Expanding the near-perfect 64 team NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is truly "Madness." Nothing but pure greed is driving this inevitable change, and it will kill a beloved national sports happening. An expansion to 96 teams will further dilute an already diluted college talent pool and allow more unqualified teams, teams with 5-11 conference records a shot at advancement. It will make the regular season and conference tournaments meaningless. I can't believe that the NCAA would even consider placing it's incompetent finger on the best thing it has left. Yet, here they are doing just that, and the consensus is that it is going to pass. If this expansion happens, then I am going to take a pass.
This is not an unprecedented move for me. In 1994, baseball went on on strike, losing the last part of the season as well as the World Series. That year, my White Sox had a very good team with Frank Thomas having an MVP year and a superb pitching staff. I wanted to see that club in the playoffs as much as anything that I ever wanted as a fan. Baseball has never been the same for me. I was happy for the Sox 2005 World Series win, for the fans, but I really felt dead inside about the victory.
As I mentioned before, if the NFL locks out players in 2011, it will have the same effect. I will emotionally walk away. As I have gotten older, the entertainment view toward sports has drained much of my sports energy and fanaticism. I don't think kids hold the same passions for sports as my generation did. The reason for that is the money. When money drives your decision making, the passion and emotion always falls victim.
Money. That is all tournament expansion is all about. This change will place critical and exciting early-round games on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is too much for the fan to take. You can justify a couple early Thursdays and Fridays for hoops, but you can't blow off a whole week. Give me one good reason why the 64 team tourney is not perfect, and I will take it all back. At 96 teams, nobody is arguing on Selection Sunday that the 15-16 Northern Illinois Huskies should be taken over the 12-18 DePaul Blue Demons. Who cares? The issue of the bubble teams goes out the window, and that argument makes Selection Sunday worth following. So, in my opinion, the only so-called negative, the "Bubble Teams" is truly a positive. You have to earn it. At 96 teams, you have to just be breathing.