Coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners came out today and criticized the NCAA’s intention to take the NCAA Tourney to 96 teams.
(More say on 96 than all college coaches, ADs, conf. commishes combined)
So what effect will today’s high profile outcry have? None.
Thanks to the go-ahead from 18 people, and four major television networks, negotiations for broadcast rights to a 96-team tournament have already started.
So who are the people at the center of the decision to junk the 64-team format?
Any comment about the NCAA Tournament that doesn’t come from someone on the above list or from upper management at CBS, Fox, Turner and ESPN about the future of the NCAA Tournament is mostly meaningless.
Board members Shirley Raines, Judy Genshaft and F. Ann Millner have more pull about the decision to go to 96 teams than all the basketball coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners combined. (Welcome to the wonderful world of the NCAA!)
Despite a NCAA denial that the 96-team tournament format will start next season, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors have already given the greenlight to negotiations on a 96-team tournament with television networks that would take effect next season.
I haven’t been told why Board Members feel the need to somehow extract more money out of the tournament, but colossal shortfalls at mismanaged and overextended university athletic departments around the country probably has something to do with it. Shortfalls that can largely be attributed to Title IX-wrought non-revenue sports.
For all of you who were blindsided by this news, I’m sorry to say that the hard part for the NCAA getting over on this plan is already in the rear-view mirror. That is, the TV networks supporting the 96-team plan.
Lastly, I have three letters for those of you who think that public opinion can kill the 96-team concept: B.C.S.