UConn's Geno Auriemma calls men's hoops 'a joke' and 'behind the times'
Though the television ratings for the NCAA tournament have been exceptional this year—CBS/Turner has averaged 9.9 million viewers for the tournament, the highest average viewership in 22 years—there have been plenty of commentators, writers and fans who lament the quality of the game at the moment. One of those fans of the sport is UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma, who was asked during a conference call on Wednesday afternoon by SI.com for his thoughts on where he saw the state of the men's college game in 2015.
"It's funny, you asked me that, I just had a conversation with [St. Joe's coach and friend] Phil Martelli yesterday, and I think he's the president on the ABC board of directors or whatever," Auriemma said. "We had this conversation and we talked a lot about where the game is and what the future of the game is. And obviously it's immensely popular. Look at the interest paid on the NCAA tournament. I don't know that it's as immensely popular during the regular season as it used to be, but obviously the tournament is just at another world when it comes to that. Having said that, I think the game is a joke. It really is. I don't coach it. I don't play it, so I don't understand all the ins and outs of it. But as a spectator, forget that I'm a coach, as a spectator, watching it, it's a joke. There's only like 10 teams, you know, out of 25, that actually play the kind of game of basketball that you'd like to watch. Every coach will tell you that there's 90 million reasons for it."
"The bottom line is that nobody can score, and they'll tell you it's because of great defense, great scouting, a lot of team work. Nonsense, nonsense. College men's basketball is so far behind the times, it's unbelievable. I mean women's basketball is behind the times. Men's basketball is even further behind the times. Every other major sport in the world has taken steps to help people be better on the offensive end of the floor. They've moved in the fences in baseball, they lowered the mound. They made the strike zone so you need a straw to put through it. And in the NFL you touch a guy it's a penalty. You hit the quarterback, you're out for life. You know, in the NBA, you touch somebody in the perimeter, you whack guys like they used to do when scores were 90 to 75, they changed the rules.
"This is entertainment we're talking about. People have to decide, do I want to pay 25 bucks, 30 bucks to go see a college scrum where everybody misses six out of every 10 shots they take, or do I want to go to a movie? We're fighting for the entertainment dollar, here, and I have to tell you it's not entertainment from a fan's standpoint. That's just, I'm talking as a fan, not as Geno, Auriemma, the basketball coach."