Colleges are trying to change the only thing the NCAA got right—March Madness!


Fryingpan Sports

Colleges are trying to change the only thing the NCAA got right—March Madness!


By Bill Smith

Those of you that read this site regularly know that I am not a big fan of the NCAA to say the least. But even I have to admit that the NCAA has one thing right—The College Basketball championship. Now, some college presidents and some basketball expert talking heads are suggesting a change to eliminate the automatic berths to minor conferences. They want to fill all 65 slots with major college teams.

That would eliminate half of the excitement of the tournament. The higher seed big schools are getting tired being beaten by the small schools from non-BCS conferences. The proponents claim that larger schools will bring more people to the games and generate more interest (and of course more money). While it is true that larger schools have a greater number of graduates and fans, none of them are going to get excited about WhataMatta U getting the 15th seed in the tournament.

But when a small school goes to the tournament particularly for the first time, the fans follow. Beside, the tournament was set up to allow the conference tournament champions into the Big Dance. In 2001, a spot was needed for a new conference that was organized. But instead of doing the right thing and taking away one of the at large spots, the NCAA added a play-in game. The Big schools weren’t willing to give up a single at large spot for the major college teams and forced the extra game.

My Analysis: If you are going to tinker with a good thing, I have a suggestion. The greed that drove conferences to play season ending tournaments has hurt the game. Why should an entire regular season’s performance be diminished because of one loss in a tournament? The regular season champion should get the automatic bid. If another team wins the “greed-a-ment” at the end of the season, give them an at large spot. But not allowing the top team in the conference after the regular season to get the automatic seed in March Madness is wrong.

There is one other change I would make. I would make the last two at large teams included in the tournament play the play in game. That would teach the major college pinheads a lesson for sending minor conference teams out of the regular field and into the play in game.

It’s just too bad that those same major college pinheads don’t see the need for a football playoff.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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