March Madness May Soon Be Known As March Absurdness

A word that you will undoubtedly hear over and over again the next few weeks is playoff. Mainly because everyone is clamoring for one in college football. Instead we are stuck with the BCS and their twitter page that tries to spin the fact that the BCS just sucks.

But we have all month to discuss these BCS bowls. Today, let’s talk about college basketball. They have a playoff. A great one to boot. But just when you began to forget that the same people letting the BCS withhold our playoff dreams are also running college basketball, they slap you in the face with this:

The NCAA has started meeting with broadcasters to explore the media value of expanding the men’s basketball tournament field, industry sources say.

As part of that process, the group also is gauging the feasibility of moving the tournament from broadcast to cable.

Oh, you just wait til you hear how many teams they wanna expand to.

The potential expansion of the NCAA tournament has support in collegiate circles, particularly from college basketball coaches. The idea talked about with TV networks would likely take it from its current field of 65 teams to 96 teams and add another week to the competition, with the top 32 teams receiving byes. The move has been characterized as folding the NIT into the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA clearly expects that the added week of games would significantly increase the tournament’s rights fee. A larger field would mean more content, more scheduling opportunities and theoretically more revenue for the broadcaster and the NCAA, which derives more than 90 percent of its total annual revenue from the tournament’s media deal. Nearly all of that revenue passes through the NCAA and is distributed to its member institutions.

Of course, coaches are all for this. It helps their job security. Making the NCAA Tournament is usually the bar that decides if the season is a success or failure. A field of 96 guarantees that some very average coaches keep their jobs.

And no need to discuss the NCAA and the broadcasters. They’ve been having wet dreams just thinking about the prospects of all of this.

But what about us, the fans? Yes, more games can be a plus. But do we really want to sit and watch two NIT teams battle it out in an extra round of the NCAA Tournament? Maybe, maybe not. Clearly this isn’t a basketball decision, it’s all about the money.

But maybe we shouldn’t complain, at least this is a playoff.

NCAA, TV talk about bigger men’s tourney (Sports Business Journal)

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