You’d have a very hard time getting people to argue that there is no greater atmosphere than college football or basketball. I’m sure you soccer fans would argue that a World Cup game is just as crazy and intense as any game in Cameron Indoor or at The Swamp in Florida and you may very well be right, but I’m no soccer guy and never will be so you’ll have to deal with my ignorance.
There is one very specific way the NCAA screws up the entire college basketball experience however when it comes tourney time and it needs to be fixed. I’m talking about the excessive amounts of media and where they are seated during tournament games.
What makes places like Duke and Michigan State great for the fans and for the TV viewing audience is the fact that the students are so close to the action. You can see the intensity, zaniness and otherwise just plain goofiness of the fans and how fun the environment is. THIS is what college sports and college basketball more specifically is all about.
So what does the NCAA do come tourney time? They line the two sides of the court with tables going 20 seats up so that reporters can get an up close and personal view of the games. I understand the job of a reporter and the need to be close to the story, but how is it they can report on a football game from high above in the press box yet for college hoops they have to be on top of the action?
- Get the Cameron Crazies better seats at the Final Four and improve the experience for everyone.
NCAA tournament games are boring from a fan perspective. Yes, the games themselves can be very entertaining but the atmosphere is part of the overall experience and package and not surprisingly the NCAA screws this up.
I get this question asked whenever I raise this issue; “The fans and their band get to be at each end of the court, isn’t that good enough?”
Have you seen how far the fans and bands are from the actual court compared to most college arenas? It’s a joke is what it is. The other retort I often get is this: “Usually only one side of the court is taken up by media tables, what about the other side?”
My answer to that is simple, who do you think are in those seats? It ain’t students I’ll tell ya that!! It’s big-time donors and quite often people who don’t have any allegiance whatsoever to any of the schools involved. They’re corporate big-wigs who get free tickets or maybe, just maybe, they’re actually alumni are lucky enough to grab some tickets at ridiculous prices to seat within 20 rows of the floor.
As I sit here watching Michigan State and Valpo, it does warm my heart a bit to see some actual ‘fans’ seated fairly close to the action. As the tournament extends into the next week and then the Final Four, watch closely as more and more media tables fill the stands along each side of the court.
Shame on the NCAA for making the country’s greatest tournament into nothing more than an environment you’d find at a third-tier golf tournament.
7 Creighton vs 10 Cincinnati – Cincy rebounds and blocks shots like crazy so they will be a threat, but the Jays have serious balance and a star in Doug McDermott. Go with chalk on this one.
7 Notre Dame vs 10 Iowa State – The Irish don’t exactly have a glowing NCAA record under Mike Bray and I love what ‘The Mayor’ is doing at ISU. They got better all year long and will pull the upset today.