You think all this historic continued expansion, even the talk of a 96 or more team tournament, is for the “love of the game”? Think again. We have replaced the historic (27-33 game) late November to mid-March season with a 40 game early November to mid-April season – all predicated on the majors maximizing their college basketball cash take.
Since all that many of you know is the 64 team field of the NCAA’s and both early season and post season (conference) tournies, here’s some history for ya. Don’t believe me? Check out the records – do some fresh research. And most importantly develop the knack for reading between the lines / hearing what is not said.
College hoops began to gain popularity in the mid sixties into the 70’s. Independent schools and a few smaller conferences (MVC, Metro, etc) were integral in the NIT and NCAA tourneys. Major conferences pressured the NCAA for more seats/bids as network TV (CBS, NBC) were upping the dollar ante in college basketball. Independents were garnering “too many bids” and the majors wanted more access and more bids (more money).
Exp: in 1970 3 of the final 4 teams were independents. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1970_NCAA_Men%27s_Division_I_Basketball_Tournament
In 1971 2 of the final 4 teams were independents. Independents were firmly ensconced as fixtures in the tourneys. The 5 major conferences colluded with the NCAA to tailor postseason college hoops for their benefit and profit.
1st step was to kill the independent schools. Then give the majors more billets in the tourney. Followed by more season expansion (beginnings of post season conference tourneys in 1979) and more NCAA tourney expansion. Over the last 45 years we have witnessed the lengthening of the college hoops season via more regular season games, inclusion of season lengthening post season conference tourneys, and the advent of early season tourneys too.
Marquette played a large role in the political nature of men’s basketball in the 1970’s: In 1970 Al McGuire refused an NCAA bid as he felt his team was placed to low and at a disadvantage in the Midwest Regional. Marquette accepted a bid in the NIT (and won it) that year. Al’s battling nature, Marquette’s defiance, and their unconventional uniforms vs the college basketball powers and the growing NCAA were part of the overall war that was taking place.
Supplemental articles –
http://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2015/6/22/8774191/njit-atlantic-sun-independent (Killing off the independent schools)
good discussions on basketball and NCAA subtopics here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_College_Basketball/Archive_2
I did a few recent web searches on college basketball season creep (expansion of the season over the last 40-45 years…not much luck). Overall college basketball increase in games played, length of season creep, post season conference tourneys, early season tourneys and NCAA Tourney expansion are all fingers of the power conferences “greed” hand.