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BCS kills March Madness; coaches to choose champ

by Russ T. Nayle

HOUSTON, Texas, March 14, 2011 — The upcoming annual NCAA basketball playoff will be the last, according to a committee of athletic directors and college presidents from the so-called power conferences.

Committee Chairman Noah I. Cue met before the press today here at Reliant Stadium, where the committee took a final vote on the selection process of a national basketball champion. The final Final Four will be played on this floor on April 2 and 4.

"We voted to select future national champions in the only fair way possible," Cue said, "and that is by a vote of coaches."

The new system involves 32 Basketball Championship Series games. The BCS committee will select one of those as the championship game. Just as in football, coaches who have votes in the rankings will be required to vote for the winner of the championship game as the national champion.

"We couldn't be happier," said BCS Committee Vice Chairman Keye Paul D'Monet, who also serves as president of Duke University. "This will prevent an undeserving team from winning the national championship, which would have happened in 2010 if Gordon Hayward of Butler had made his hail Mary shot at the buzzer."

The BCS games will involve all but 12 to 14 members of the current football BCS conferences and as many as two teams from non-BCS conferences. To qualify, a non-BCS school must win all of its regular season games as well as its conference playoff and must finish in the top four in the final ranking of the season.

"Our goal is to ensure that television revenues stay in the power conferences that generate the income," said Indiana University Athletic Director Xavier Nickels. "Teams that hardly ever get on national TV do not deserve to play in a national game or to share the money.

Dr. Hertz T. Kauff, NCAA Chief of Medical Policy, said a one-game post-season will reduce the number of injuries.

"We've always been opposed to a college football playoff because the more games a student-athlete plays the more likely he is to suffer an injury," he said. "The same principal is true in basketball. This policy should reduce the number of sprained ankles, jammed fingers and scratched arms that occur all too frequently in a violent sport such as basketball."

St. Johns University Athletic Director Max Little said only big schools should take part in post-season play, and that little schools, such as Memphis, Creighton, UNLV, Utah and BYU don't have enough fans to attend post-season games.

Reporter Bair Lee Wright of the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune pointed out that the St. Johns basketball arena seats only 6,008 persons, while the schools that Little called little had much larger arenas with Memphis at 18,300, Creighton at 17,000, UNLV at 18,500, Utah at 15,000 and BYU at 22,700.

"I didn't mean little in terms of seating capacity," Little retorted. "I meant little in terms of size.

Wright pointed out that St. Johns has a student body size of 24,000, while three of the schools that Little called little each are larger in student body size (UNLV 28,000, Utah 30,819, BYU 30,745), and Memphis is only slightly smaller at 23,000.

"I didn't mean little in size of student body," Little said. "I meant little in public perception."

"The public perception where?" Wright asked.

"The perception of the public on the coasts," Little replied. "If people in New York or California think a university is little, then that's what is important. Perception always trumps reality when it comes to ranking sports teams."

Head Basketball Coach Lou Z. Ball of the University of South Florida said the new system will benefit teams such as his, who were "unfairly excluded" from the 2011 playoffs when the NCAA selection committee chose only 11 teams from the Big East Conference.

"If you play in a BCS conference and win at least 25 percent of your games, you deserve to play in the post season," he said. "No way should a team like Utah State with a 30-3 record get more respect than USF with a 10-23 record."

NCAA President Stu P. d'Jacques said he supports a one-game basketball post-season for the same reason he supports the BCS system in football — academics.

"We can't have our student athletes miss classes," he said. "They shouldn't be forced to miss more than two or three days of school. It's even more important in basketball because a playoff couldn't take place during the long Christmas break."

The NCAA basketball referees organization supports a BCS system over a national playoff, said rules committee member Donna C. Goode, one of the few women to referee men's basketball games.

"Fans, players and coaches are way too worried about each and every game in the current system," she said. "In the BCS system only two teams in the post-season have a chance of winning a championship, so people won't care so much about each call. That will make it a lot easier for officials, especially for the older officials who don't see good."

Link of the Day

Quote of the Day

"There needs to be a big playoff. We would do away with putting all this foolishness into the computer and hoping somehow it is going to do the right thing." – ̵ Mike Leach, former head football coach, Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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