Commentary

NCAA hosts summit on 'white paper'

Originally Published: September 22, 2013
By Mechelle Voepel | espnW.com

Val AckermanAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesVal Ackerman worked on the report with Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president of women's basketball.

INDIANAPOLIS -- In June, the NCAA released the report it commissioned from former WNBA president Val Ackerman in regard to increasing interest and attendance for women's basketball.

Monday here at NCAA headquarters, Ackerman will discuss her so-called "white paper" in a summit with college coaches and administrators, along with NCAA officials.

The purpose of the gathering is to hear from a variety of those involved with the women's game to get their impressions of Ackerman's suggestions, and make recommendations on how to move forward.

Ackerman, who was president of the WNBA from its inception in 1997 until 2005, is now the commissioner of the "new" Big East conference and has extensive experience with international basketball, as well. Ackerman was on the central board of FIBA, the world governing body of the sport. Ackerman played collegiate basketball at Virginia.

She was commissioned in 2012 to do the white paper, which was intended to take stock of the state of women's college basketball with a specific emphasis on the NCAA tournament.

Some of the things her report suggested are actually "old" ideas -- such as a return to a Friday-Sunday format for the Women's Final Four -- which is now Sunday-Tuesday -- and having the top 16 seeds host the early rounds of the NCAA tournament, which was the case before a change to predetermined sites in 2003.

Among the participants in the summit are Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, Oklahoma's Sherri Coale, Louisville's Jeff Walz, Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw, Tennessee's Holly Warlick and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer. Longtime women's basketball referee Dee Kantner also will participate.

Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president in charge of women's basketball, worked with Ackerman on the report and heads the NCAA delegation at the summit.

Browne said the goal for Monday was to try to "gain consensus on the top four or five priorities, and walk out with an action plan."

Mechelle Voepel joined ESPN.com in 1996 and covers women's college hoops, the WNBA, the LPGA, and additional collegiate sports for espnW.

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