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USA TODAY: The NCAA's exploration of an expanded Division I men's basketball tournament has touched a nerve among some disapproving schools and conferences.
Critics, including influential Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, are expressing concern about watering down the sport's signature event, devaluing conference tournaments and further eroding interest in college basketball's regular season.
Some complain that the NCAA has moved too stealthily in proposing changes to the 65-team bracket - taking it to 68 teams or more radically to 96 - and shopping them to television networks.
How can we make the College Basketball season even MORE irrelevant?
You see that bracket above? Well soon you won't be able to make it "FIT TO PAGE" when you print it out in March.
On one hand we cannot even get a 4 team playoff in Football, but we can expand to 96 teams in Basketball?!?! Does that make sense? I thought part of the reason we cannot get a playoff in football is because these are in-fact students who do need to attend classes. Well expanding the Basketball tournament will lead to adding at least one extra week on the current three week schedule in March. Basically a full month will be occupied this sporting event; a full month, where most schools may have 1 week off for spring break. During the football season, students are off basically from Mid-December through Mid January, meaning there is more room for a playoff in Football when you consider the "class" implications.
I am not for a blown out Football playoff, I would rather see a small 8 team bracket, (maybe 16) with my main concern being the integrity of the regular season. Well when you take into account that the regular season for NCAA Basketball is already somewhat meaningless given how many teams make the tournament, adding teams will just make it that much less.
Right now, there are talks of UNC and/or UCONN both missing the tournament due to their lack of quality wins this year. This is big news because these are two of the elite programs, and missing the tournament is very rare for them. When you look at these teams, they may in fact NOT deserve to be in the bracket, even at 64 teams, however at 96 or more, they will most definitely get in. This makes the "playoff" not really representative of the best teams that are most qualified to participate.
Another thought that is interesting is that once again, the NCAA shows how everything is driven by money, even when in the two sports, the reasons are contradictory.
In football, we have a program that brings in tons of money through sponsorships and the BCS, with the NCAA Presidents using the "Student" factor as the driving force behind not expanding to a playoff - when really we know the truth, these sponsors bring in so much money that at this point the Presidents do not want to change anything with the risk of losing what is currently so lucrative. A change here would result in more than just "tweaks" to the system, and the Presidents are in a fear of an overhaul.
On the other hand, in Basketball, we have a tournament that makes so much money, obviously growing it for another week expands the PLAYOFF along with the ad time that they will sell, resulting in more sponsorship dollars.
So what we have here is sponsorship dollars being the driving factor behind both decisions, however in one case it's being used to prevent a playoff, while in the other case it's being used to expand a playoff. Interesting logic by these NCAA Presidents.
NCAA is one of the most inconsistent and poorly run organization in sports and needs an overhaul of its own. Overtime, as new, younger leaders are in place in these positions of power , the NCAA should begin to improve its way of thinking.
In the meantime, we will continue to hear them discuss why we don't need a playoff in Football, but need a bigger one in basketball.