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Holzman shares updates, excitement for Division I Women's Basketball Championship

NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman provided updates and answered questions regarding the Division I Women's Basketball Championship during Thursday morning’s media briefing.

A full recording of the media briefing is available in the NCAA’s Digital Media Hub.

Health and safety protocol success

Every participant in a 34-person travel party must record seven consecutive days of negative test results prior to their arrival in San Antonio, the same as for Division I Men’s Basketball Championship travel parties. 

All 64 teams participating in the tournament have passed this checkpoint, meaning tournament organizers did not have to exercise the replacement policy in the event a team could not participate due to a COVID-19 infection. As of Thursday morning, more than 2,600 COVID-19 tests have been administered with only one confirmed positive result.

“These reports are a testament to all of those involved in the conduct of our championship,” Holzman said. “Given the sheer number of individuals involved in the tournament, I am pleased with where we are.”

Holzman concluded her comments on the current success of the NCAA’s health and safety protocols, emphasizing the continued adherence to physical distancing and masking guidance.

Logistics in San Antonio

While the challenges of bringing 64 teams to San Antonio during this time was daunting, Executive Director of the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee Jenny Carnes sought to ensure the NCAA could continue providing the same welcoming experience of the past in a new, unmapped present.

“We are so excited for this opportunity for the city of San Antonio. I can’t think of a better destination and backdrop to host the entire women’s basketball championship,” Carnes said. “We are so honored and grateful to the NCAA for entrusting this year’s historic championship in our hands.”

The over 2,000 participants of the tournament will lodge in seven hotels in the city. Championship participants will be the sole occupants of these select hotels. The controlled environments allow for meticulous attention to detail — such as coordinating the movement of elevators to time a team’s departure from their assigned floor to the lobby’s exit for testing —to increase overall safety and health for the teams.

Several student-athletes from San Antonio will be returning to their home city for the tournament. Holzman added that having San Antonio natives in the tournament can boost local interest in the tournament and help elevate the play.

“We are thrilled to be on the ground here in San Antonio,” Holzman said.

Future of women’s basketball

As former women’s basketball student-athletes at Kansas State and Incarnate Word, Holzman and Carnes shared their excitement for the future of the sport.

This year, for the first time in the championship history, all games will be nationally televised. The NCAA was initially poised to institute this program shift last year. 

“Women’s basketball has been a cornerstone of women in athletics for decades,” Holzman said. “We will continue to remain strategic in way to help with participation opportunities and the visibility of the sport.”