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DI Women’s Basketball Committee elects chairs for 2019-21

Group backs move to two-site regional format by 2023 championship and use of NCAA Evaluation Tool

At the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee meeting July 15-17 in Indianapolis, veteran athletics administrators Diane Turnham and Nina King were picked to lead the committee over the next two years.

Diane Turnham

Entering her fifth year on the committee, Turnham, senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Middle Tennessee, will chair the committee in 2019-20, taking over on Sept. 1 from Rhonda Lundin Bennett, senior associate athletics director at Nevada, who chaired the committee the past two years. King, currently in her second year on the committee, will serve as vice chair of the committee during the coming year before assuming chair duties in 2020-21. King is senior deputy director of athletics for administration/legal affairs and chief of staff at Duke.

In addition, the committee also recommended pursuing a two-site, eight-team regional format by the 2023 championship, while backing the use of the NCAA Evaluation Tool in the evaluation of teams. 

Nina King

The committee’s recommendation to move to a two-site regional format effective for the 2023 championship was supported by the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee. The Women’s Basketball Committee noted moving to a two-site format would elevate and enhance the student-athlete experience, enhance broadcast coverage, create opportunity for growth of the sport and championship, build the brand of women’s basketball and expand programming targeting strategic plan initiatives that were announced in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Strategic Plan.3 

The committee also conducted its annual summer assessment of the Ratings Percentage Index system, noting that the RPI will remain the sole provider of supplemental data for the evaluation of teams for at-large selection and seeding of the 2020 championship bracket. The committee also will take the next steps toward the possible use of NET for the start of the 2020-21 season. Steps include the analysis of women’s basketball statistical data over multiple years to build a women’s basketball algorithm that includes game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin and net efficiency (offensive efficiency minus defensive efficiency).

The committee also expressed an interest in engaging other committees in a discussion regarding microphones on coaches, which is currently prohibited in all NCAA championships.

“I am extremely humbled that my committee colleagues asked that I serve as chair during the coming season,” Turnham said. “I have big shoes to fill in following Rhonda in this role. It continues to be an honor to work alongside such an outstanding team who is dedicated to the continued growth of the sport of women’s basketball and by working to ensure we provide the best championship experience for our student-athletes and fans.”

Now in her 37th year with the Blue Raiders, Turnham was voted Middle Tennessee’s employee of the year for 2001-02. She has served two stints as the department’s interim athletics director and was elected into the Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 2012.

In January 2014, Turnham was promoted to her current position as senior associate athletics director. She oversees women’s sports, handles the department’s personnel changes and serves as administrator for women’s basketball and volleyball, as well as the deputy Title IX coordinator for athletics.

Turnham served as the chair of the Sun Belt Conference’s senior woman administrators and as a member of the league’s executive staff committee until 2008. She was a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee from 2004 to 2008 and was chair of that committee for the 2008 season. Turnham also served four years on the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee from 2009 to 2012, serving as chair in her final two years.

King facilitates the daily operation and oversight of Duke athletics, with responsibilities for the human resource operation, the recreation and physical education program, and all legal matters, including the development and execution of department contracts while serving as the liaison to the legal counsel office. She leads the senior staff/sport administrator group, which is responsible for the administration of Duke’s 27 varsity sports. In addition, she assists with the oversight and planning for special projects within the department, coordinates strategic planning initiatives and is the main contact between the athletics department and the administration. She also handles the primary administrative duties for Duke’s women’s basketball and football programs.

King also serves on several ACC and Duke committees and previously was a member of the NCAA Committee on Institutional Performance.

Before joining Duke, King served as the director of rules education in the Notre Dame athletics department from 2005 to 2008.

“My time on the committee to date has been very rewarding, and it is an honor and a privilege to be selected as a future chair,” King said. “As vice chair this year, I look forward to learning under Diane and then being ready to lead the valuable work of the committee in 2020-21.”