3 Reasons The NCAA Should Play Basketball

This is the first piece in a seven-piece series I’m writing about the effects Covid-19 could have on the NCAA season.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in numerous ways. The horrific economic stress it’s put on the average American has been crippling for many. Beyond the specifics, it’s clear that this pandemic has put a tremendous stress on our way of life. Everything is different. Moving forward, the word “Normal,” may have a new definition for many of us, which scares most people. As a college student, my peers and I have been hit hardest when it comes to losing our sense of normalcy. We’re all ready to get back to that normal state, but is the NCAA?

1. Sports Fans Need Normalcy

I briefly touched on this earlier, but as a culture and country we’re all extremely desperate for normalcy to return. Sports has always been the great equalizer for many folks during times of unrest or controversy, and it’s not different this time around. For millions of people around the country, college basketball not only brings enjoyment, but also peace of mind. It’s a break for us away from all of the stresses of daily life, which is most needed at this moment. Stresses in our daily lives have exceeded what we’re used to. Unemployment is higher than the 2008 economic recession. Due to issues with importing, prices are higher for basic goods and folks are simultaneously earning less money due to less hours at work, or lost jobs. Our mental health may be at an all-time low due to long periods of isolation and civil unrest in our communities. Sports has an amazing way of healing some of these problems.

Some professional sports have come back in the United States, but the national consensus is that the product has been underwhelming. The NBA playoffs don’t feel like the playoffs. Baseball is only playing 60 games. MLS did the “MLS Is Back,” tournament, which actually seemed to be the most successful of the bunch. That being said, nothing brings people together in support of a common thing like NCAA sports. For us college students, life without sports isn’t an option.

I go to UNCW, a school that doesn’t have football but has a solid mid-major basketball program. I can’t even imagine life without a packed stadium for home games against College of Charleston, William and Mary, and Hofstra. Without sports, it just doesn’t feel like an collegiate environment.

2. The NCAA and Schools Need The Money

Need may be a strong word when discussing the NCAA, but many schools have cut programs and some even had to close their doors altogether due to the negative financial impact. Last year the NCAA lost $933 million in solely ad revenue when they canceled the NCAA tournament. While the NCAA never seems to have a problem financially, that’s still a big hit. The NCAA Tournament is the biggest monetary event of the year for the NCAA across all sports. Yes–even more than the College Football Playoff. If we ever want to push the NCAA to pay its players, that revenue stream will be a focal point of the argument. That being said, it’s actually in the players and fans best interests that the NCAA makes as much profit as possible.

Cincinnati, Stanford, and 17 other Division I have cut at least one sports program since the beginning of the Covid-19 induced pandemic. That’s horrific for college athletes and their future careers. Most notably, Cincinnati cut it’s men soccer team, shocking the student-athletes and sending shockwaves throughout the national collegiate community. Many schools are still in the process of eliminating non-revenue sports programs, but smaller schools with less boosters have had to decide if cutting major sports (Like men’s soccer) is a necessity.

The monetary issue many schools around the nation are facing may show the ugly and irresponsible side of collegiate athletics. Due to great financial success from football and basketball programs, many schools have seen a large influx in habitual spending on non-necessities. This is an issue that now has to come to light due to lack of financial revenue.

3. Preserving The College Basketball Product

This has been a hot topic conversation in the college basketball world for the last couple years. A lot of big time recruits recently have chosen to not play college basketball, and instead took their talents overseas. LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton are the biggest names to do so, and they’re success (A.K.A. their draft stock) didn’t really take a hit. This is a huge option now for highly-touted recruits.

If the NCAA decides to cancel the basketball season, a lot of big recruits will go overseas or explore other options. If they have success doing that, the college basketball product could take a very serious hit until they choose to pay players.

College basketball is something that millions of Americans love. It gives opportunities to student-athletes to achieve their dreams on the court and in the classroom. Without it, even for only one season, all of that is at stake of collapse. The basketball ecosystem as we know it could change, for better or for worse.

From the Old Spice Classic – My Take

The Milk House – Disney Wide World of Sports
Lake Buena Vista, FL
28 Nov 09

Old Spice Classic – My Take

There is NO Doubt the I drink the Blue Kool-Aid. I am one of the Diehard Blue Kool-aid guys for my Creighton Bluejays. This hurts me MORE than it hurts you or the team.

Thursday – 26th Michigan

Roll Jays, Roll.

The Jays Played a very good game – good enough to win, for approximately 32-35 minutes. The team was focused, the intensity was there, and so was desire. With approx 8 minutes left CU was up by 5-6 points…playing well. Michigan was one or two Jay buckets away from total collapse. Then the old ‘bugaboo’ hit. Creighton went into a stall, an unintentional stall. A couple of well timed turnovers and a poor shot or two…both clubs were horrible over this point (4-5 minutes). Eventually UM hit a bucket, then followed with another – they were off the hook and back into the game. UM went ahead….and AY hit a buzzer beater to force OT. You know the “Rest of the Story.” This tilt should have ended in regulation as a Jays win!

