The NCAA Tournament is one of the largest and most popular championship events in the American sports lexicon, and a West Virginia coach, Bob Huggins, feels that power conferences should decrease.
The Mountaineers coach, speaking with ESPN at Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday, he said it would be up to the conference teams to be able to create a championship tournament separate from the smaller programs. The reason? Better control the amount of money from the most lucrative event in the NCAA and allow major college basketball teams to remain financially relevant in the larger landscape of college athletics.
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“They’re doing it in soccer,” Huggins told ESPN. “Why wouldn’t they? Presidents and sports directors who have all the juice, why wouldn’t they? It doesn’t make sense why they wouldn’t. I think it’s more, ‘Why wouldn’t they?’ that, ‘Why would they do it?’ And then the other people can have their own tournament. “
Huggins’s comments come at a time when conference realignment is dominating the college football landscape. The defection of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 to the SEC has created the latest wave of realignment, with the Big 12 accepting independent BYUs and, outside of the American Athletic Conference, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF to make up for the loss of the Sooners and Longhorns. . The AAC, in turn, seeks to add six teams from the United States Conference: Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB.
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Huggins has coached schools across the college basketball spectrum, leading Akron as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference and as an independent; Cincinnati at the Metro Conference, missing Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA; Kansas State of the Big 12; and West Virginia from the Big East and Big 12.
The 37-year-old coach said the prospect of missing Cinderella races and big surprises shouldn’t inform how power shows make decisions.
“Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym,” Huggins said. “We are putting 14,000.”
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The NCAA in 2016 signed an extension with CBS and Turner Broadcasting, granting them the television rights to the NCAA Tournament through 2032, an eight-year, $ 8.8 billion deal. The fact that the NCAA gets most of its annual revenue through that deal led TCU coach Jamie Dixon to agree with Huggins’ suggestion, particularly the money outlay.
“I always laugh at the NCAA Tournament in college basketball and how it doesn’t make sense how the money is distributed and where it goes,” Dixon told ESPN. “And soccer has gotten bigger and the decision maker in this realignment because of the money outlay. And I don’t know if we’ve done our best with marketing and promoting and building basketball, because actually, the NCAA It’s the only one. The goal is to keep that NCAA Tournament as their only source of income. “
To that end, Huggins said it’s important for college basketball to try something to stay at the same table as college football in terms of decision-making.
“We don’t have power because we don’t generate the same kind of television revenue as football,” Huggins said. “But we didn’t try.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.