The likelihood that the NCAA will now be increasing the field to 96 for next year’s basketball tournament is extremely distressing. The current tournament structure, with the minor 2001 addition of a 65th “play-in” team, has been in use for 25 years. While I personally would love to see the field significantly decreased to only the schools who actually deserve to be included by virtue of having completed a championship-caliber regular season, the dollars the tournament generates have NCAA execs drooling for even more.
It is amusing, though, that they choose to ignore all of the arguments against a football tournament, in planning basketball expansion. All those arguments like not wanting “student”-athletes to have to miss classes.
I can just see a 96-team event next year: 15 Big East Teams, 11 from the SEC, and oh, yea, three from the Pac-10.
But seriously, the overwhelming fact that money talks at the NCAA does not bode well for those of us hoping that justice will prevail with the pending sanctions against the NCAA’s biggest single money tree, the sc brain surgeons. The NCAA’s long-standing history of protecting its top money-makers in general and the brain surgeons in particular, combined with two other recent events, makes one suspicious as to whether or not there will be a report that honestly recounts the sc transgressions and whether adequate and appropriate penalties will be assessed.
First, sc’s signing a couple of weeks ago of Seantrel Henderson seemed to indicate some inside info known to the sc staff and Henderson and his family. That may well have been, however, intentional misinformation allowed to percolate, as the timing of the signing may have been more related to the timing of the receipt of Henderson’s ACT scores, and just how low sc would lower their admission standards to get the guy in. The second item was UTEP’s signing of ex-brain burgeon basketball coach Timma Floyd. On its face, his sob story to the media (Floyd “repeated his previous denials of wrongdoing, while praising UTEP officials for doing “their due diligence” in hiring him.” according to Yahoo! Sports) would seem to indicate knowledge that things won’t get any worse. If the powers that be at UTEP could have believed that there was any chance whatsoever that Timma could yet be found to have caused cash payments to be delivered to one of his players, would they have possibly hired him?
The next few weeks will show the world just how dishonest and greedy the NCAA really is.