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NCAA, Listen to the People not Your Wallet

Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 15:04

There's an old saying that if it isn't broke then don't fix it.

This saying rings true when it comes to the NCAA tournament. The closest thing we have to a utopia in sports could be changed from 65 teams to 96 as soon as next season.

To say that this has a bad sentiment with many fans is an understatement. A poll on cbssports.com asking about expansion 86% of the over 20,000 people that responded are against it.

Fans are not the only ones who are against it. Several well renowned columnists have strong opinions regarding the subject.

Bob Ryan, of the Boston Globe, said in his column, "All these people will do is create a who-cares first-round that will force people into a ridiculously hectic second week while giving us very few games we really want to see."

With a 96 team field the regular season is hardly as important and major conference tournaments which already have limited importance right now will have about no importance at all other than generating revenue for the conferences.

This expansion comes from the same organization that claims that their BCS football system (which most people love to hate), works because every week of the regular season has emphasis. Quite the contradiction when you have a field so watered that the regular season will not matter.

John Feinstein of the Washington Post brought up a fact that might be overlooked by some.

"So now it's okay for some "student-athletes" to miss an entire week of class? This isn't even taking into account some missed class time during the first week and the four days missed by the two teams that play for the national title during the final week, because the NCAA now requires teams to arrive at the Final Four site on Wednesday night," Feinstein said.

Sometimes we forget these players that bring entertainment to us are students. They are just kids, many who will go on to other professions after basketball. The new tournament format provides a second week, that if the school advances they could play three times. All of those games would be away from home. In effect, those kids would miss an entire week of school.

Let's face it, none of the teams that will be added have a chance to win the NCAA tournament. The expansion will probably make Joe Lunardi's head explode as he deciphers whether a sub-.500 Atlantic 10 team deserves a bid over a team from the Big Sky conference. It will also be a good time watching Doug Gottlieb on SportsCenter telling us that a 16-15 Georgia team is more worthy than a 15-15 St. John's when we all know neither one of them belongs in the tournament.

The expansion will depend on if the NCAA opts out of its television contract with CBS this summer. They will probably opt out of that contract and ESPN will come calling with a big offer and a litany of networks to show games on. Then the expansion idea will be complete.

There is no denying that in business you're always looking to make a larger profit. But, when that profit hurts the product it usually comes back to hurt the business and consumers will try another product. Unfortunately when it comes to college basketball the NCAA is the only product you have to consume, so they can change the product and you will be forced to watch it if you like college basketball.

A meaningless regular season, a watered down post-season, kids missing classes, and a bunch of disappointed fans, that sounds really bad and the NCAA would even agree too if there wasn't money involved.

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