At some point in the next few days, I’ll compile a post of college basketball’s best stories, darkhorse teams, top players, etc., all to prepare casual fans who are just now tuning into the game. Call it the post-Super Bowl shuffle.
But what if that shuffle didn’t occur when half the season was gone? What if it was just starting … now?
It’s not a new idea, but it was one detailed recently by The Daily’s Dan Wolken, who says the best way to improve March Madness would be May Madness.
College hoops wouldn’t have to compete with the NFL and college football bowl season for airtime, it presumably would boost academics (no sloughing off during second semester), its big-time games would likely draw bigger ratings and the NCAA tournament would still be king, just in a different month. Provided the Big Dance can be moved – Wolken admits it’s essentially impossible – it could work.
“It would be a jolt — the traditionalists would go crazy — but there’s some merit to that idea,” former Virginia and Xavier coach Pete Gillen told Wolken. “I’m partial, but I think the tournament is the greatest 3½ weeks of the sporting year. I think the tournament is powerful enough that it could be pushed back.”
The tournament would survive and certainly thrive in any month. It’s the rest of the sport that would need help.
So John Infante from Bylaw Blog posted a “How-to Guide” for moving the season. Reading through it, it just might work.
If four main points are adjusted –fall basketball practices dates and times; academic rules; summer hoops parameters; transfer and midyear enrollees – the season could be shifted. It wouldn’t be easy (as Infante notes, the summer hoops logistics alone would be a nightmare) nor would it be approved by everyone.
After all, college hoops is hardly hurting in places like Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana and North Carolina. And the season really doesn’t need better TV ratings when the NCAA tournament remains such a cash cow. But it’s an intriguing idea and one worth mulling by the NCAA. It’s not like it’d be the only hot-button topic on the table.
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