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Regarding the NCAA Selection Committee, something struck me the other day…

March 17, 2015

When watching Scott Barnes, the NCAA Tournament Committee Chairman, trying to explain the choice of a team like UCLA over Colorado State, there were so many inconsistencies that it was obvious there was something underneath at work here.

Gaining steam implied hat the committee valued the last 10 games of the season rather than the entire season. Something they said they never did.  Of course it was comical that UCLA’s steam was generated by winning 4 games against the lowest part of the conference, then losing close to the Pac-12’s best team.

Pointing out that UCLA has a Top 100 road win and CSU didnt.  Again, looking at one data point rather than the full body of work.  NCAA games are played on neutral courts.  CSU had a Top 100 neutral game win and UCLA did not on their resume.

Pointing to an eye test when its obvious that the committee can’t be at every game watching them.

I could go on and on.  But you get my point.  The inconsistencies are so glaring when selecting at-large bids that it became obvious that Barnes was throwing up a smokescreen.

And the smokescreen is being thrown because the NCAA Tournament is no longer about rewarding the teams that have earned bids over the course of a long season.  

Its about money.

The committee is more concerned about maximizing revenue and putting that money into the hands of those that need it most.  The big schools with big budgets who are about to be engulfed with larger expenses due to the Ed O’ Bannon decision.

Look at the teams that got in at the end of the bracket – UCLA, Texas, Indiana. None of those teams earned bids over the course of the season.  It has nothing to do with strength of schedule in their caes. It has to do with the fact that they lost a lot of games. A lot.

Big names but, more importantly, big TV markets.  Los Angeles without a team to represent? Can’t let that happen. Flagship school of the State of Texas – can’t let that happen.  Flagship school in the state where the NCAA is located – can’t let tht happen.

These teams chosen at the expense of teams like Colorado State, Temple who certainly can’t bring as many eyes to watch the televison sets.  That is the Eye Test that is really important.

And then something else struck me.

As a season ticket holder of CSU, I was contacted to see if I wanted to purchase tickets to to see CSU play if they were selected.  You don’t just click off a box and say “Yes I want tickets”.  You specify what sites youre interested in attending.  You get to say “I would travel to Omaha and Portland, but not Jacksonville or Pittsburgh”.

Every team’s fans are given this opportunity.

And guess what?

That data is probably made available to the committee to see how best they can maximize the NCAA revenue through ticket sales.  Because lately, these early round games DO NOT SELL OUT!  How best to maximize ticket sales than to place those teams that are committed to selling the most tickets!  

Want to know why Dayton got a play-in game and not Texas?  Because the game is played in Dayton! 

Duh.

And I get it. I’m OK with that.  I’m OK with the NCAA Tournament being more about generating money to those they need it most.  That’s their call, not mine.

But Its not a tournament I will care about in the future because I want to see the teams that earn it on the court – the CSU’s, the Temple’s, the Murray State’s. I don’t need to see a UCLA team that lives off the past successes of Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton.  Or an Indiana team that is out of control and poorly coached.

So when Scott Barnes or future chairs of the committee start talking jibberish, I can just sit back and laugh now.  Non conference schedule blah, blah, blah.  Gaining steam blah, blah, blah. Top 100 blah, blah, blah. Metrics blah, blah, blah.

I know a liar when I see one. I worked in the Fortune 100 world for years and the NCAA’s level of lying is far more superficial than stuff I learned how to filter.  

Its no longer about merit or earning it on the court. It’s all about the money.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim Miles permalink
    March 17, 2015 1:15 pm

    You couldn’t more wrong Swoll. It has been about money for a while now. It is just getting to be more obvious the last few years.
    As big of a college basketball fan as you are, you shouldn’t ignore the greatest tournament in sport. Every year, regardless of the criteria, someone is going to feel left out. Next year Colorado State may get in and a team like Murray State may feel slighted. Or both.
    Good article and keep fighting the good fight. The tournament needs fans like SwollCracker.

    FYI – you suck!!

    • March 17, 2015 2:34 pm

      You are correct. But the O’Bannon stuff and the cost of attendance decisions makes it even more about money. The big conference teams need all they can get as most are losing money to keep up with the truly wealthy ones.

  2. Tim Miles permalink
    March 17, 2015 5:47 pm

    Was I correct about the corrupt tournament or that you suck?
    I see CSU currently has no plan to pay for cost of attendance. Others in the MWC has money already allocated for this. Does CSU fall behind again? Does the new AD “find” the money in an already strapped athletic department?

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