams from each of those conferences will be in the 16-team field.

A committee will select others for the field and the field is expected to be announced on Selection Sunday.

“We are honored to participate in the inaugural College Basketball Crown, which will be an exciting and innovative addition to the college basketball calendar,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said in the announcement. She also called the new event “a high-quality post-season opportunity for our coaches, players and schools.”

“The Big 12 Conference is thrilled to be a part of the College Basketball Crown,” Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said. “College basketball's popularity is on the rise, and we look forward to being a part of another meaningful postseason moment for our student-athletes.”

The NIT is a property of the NCAA and it is unknown how NCAA Tournament selection might be influenced by conferences partnering with this new NIT competitor.

Unlike some national postseason tournaments that previously tried to compete with the NIT — the CBI and CIT — the College Basketball Crown will not ask schools to pay to participate. Teams choosing to participate will also be looking at two weeks between selection and their first game.

The logistics of playing 15 games in the compressed time without making schools play on back-to-back days and without overlapping with the broadcast windows of the NCAA Final Fours for men’s and women’s basketball could be accomplished by playing late-round games earlier in the day instead of prime time.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months