West Virginia's basketball head coach Bob Huggins argued that the major conferences should be leaving the NCAA Tournament behind. He believes they should create their own postseason tournament, allowing them to benefit more from the financial success.
Huggins' argument stems from the growth of college football. He believes the major conferences need to control their postseason tournament in order to not get left behind by an ever-growing college football base.
He claims the NCAA makes the majority of its money from a TV deal with Turner Sports. An 8-year, $8.8 billion extension lasting through 2032 was signed in 2016.
Huggins suggests creating their own tournament would allow them more control over how financials are spent, adding that several schools fund their football programs with money from basketball.
Below are Huggins' full comments from speaking to ESPN at the Big 12 media day.
"They're doing it in football. Why wouldn't they do it? The presidents and athletic directors that have all the juice, why wouldn't they do it? Makes no sense why they wouldn't do it. I think it's more 'Why wouldn't they?' than 'Why would they?' And then, the other people, they can have their own tournament."
Arguably the most popular aspect of March Madness is the Cinderella stories or underdogs making runs in the tournament. Assuming they aren't playing your favorite team, fans often cheer for smaller schools throughout the tournament.
It's also clear the NCAA wants those teams in the tournament, as they receive an automatic bid from winning their conference tournament. If that weren't a role, the committee would likely end up with significantly more Power-6 conference teams in the bracket, as some viable contenders seemingly get left out of the tournament year in and year out.
Huggins isn't concerned with that, though, stating "Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym," Huggins said. "We're putting 14,000."
A massive change to arguably the best tournament in all of sports is never something to take lightly. Huggins raises great points for the top schools, although not everyone, specifically Chris Beard, agrees with him.
Beard, who's coached at all levels in collegiate basketball, argued that the tournament is fine how it is. He's taken the stance of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it."
This may not seem like a broken format to the majority of college basketball fans, as we consistently get to enjoy the sport without hindrance. It's reasonable to listen to Huggins' concerns as the year's progress, though.
Do you believe major conferences should leave the NCAA Tournament for financial gains?
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