What is it with CU Basketball and the Name Game? We were the better team on Thursday, the team with focus, with desire, with execution. Harris and Sims were no great match for our guys on this day. Instead of a much needed signature win, the Jays allowed the Wolverines to get back into the game. Instead of ‘applying the dagger’ or ‘stepping on their necks’, we allowed them new life. Michigan was ready to fold – we let ’em off the hook! It was different than the way we gave it up at Dayton, yet so reminiscent of soo many games versus “Name” or ranked teams. This needs to STOP – IT NEEDS TO STOP RIGHT NOW! There is no ‘next step, next level’ if the Jays continue to ‘roll over’ in big games. I am OKO TA! Pissed!

Friday 27th – Xavier

Jays get EARLY Start on Disney Sightseeing…

Whether is was residual hurt, shock, anguish, or the opportunity to get a headstart on seeing the Disney sights… Jays seemingly take the 2nd half off against Xavier. Xavier – the Team everyone loves to hate (especially in Dayton)… Jays were in it to win it in the 1st half. Made a comeback from a double digit deficit to close within 8 at the half. Our guys looked to be primed to make a game of it.

The first 5 minutes of the 2nd half were even, as the 2 teams traded buckets as the second session got underway. Then it happened…slowly, gradually, incredibly, the Musketeers hit an unanswered chippy here, a layup there, throw in a breakaway bucket even. Before you knew it the cold shooting and lack of shooting Jays were in a 22 point hole at the 10 minute mark. Who wants to shoot? seemingly only Ethan Wragge and Darryl Ashford…no one else made an attempt to rise to the occasion. Kenny got a few buckets, but they were scattered over the 20 minute period, he was not given enough consistent opportunities to make a significant effort.

It was as if the team “lost interest” in the game…Hell, this is Xavier. How do we lose interest in beating Xavier? Perhaps we were still on CST? Perhaps they heard about some of the Special discounts on the amusement venues and wanted to get a head start. Perhaps they thought it was Saturday already – and were absorbed in thoughts of the rides, gifts, and chow available during the “day-off”? Whatever it was that pre-occupied the Jays thoughts on Friday, the result was a 15 point beatdown, for “Lack of Interest”.

WE gave UM an early “X-mas gift ( which Marquette promptly stole from them) and took a “day-off” against Xavier…so the Jays are relegated to the 7th Place game against a tough playing Iona squad on Sunday.

I gave my Championship Session tickets away to a visiting couple on my way in at Noon on Friday, since the Jays have chosen not to participate. I am not interested in the 5th Place, nor 7th Place games.

P’Fro and a couple of others had mused “what if the Jays come out of the OSC with an overall 3-3 record…how will they respond.” Well, we get the opportunity to find out. This is a very talented team we have. They need to find, buy, or steal a “Killer Instinct”. It is not acceptable for the Bluejays to ‘roll over’ to a Name or Ranked Team when they had clearly outplayed them. Nor is it acceptable to take a ‘game off”, for whatever reason. Many folks talk about playing for 40 minutes – and some of the team reflect that line of thought in their responses in the media. I say nay.

It’s not about playing “40-minutes” vice 30 or 35…Very few teams play at a high level for more than 25-30 MPG, consistently…it is a difficult thing. What is possible is to play with high level determination, drive, heart, and fortitude…to will individual players into making the ‘deciding plays’ – to play with the Will to Win. The Jays are seriously lacking the 2-3 players who exhibit the Will to Win over the odds, over the circumstances, over laziness, and over fear.

Until we develop an intense Will to Win, coupled with the willingness to put opponent teams away with dispatch, we will continue to receive what we expect: 20+ W’s, an occasional MVC Tourney title, and a 1st/2nd Round exit in the NCAAs or NIT.

I am outta here – headin’ back to St. Pete’s – EARLY!

PS: This season has started off with an unacceptable couple of 1st’s:

1st First Game loss in 12 years, with (1st under .500 record in YEARS…)

1st loss by CU when we score 80 or more since 2001! (One of my alltime favorite records and quotes – hence the infamous “Case for 80” essay of a few years’ back.)

1st First Round loss in a 3-4 day Tourney in 17 events!

Plus we embarrassed the University and ourselves (team) on National TV with the way we played at Dayton – gave up the big lead. “Played valiantly, but lost.”

It is high time to put an end to this potential negative trend – Today!

As for consiliatory remarks made by opposing coaches.

I take no consilation from any remarks made by opposing winning coaches. ‘We are a good team’ – Hell, We KNOW THAT, his saying so carrys no further weight, his statements add no balm to the wounds. He got a W he didn’t deserve – that happens from time to time, we’ve done that as well. But his speech is put forth from the winner’s box. I’d much rather hear Belein or other coaches say that very same speech – after the Jays had whupped his butt!

I firmly believe in this team…We have the capability to be the BEST Creighton Basketball Team ever! We have allowed 3 excellent early season opportunities to slip away. The road gets tougher from here on out. It is past time to roll up our collective sleeves and ‘git to work’, as we will have far fewer chances to impress from here on out this season.

Now is the time for our Jays to buckle up…they have made the Way tougher for themselves. Time to stop digging ourselves in a hole…It is time for the Jays to forge ahead with grit, determination, and the Will to Win.

Anything short of that will find us hoping for “next season” very early.

gtmo