The Mountain West (MW) announced today a series of changes for the 2019 and 2020 Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships designed to generate greater visibility for the women’s title game and to make the event more accessible for fans across the conference.
Beginning in 2019, the following changes will be implemented for the MW Women’s Basketball Championship:
• The tournament format will remain the same, with all 11 teams participating
• The women’s tournament will begin one day earlier, on Sunday, March 10
• The women’s championship game will be played two days earlier, on Wednesday, March 13
The MW Women’s Championship Game will be the marquee game on Wednesday of Championship Week, following the three first round games from the MW Men’s Championship played earlier in the day. The change also means all 11 institutions and their fans will be in Las Vegas on the day of the MW Women’s Championship Game.
In recent years – and for the 2018 edition of the MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships -- the women’s title game has been played as a matinee on the Friday of the tournament, preceding the men’s semifinals.
For the 2020 edition of the MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, the entire tournament will begin one week earlier. The MW Women’s Basketball Championship will begin Sunday, March 1 and conclude Wednesday, March 4. The MW Men’s Basketball Championship will begin Wednesday, March 4 and conclude Saturday, March 7. This change impacts only the 2020 MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
The decision to bring the tournament forward by one week in 2020 was influenced in large part by the CONEXPO-CON/AGG International Construction Trade Show, which will be held March 10-14, 2020 in Las Vegas. The international trade show brings more than 125,000 construction industry professionals to the city and dramatically impacts the availability and price of hotel rooms, airline tickets and rental cars.
With respect to the 2020 MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, the MW accepted formal expressions of interest from other cities interested in hosting the tournament – notably, San Diego and Phoenix – but has decided to remain at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. No decision has been made regarding future sites for the tournament beyond 2020.
From August to December 2017, an eight-person committee studied a series of options related to the MW Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, including dates, format and location for 2020. Ultimately, the committee made its recommendations to the MW Directors of Athletics, who endorsed the recommendations, and then brought the recommendations forward to the MW Board of Directors and Directors of Athletics, who gave unanimous approval.
The eight-person committee included:
John Hartwell, Athletic Director, Utah State
Joe Parker, Athletic Director, Colorado State
Janice Ruggiero, Deputy Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator, New Mexico
Rhonda Bennett, Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator, Nevada
Joe Legerski, Women’s Basketball Coach, Wyoming
Stacie Terry, Women’s Basketball Coach, San Diego State
David Pilipovich, Men’s Basketball Coach, Air Force
Leon Rice, Men’s Basketball Coach, Boise State
MW staff liaisons were Senior Associate Commissioners Dan Butterly and Carolayne Henry.