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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Greed is not good

Last week, I was driving to work and heard a report on NPR noting the expansion of the annual NCAA Basketball tournament to 68 teams from the current 64.

I don't watch much basketball - pro or college - except for the Gators. But after their amazing back-to-back championships in 2006-2007 it's been a little slow in Gainesville for Billy Donovan and the Gator Nation. At least we've had Tebow.

No doubt there are a plethora of pundits who could, would and will expound on the value of adding additional participants to the round-ball love-fest referred to as March Madness.

Personally, I believe it's all about the money.

In the 1987 film Wall Street, Michael Douglas' Gordon Gecko is famous for saying, "Greed is Good." 

I couldn't picture them making that movie today. The only people we would see at the theater would be wielding torches and pitchforks - not tickets.

NPR reports that the NCAA signed a 14-year, more than $10.8 billion deal that will expand television coverage beyond CBS - although they will still have sole possession of broadcast rights for the coveted Final Four. More than $10.8 billion? Does NPR not know how much more or is the NCAA just equivocating? Greed.

Another reason I don't care for the expansion of March Madness - and believe me, it won't stop at 68 - is that it plays into the new mentality that everyone is a winner. I'm all for self-esteem, but if we want everyone to be a winner, why play? I wonder how the organizers and sponsors of the NIT Tournament reacted to this news. Where will the teams come from that will be added to the NCAA tourney? I'm guessing from the NIT pool. So the NCAA gets better and the NIT, well, doesn't.

Not to mention that with a bigger pool of competitors, the NCAA and CBS will have to come up with a new name.  Either that or just pretend - like Major League Baseball - that the old one still applies. Boy's of Summer? March Madness? With more teams, I can't see the NCAA tournament fitting into March.  Oh wait. The final this year was played on April 5th. Too late.

I'm sorry to be all Johnny Raincloud about this. Coupling a sport I really don't have much interest in with a Trump Taj Mahal full of money...

 Could you fit $10.8 billion in this building?

... none of which benefits the players, is just a recipe for disaster. But here's a suggestion: next March, how about just going outside with your kids and playing basketball. That's free and a lot more enjoyable. Isn't that a mad idea?

What do you think?

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