Friday, April 2, 2010
At yesterday's state of the game address, the NCAA commented on the fact that this organization is looking into expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams. Thats not a misprint, 96!
There are a ton of angles to look at this impending decision, but the bottom line is $$$$. The NCAA is looking to milk as much money out of the TV folks, whether that ends up continuing to be CBS or should ESPN, NBC or FOX get in on the upcoming bidding war. But who can blame the NCAA, I guess. Bluebloods like UNC, UConn & UCLA could of made the field this year and boosted ratings instead og being relegated to the NIT!
Nevermind that when I tune in Thursday afternoon to watch NCAA basketball, I see tons of empty seats. The arenas don't sell out. That Old Dominion-Notre Dame game looked like 500 people were there. Even old Big Blue, the Kentucky fan base could not come close to filling up the New Orleans Arena. Why pay $75 for a ticket when I can get them on the street for $5? Even the Sweet 16 in Utah had a ton of empty seats.
This trend will continue with the proposal of extending the the first weekend into a second week. Talk about a water downed product. Who could take off a week to follow their university for 6 days? Most people I know are working and trying to just to make ends meat, only the extreme wealthy would go to follow a team for 6 days over the first 3 rounds, still not even reaching the Sweet 16.
Add into this mix, are you really gonna watch CBS primetime NCAA Tournament basketball when the first round match up is 20-12 #20 seed Cleveland State against 22-8 # 13 seed Texas Christian, battling for the right to take on first bye recipient & # 5 seed Washington??? Let's get real people, I have better things to do, like watch paint dry.
The regular season in college hoops is even more meaningless. Why schedule a tough out of conference game. Why not just build up 13-14 wins on cupcakes, go 8-8 in conference plays and finish 22-8, make the tournament. Who cares about strengh of schedule or RPI, eveybody gets a trophy!
Alot of talking heads say this will provide more job security. I disagree. If I'm an athletic director at a power 6 conference (SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, Big East) and we don't make that Field of 96 two years straight, in the words of Donald Trump, "You're Fired." No excuse. I wouldn't even let you in the building to clean your office out. Again, if I hire you and you don't make the tournament in 2 years, you're done. On to the next candidate. Its inexcusable for Power 6 schools not too make it. Atleast now, if you took over a horrible situation (see Anthony Grant & Tony Barbee), your more likely to get 3-5 years to get if turned around. Not now, get in or get out of my arena!
Finally, the hypocrisy of the NCAA is always fun. They promote STUDENT-Athletes, ahem, yet a team that would play on that first Thursday and advance to a Sweet 16/Elite 8 would be gone from campus for 2 straight weeks of class! Yet they are students. Come on people, these kids miss class all the time with mid week games. Football is the one sport that hardly ever misses class, since their is only 4-6 road games and you leave on a Friday & are back the next day. Yet its academic integrity at its finest, this almighty great NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Thank goodness College Football doesn't have a playoff!