Busted Bracket

NCAA Tournament Calipari

Members of the Kentucky men’s college basketball team watch the NCAA tournament selection show / AP

Refusing to pay student athletes is one thing, but when the NCAA and CBS tried to stretch the selection show for the field of 64 68 last night from thirty minutes to two hours they got what they deserved.  The NCAA makes plenty of profit off these kids and their greed must have pissed someone off as the bracket was released fifty minutes into the show.

The internet rejoiced and many were able to enjoy their Sunday dinner without having to watch the “analysts” fumble over touch screen selections and try their hardest to have their voice heard among former NBA greats brought onto the set to boost ratings (despite not knowing what the hell they’re talking about).  But this is what the NCAA has come down to, seven talking heads per program hours leading up to a single game, all being handsomely compensated even if no one cares what they are talking about.  We have former players in suits simulating plays on a court inside the television studio to go along with an old man putting on mascot heads on Saturday mornings during football season.  To hype up the games these student athletes are playing – some being rewarded with a scholarship and others paying out of pocket to play a game – just to make more of a profit off them is wrong.  Yet millions of dollars are being exchanged between the NCAA and the stations that broadcast their product.  I’m glad the bracket was leaked for the first time ever and I hope enough people turned off their television sets and their viewership numbers were terrible.

Whether it was leaked from the inside or a hacker from the outside, I’m sure drastic measures will be taken by the NCAA and CBS from letting something like this ever happen again.  They need to continually exploit these kids for their own good and once their careers are over they’ll reap the benefits of the next batch.  However, the Internet won one for the good guys yesterday and I couldn’t be happier that it blew up in their face.  Nothing is safe anymore, especially an email sent 30 minutes prior to the broadcast from the NCAA to employees at CBS to make sure no one sees the bracket before it’s unveiled.  Maybe an underpaid employee was fed up with the process and having to stay that much later on a Sunday night to boost their ad revenues, but I doubt this will be the last we’ve ever seen of bracket leakage.

Just as we’ve seen with previous NFL and NBA drafts with insiders leaking teams picks minutes before they are announced on air, the times have changed and there are only so many sanctions you can impose on the violator.  I for one was glad to see the NCAA take one on the chin as they declared me ineligible my Freshman year of college for receiving improper benefits.  I was the host to a pair of brothers I knew coming to Drexel for an official visit and my lacrosse coach gave me three pairs of Sixers tickets to show them a good time.  I didn’t think twice about it being a teenager who was trying to recruit these kids on behalf of our program.  About two months before the season started I received a letter in the mail from the NCAA telling me I was suspended because the face value of the tickets was much higher than the allotted amount the NCAA set for each recruit.  In order to become eligible, I had to write a check to the NCAA for difference of the tickets that was over the amount allowed per recruit.  Ever since that day I’ve always had a cynical attitude towards the NCAA knowing they only care about dollars and how to make more.  So to whomever leaked the bracket, thank you.  You know what they say about karma…

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One Response to Busted Bracket

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great post, Greg. I saw this and was hoping someone would post about it. Note to CBS: You snooze, you lose.

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