The Business of the NCAA Tournament


To me, this is the best time of year. All of those small schools punching their tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. We see student bodies rush the court upon winning their Conference Tournaments excited to make the Big Dance! We know that for the most part, a lot of these small conference winners are just fodder for the big boys!

Yes, there are upsets, and those teams become the toast of whatever site they happen to be playing at. Which brings me to the subject of this blog post. Mick Cronin made quite the flap earlier this week when he suggested in a Cincinnati Enquirer article that teams are placed at certain sites to sell tickets. The NCAA has come out and refuted this assertion (would you expect anything less). In my opinion Coach Cronin is 100% correct.

Let me say that again, I am okay with the NCAA selection committee placing teams closer to their campuses and fan bases so they can sell tickets! In 2002 the NCAA went to the “pod” system. This system meant that, according to Teamrankings.com, “sub-regionals should be free to choose the site most convenient to the highest seeds.” The NCAA Selection Principals section III, paragraph 9 states:
“To recognize the demonstrated quality of such teams, the committee shall not place teams seeded on the first 5 lines at a potential “home-crowd disadvantage” in the second round.”

You can read into this statement whatever you would like. I read into it the following, let’s send teams closer to their campuses and fan bases to improve attendance and generate revenue. Again, the NCAA is a business, they maximize the revenue potential at every turn. This is why Mick Cronin is correct, and I don’t see anything wrong with it (except the percentage that the players receive, or not receive, which is a whole other conversation).

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