R.I.P. College Basketball
Originally Aired: Wednesday, April 8, 2009. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
Kudos to the UNC Tar Heels for their National Championship run. After another tournament, the question arrises as to why there were not as many upsets in the last couple of March Madnessís as in previous years. The answer is simple: the teams are not as even as they once were. This is due to the BC, Miami, Virginia Tech move to the ACC in 2005, which has really screwed up collegiate sports.
The balance of power in NCAA sports is now more concentrated in a few conferences, which is bad for any game. It will just continue to kill the mid-major conferences that have found success in athletics. We have seen the top schools opt out of the mid-majors for bigger conferences, such as Louisville, Cincinnati, and TCU. No longer will Mid-Major schools be able to get the same kind of funding they once had and find the same kind of athletic success.
In the 2004 tournament, there were 16 tournament wins by mid-major conferences. There were only 8 in 2009. In 2004, the conference with the most schools in the tournament was Conference USA. Last year, the conference had only one: Memphis. And now Memphis will be a struggling program after losing its head coach, John Calipari, and its top recruit, DeMarcus Cousins, to Kentucky.
Conference USA basketball is not the only conference that has been hurt. Itís football programs are no longer considered top flight schools either. The same goes for the Mid Atlantic Conference football conference, which used to have at least two or three teams ranked each year. This season, Ball State, which was 12-2, did not finish in any of the polls.
The powerful Big East is fun to watch, and each game is always exciting, but it will keep killing the mid-major conferences. The top recruits will only want to go to the top schools. And these schools and conferences will keep getting better and better, and the mid-Majors will keep getting worse and worse. The separation between talents will become larger, as will the separation between revenue, advertising, and sponsorships.
Right now we can say RIP to Conference USA prominence, but it may only be a matter of time when we say goodbye to having a fun balanced March Madness.
(April 9, 2009)