By Rock Mamola–
Don’t feel bad…..you are not alone.
March Madness has become as American as the Air Jordans (made in China). The only sporting event when fans and non fans alike spend anywhere from two minutes to two hours writing names of teams on a sheet of paper who they have yet to watch a single minute of their regular season. While the next three weeks will be filled with Cinderella stories, last second shots and plenty of channel surfing trying to find the game you watch…one thing will be missing this entire trip on March Madness Avenue.
So you do not know who the starting point guard is on Oakland University, or who star player of Morehead State is. Could you name the starting five on Ohio State, the number one overall seed in the tournament? Could you name two players on the highest seed out of the Big East in Pittsburgh? How about the signature best player in college basketball right now?
That is the problem.
With a regular season that is growing more insignificant with the additions of more teams to March Madness, how can the average sports fan grow to love something other than March Madness? Is the NCAA happy that March Madness dominates the sports calendar for three weeks in March (during the stretch run of the NBA), over being recognized for the four months leading up to it?
While the NCAA tournament may reap in over 90% of the overall revenue of the NCAA’s sports year, the problem the sport as a whole is facing is there is no history with the players on the court themselves. With the best players of the sport leaving only after a season in college, how can college basketball have any developed stars of their sport? If Derrick Rose stayed in school not only would he be a senior at Memphis, but would John Calipari still be their head coach and how many national championships would Rose already have to his name? Could college basketball have used 3-4 seasons of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and John Wall? Absolutely, because as those one and done players make their millions in the NBA, the sport of college basketball is more unfamiliar now with the American sports audience than ever before.
You would think the NCAA would be more concerned with the quality of the overall product of the four months of regular season play than three weeks in March, but it is not. Why? Follow the money.
Why should the NCAA care about four months of insignificant basketball where the alums and students will populate the stands anyway, when they can expand on an American cultural event like March Madness by adding more games. By adding more games, you make more revenue off ticket sales and TV contracts while labeling it as giving more teams a shot at playing in March Madness.
So while you are filling out your bracket and picking teams you have never seen with players you have never heard of, the problems of college basketball exist. The one-and-done player is ruining the popularity of the sport. Without familiarity between the fans of March Madness and the star players who stay in school, how can you make the sport more popular and bigger than ever before?
Guess the NCAA’s ears are too stuffed with dollar bills to care.
You can follow Rock at twitter.com/RockMamola
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