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Leonard Hamilton, ACC coaches support NCAA Tournament with all 357 teams

“I have long been a proponent of expanding the NCAA Tournament to include all Division I teams.”

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Duke Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reports started circling early Wednesday that all ACC coaches had voted in favor of pursuing a path that would allow all 357 Division I teams to participate in the NCAA Tournament, and eventually, those were confirmed by those coaches speaking out in favor of the proposal.

“In the ACC, we believe in the importance of celebrating our game,” Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “There is no better way to do that than involving every team in the most prestigious basketball tournament on the planet.

“This is not a regular season. It is clearly an irregular season that will require something different. Our sport needs to be agile and creative.”

Florida State Seminoles basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton released his own statement explaining his reasoning for the change (notwithstanding that he was previously open to it), ranging from this year’s unique circumstances to a small attempt to make up for the loss of last year’s tournament.

You can see the entire statement below:

I have long been a proponent of expanding the NCAA Tournament to include all Division I teams. As the Head Coach at Florida State University, I am proud to stand united with the incredible group of ACC coaches and this recommendation to give every student-athlete the opportunity to play in the greatest tournament in sports.

We believe that providing each Division I team in the country the opportunity to participate in the 2021 NCAA Tournament allows for the safety of all players as we schedule, play, and travel to games throughout the season.

The idea is unprecedented. It is an idea that is groundbreaking, forward-thinking, and illustrates a tremendous opportunity that we have to advance the game of college basketball.

By allowing every team to participate in the Tournament, concerns of playing a conference only schedule or a so-called high RPI schedule are eliminated. Also taken out of consideration are games potentially lost to coronavirus concerns.

In short, it gives every student-athlete who plays college basketball the chance of a lifetime – playing in the NCAA Tournament. It also gives teams and players who were unable to play in the 2020 NCAA Tournament because of the virus, the opportunity to realize their dreams of playing on the greatest stage in sports.

Certainly, there will be challenges, but we believe the positives will far outweigh the negatives. This is an idea that we can make work, and under this plan, the potential is in place for the 2021 NCAA Tournament to be one of sports’ greatest events.