In case you hadn’t heard we are in a recession. Fear not. I have a foolproof plan to get us headed in the right direction and back to the land of prosperity.
With all due respect to President Obama and secretary-designate Gary Locke in the Department of Commerce, he needs to put the NCAA in charge of the economy. No one else has the uncanny ability to save money, cut costs and generate revenue the way the NCAA does.
The NCAA has taken their cost-saving ways to even new heights in there troubled times. Case in Point - the St. Thomas men’s basketball team. The Tommies rolled through the regular season unbeaten and the unanimous choice as the No.1 team in the land. They went 20-0 in the MIAC and 28-0 overall heading into the national tournament. They were the No.1 overall seed and were odds on favorites to make it to the Final Four for the first time in a while.
That’s where the future heads of the Department of Commerce stepped in and decided to save a little money. The NCAA grouped St. Thomas in a bracket of 14 that featured the No.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 ranked teams in the country. If you’re scoring at home that’s seven teams in the top eight of the country all vying for one spot into the Final Four.
And the reason that this happened? It’s all about the Benjamins. The NCAA has a rule that if you are within 500 miles of the school that is hosting the regional/sectional you have to hop on a bus and drive. Anything over 500 miles and you are flown to the host site. In the first round of the tournament in the Central/West regional the NCAA didn’t have to pick up a single flight. Even though UST was the consensus No.1 seed, Puget Sound was given a first-round bye while St. Thomas had to play a team that won their conference tournament. From there the Tommies then had to knock off No.4-ranked UE-Stevens Point in the second round. Can you imagine Louisville having to play Pittsburgh in the second round of the NCAA Men’s DI Tournament? No, I didn’t think you could.
After beating The Pointers to advance to the Sectionals, St. Thomas was then sent on a bus and driven to the team that finished the regular season ranked third in the nation. The Tommies didn’t host the four-team Sectional because the NCAA would have had to fly two teams into St. Thomas but only had to fly one team into Wheaton, Ill. The kicker in the equation was eventual Sectional champ Washington Univ. out of St. Louis who is 538 miles away from St. Thomas. That’s 38 miles between being rewarded for an unbeaten season and a No.1 ranking and being sent on a bus trip for 383 miles.
The Tommies lost in the Sectional championship on the road instead of being rewarded for an unbeaten season by playing at home. UST finished the year with an amazing 30-1 record. Congrats to their team and their tremendously classy head coach Steve Fritz.
This officially ends the first, last and only time I will stick up for a St. Thomas team!!
This whole rant brings me to my point of Cobber fans will never get the chance to see an NCAA Tournament game/match at home. Unfortunately Concordia is located farther than 500 miles from almost any school not in the MIAC. That means the NCAA would have to fly teams to Concordia to compete in the national playoffs. In turn that means whenever a Concordia team gets into the NCAA playoffs they will be sent packing and have to take a nice bus trip to the postseason.
Let’s look at the recent Cobber NCAA Tournament appearances. Women’s basketball 2009 – at UW-Stevens Point = 448 miles. Women’s basketball 2006 – at Simpson College = 491 miles (just nine miles inside the magic number!), Volleyball 2006 – at UW-Eau Claire = 327 miles. And the list goes on.
So basically if you want to see the Cobbers in a national playoff game you have to get in the car and be prepared to drive at least 4-7 hours.
Which now brings me to a point about the Cobber women’s basketball team that won the 1988 national championship. They played everyone of their games at home. This was before the NCAA was in the business of being in business and Concordia was rewarded for having an outstanding regular season. It is an impressive feat and one that will never happen again.
Which brings me to my final point. If there is ever a MIAC team that wins a national championship they have accomplished something incredibly special. They have overcome great odds and great location odds to achieve the ultimate college goal.
So please President Obama award the NCAA some honorary title in the Commerce Department and allow them to dig us out of the recession. If not the Commerce Department then at least the Department of Housing and Urban Development because with the NCAA it’s all about location, location, location.
Random Thought of the Day – If I hear the term “March Madness” used one more time I am going to impale myself on an icicle. It’s gotten to the point where every ad on the radio, TV or in the newspaper refers to their sales or latest PR campaign as “March Madness”. It’s gotten so bad I even heard an ad for a laser hair removal business saying they were having a “March Madness” sale.
Link of the day -
Check out President Obama’s picks for the NCAA Tournament
Buzzer Beater Clip of the Day (Is there anything more dramatic or final then a shot at the buzzer):