Friday, October 3, 2008
Will The Road To Omaha Be The Road To Mediocrity?
There were a few threads on Rivalscollegebaseball.com that pointed out a new rule that the NCAA is considering. We are not shy here at Rounding Third when it comes to pointing out inconsistencies in NCAA rules and bylaws. This is no exception. According to the Rivals poster, Texas A&M athletics director Bill Byrne came out with his weekly newsletter and his interpretation of the new proposed provision reads as follows:
The NCAA has conducted a comprehensive Travel Cost/Capacity study and made several recommendations to the legislative bodies of the NCAA membership.
Among the recommendations the NCAA staff has offered are:
Announcement selection timing and departure from campus for the team, adjusting practice sessions to accommodate travel, avoiding cities with high travel costs, and further adjusting brackets to encourage less flying to championships.
They are also considering adjusting bracketing to place regional sites more geographically regardless of seeding, and in some sports eliminating the rule which attempted to avoid conference match-ups early in the bracket.
NCAA broadcast revenue is at an all time high and the NCAA wants to cut back travel costs. This is not a baseball specific ruling, but baseball is greatly affected by it.
Basically the NCAA wants to cut back travel during the NCAA Championships and encourage more regional action. And to make it work, they are considering making it possible for conference foes to play each other in the regionals. Therefore you would have Texas, Oklahoma St, Rice and Texas A & M in one regional...Georgia, Ole Miss, Georgia St and Auburn in another regional...Florida, Miami, Central Florida and Florida St. in another regional and so on.
The only regional unaffected is the west coast, because, as we have stated here many times on this blog...The NCAA has always slighted the west coast and has pitted the best teams against each other for years. Every message board, blog and collegiate publication in the country is still amazed at how the NCAA could consciously put Long Beach, San Diego, Fresno State and Cal in one bracket.
Now it seems that brackets like this would be the norm in the future. Let me explain...
The NCAA wants to create more regional action and cut down travel costs during regional play. This means that the south plays the south...north plays north and so on. The problem with this is that most of the better teams are in the south or warm weather states...so while the southern school are slugging it out against each other...one or two northern schools are basically guaranteed a spot in Omaha no matter how good they may actually be.
I hope the Northern schools appreciate this entitlement package...because that's what it is. Last year, the NCAA tried to prove that their beloved northern schools could compete with the warm weather boys and put Arizona in the Ann Arbor regional and UC Irvine in the Lincoln regional. I guess they thought that Michigan and Nebraska would emerge out of that regional easily, thus proving that their boys could play with the rest of them. The thing is...Arizona was a .500 team in the PAC 10 and Irvine finished in a tie for third in the Big West. Yet, both ended up going north and swept their respective regionals without a loss. So much for that...huh NCAA?
Rivals editor Kendall Rogers made a good point. He stated that until the NCAA says otherwise, say goodbye to being handsomely rewarded for a great regular season resume. Now we understand that there are automatic conference champions that get a bid. That's fine. But when handing out the at-large bids...does the NCAA eliminate a team that has a high RPI, played a super tough non-conference and conference schedule because they ran out of room in the southern bracket and can't ship them up north due to travel restrictions?
The thing is, there aren't enough quality teams to fill up a northern bracket...this isn't opinion...It's fact..the numbers prove it year after year, but it seems like the NCAA is headed in that direction.
Since 1988, only 8 northern teams have made it to Omaha and 5 of those teams were Wichita St., which is very borderline weather wise. Some would even call them the southwest. It's not as if the northern teams don't get their chances...they do. They just can't beat the more year round, seasoned warm weather players. These players have been playing year round since the age of 10.
If a northern team wants respect and wants blogs like this one to stop the rants, then all they have to do is BEAT A TEAM FROM THE SOUTH!!! The NCAA makes the California and Florida teams do it...why can't YOU??? EARN YOUR WAY TO OMAHA!!! We would love to see a Michigan, St. Johns, BC or Missouri in Omaha...It would be great for the sport. But you guys have to earn it like the rest of us do. Don't allow the NCAA to hand it to you like some government entitlement program. That's just plain wrong!!!