NCAA Blunders Again

I have from time to time railed against the NCAA over the years, and there was a reason for that. It always seemed to me that more often than not the NCAA didn't get it right. <br><br> The NCAA sat on the fence in the fight between the ACC and the Big East.

NCAA President Myles Brand said at the time that he had not talked with Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese or ACC Commissioner John Swofford and intended to let the schools and the conferences make their own decisions.

It amazed me that the NCAA, which over the years has stuck its nose in to everything imaginable in college athletics, kept its big nose out of this.

At the time, I wrote this concerning the ACC-Big East flap:

The driving force behind this ACC move is greed. The ACC wants to become a 12-team league that would expand its market and reap more television revenue. Initially the move was considered because the ACC wanted 12 teams so it could divide into two divisions and play a conference championship game in football, thus reaping big money from gate receipts and a big TV contract for the championship game.

The NCAA rule, which prohibits a conference from having a championship game in football unless you have 12 teams, was the driving force behind the ACC's looting of the Big East. Some schools like North Carolina think expansion will hurt the basketball side of the ACC.

It's time for the NCAA to get involved - too much is at stake here. The first thing that should be done is rescinding the rule that a conference needs 12 teams to have a championship game. Make it eight. If this had been done earlier we might have avoided this drive to expand, that has opened Pandora`s box.

My amazement with the NCAA continues.

Word is that the NCAA has informally rejected the Atlantic Coast Conference's bid to stage a football championship game with 11 teams, essentially ruling out a lucrative title game in 2004.

The ACC filed a waiver in July asking that leagues with 10 teams be allowed to play conference title games. A final vote by the NCAA's management council, a 49-member group with representatives from all the Division I-A conferences, has been expected to come in April.

The buzz is that the championship committee was overwhelmingly against waiving the current rule.

Three conferences - the SEC, Big 12 and Mid American - are authorized to have league championship games.

The decision, if it is true, baffles me.

The number of teams, to me, is an arbitrary point. If a conference can convince a TV network to give it money for a championship game, that is all well and good in my opinion and more power to that conference.

The NCAA is supposed to have the best interests of all its members in mind. If the 12-team rule is not rescinded, that will spark more cannibalism by conferences such as the ACC.

That, in my mind, is not in the best interests of college athletics. The ACC is already hinting at adding a 12th team. Which conference will it raid next? And what is to stop the Pac 10 and Big Ten and other conferences from following in the ACC's footsteps?

The raid on the Big East hurt a lot of schools and the fallout hasn't ended. The NCAA is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

George Von Benko
PittInsiders.com

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