Friday, March 30, 2007

Brand and BCS Commissioners announce new NCAA tournament format

In a press conference this morning, a shell-shocked Myles Brand joined the commissioners of the 6 BCS (Bowl Championship Series) conferences in announcing the format for future NCAA tournaments. Under this format, the top 57 teams from the BCS conferences will automatically qualify, with the remaining 14 teams participating in a play-in game. The seven losing teams from those games would, however, be guaranteed 1 and 2 seeds in a revamped NIT tournament that would include the champions of the other 25 Division I conferences.

Big 10 commissioner James Delany commented:
“The Bowl Championship Series has effectively guaranteed that the lions share of the revenue from the football postseason goes to the six Power Conferences. With basketball we have faced the problem that the revenue-sharing agreement for the NCAA tournament guarantees each conference at least one share a year. The BCS conferences lose further money since a troubling number of at-large bids have gone to other conferences. The Selection Committee is on the right track in reducing these bids from 12 just a few years ago, to 6 this year, but we are still losing a substantial amount of revenue and it was clear that something had to be done.”

Big East Commissioner Michael Tranghese added:
“Part of the problem is that teams from other conferences are not playing their appropriate roles. Before the conference season, they are supposed to come into our gyms to lose guarantee games that pad our records. But just this past fall, St. Johns, South Florida, and Syracuse all lost home games against teams, amongst others, from the so-called ‘Mediocre Valley Conference’ which is, I am told, composed of teams from several fly-over-states. Even worse than this, BCS schools like Notre Dame are regularly losing NCAA tournament games to nobody schools like Winthrop. This is why we considered, but decided against expanding the tournament. Adding more BCS teams to the tournament without removing those from all the others would have merely created more opportunities for embarrassment.”

A visibly agitated John Swofford, the ACC commissioner, jumped in:
“THAT is certainly the most serious problem. This past month DUKE lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to some university in Virginia that I only recently learned existed. We are all agreed that it would be very bad for the reputations of our teams and conferences for these upsets to continue, which resulted in the ACC sending the same number of teams to the Sweet Sixteen as Conference USA, the Horizon League, the Mountain West Conference, and the Mediocre Valley Conference! Since our teams cannot be guaranteed to win on the court against opposition from inferior conferences, as Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, and Virginia Tech have established, it is clear that our conferences must have a monopoly over which teams reach the court. I must add, as well, that I made a strong argument in favor of granting Duke a guaranteed bye into the Sweet Sixteen, but was, alas, overruled by my fellow commissione…”

“Stick to the point John”, interjected Thomas Hansen, the Pac-10 commissioner. “The truth is that, within the parameters they had to operate, we were delighted with the work of the Selection Committee this year. After all, they managed to find a way to include teams like Arkansas, Illinois, Texas Tech, and, most importantly, Stanford in the field. More importantly, the seedings for non-BCS teams were effectively managed so a minimum could advance to the later stages. Note the pairings of Butler/Old Dominion, and BYU/Xavier in the first round. The real brilliant move, however, was placing three top-25 ranked non-BCS teams, Creighton, Memphis, and Nevada, all in the same pod, ensuring that only one of them could advance to the Sweet 16. Despite this, four non-BCS teams still reached the Sweet 16, guaranteeing the non-BCS conferences SOME extra revenue. Thus, we all agreed that the parameters had to change.”

Kevin Weiberg, the B12 Commissioner explained:
“Completely excluding other conferences from postseason play would, of course, be unfair, so we have guaranteed each of them a bid to the NIT. Considering the guaranteed home-court advantage for BCS schools which will be built in, this will be a much-improved tournament. It should also give some much-needed national television exposure to the fine basketball programs at Baylor, Colorado, and Iowa State.”

Michael Slive, the SEC Commissioner commented:
“It should be noted, as well, that we are not entirely disagreeable to the idea of expanding the BCS conferences. Should there be cases where Universities spend 3 figures (in millions, of course) on new basketball arenas and football stadiums, and extend multi-million dollar contracts to their coaches, then we would certainly take notice. This would be dependent, of course, on the maintenance or creation of Leisure Studies and Sports Management majors so our athletes will have the opportunity to engage in rigorous academic study during their playing careers.”

Kevin Weiberg continued,
“. . .and any school looking to innovate for this purpose would be well served by studying Texas A&M’s Agricultural Development major. Well on that note, I suppose we can permit Dr. Brand to say something. Myles?”

Myles Brand read from a prepared statement:
“The alterations to the NCAA tournament represent an excellent move which will ensure higher advertising revenue for CBS, as all teams will now come from major markets. This is, thus, an excellent day for the NCAA, as we have ensured that the most significant source of revenue utilized for advertising the achievements of our student-athletes will not only be maintained, but enhanced. Given that the alternative was for the basketball teams from the BCS conferences opting out of the tournament and becoming a developmental league for the NBA, this was clearly a move that we had to make.”

A reporter queried:
“I thought the BCS conferences were already a developmental league for the NBA?”

Brand looked to his masters, who shook their heads.
“No Comment.”

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