The NCAA Has Found A Way To Bully Their Way To The Top Of College Round Ball

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 18, 2005

SAN ANTONIO – Kiss the National Invitational Tournament, as we have known it for decades goodbye because as of this writing, it does not exist. That isn’t conjecture or innuendo but a fact. Five schools no longer run the NIT tournament up in New York; it is no longer the only vestige of a college tournament where schools feel glad to be a part of its history.

The NCAA and the waving a $56 million pay day for these five schools has sold everybody else out and if you are a college fan, you should be pissed off by this revelation. You should mortified, horrified and utterly vilified by what the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA) did.

What Fordham University, New York University, Manhattan, Wagner College and St. John’s University did was collectively bent themselves over their fans and say, “We don’t care about you and your loyalty. You get screwed while we get paid”.

For anyone who was a party to this debacle of greed hungry administrators to tell the world that it wasn’t about the money is lying. $56 million is a hell of a lot of money to pay for a tournament that was once the crème de la crème. It wasn’t that long ago that a national title from the NIT meant that your program was not only the best programs in college sports but that it was one of the more successful programs out there.

Sure the NCAA field was bigger but the NIT meant something to college fans over the years. As the monstrosity we call “March Madness” got bigger since the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the NIT continued to play at the schools and only when the quarter finals were met did the Mecca known as Madison Square Gardens come into play. Well college basketball fans those days will be gone in about five years thanks to Myles Brand and the NCAA.

FLEECING COLLEGE BASKETBALL OF A ‘PURE’ TOURNAMENT “We will start working as soon as we leave this room, and over the next few weeks we will have to work double time,” Brand said to reporters.

The NCAA bureaucracy is about to completely screw up how teams are selected in the pre and post-season NIT tournaments come the 2006 and I see nothing but chaos. Remember this is a bureaucracy that cannot figure out how to implement a playoff system for their top division of football but ye they want to now tamper and tinker with a tournament that is one year older than their own?

Basketball fans do you see what is happening to the sport you once loved? The NCAA is about to completely screw up the way things have been done for some forty some odd years. The refinements made by the NIT committee have streamlined this tournament into being a tournament for true basketball fans despite lower ratings and viewership numbers. MIBA has allowed itself to become the NCAA’s whore by accepting this deal and it may not have even been a very good deal in the long run.

“You can’t predict at any point in a trial where it is or where it’s going,” said NYU’s president, John Sexton, an attorney. “We had objectives. We wanted to see the NIT preserved, preserved as a New York asset and wanted to try and create a world where it can become even better than it is.”

Utter bull crap is what this now means. Mr. Sexton must not understand the word fleece because while he may think that the NCAA will preserve the rich heritage of the NIT being a New York product, he is sadly mistaken. This was a hostile takeover college basketball fans. The type of takeover that sounds great the first week but I guarantee you by December of 2007, Sexton and his four partners are going to be wondering, “What the hell have we done?” Why am I so certain of such a demise of the NIT? Because ladies and gentlemen in the real world a “friendly” takeover does not exist. Ask anyone who worked for Veritas about Symantec right now. Go ask the folks at Sprint and Nextel if that merger was a good idea?

Better still ask the folks who used to be at Compaq if now being a part of Hewlett Packard was worth it? You are going to get horror stories that could rival any Wes Craven novel or movie script. You can now add this one to the list because that is what this is: a takeover from hell.

The NIT was once the most purest form of a college basketball tournament that didn’t need to exist to make organization money. While MIBA may have probably struggled at times, the fact that the NIT was once the most prominent of post-season tournaments then and is still considered a tournament to be in now, showcases the allure and luster that it still holds.

If this weren’t true, the NCAA and Myles Brand would not have authorized a $40 million cash payment for rights and $16 million in court fees to be spread out over ten years. College basketball fans, we have once again been fleeced by the NCAA and nobody even told us to prepare our backsides. This is indeed a sad day for college basketball in New York and around the country.

Cedric Benson

DOG GONE BENSON, SIGN THE FREAKING CONTRACT “I don’t want to be compared to Ricky.” “I want to make my own mark in the league.” I remember the days when Cedric Benson tried to alienate himself from the man he replaced four years ago at the University of Texas. Back then Benson wanted to make sure that nobody mistook him for the misguided, aloof running back that was the current legend in Austin, Texas.

Benson wanted to disassociate himself from Ricky in the worst way but in doing so now, he may be really disassociating himself from what many Chicago fans want to call him; the next coming of Gayle Sayers and Walter Payton.

Here’s the problem as I see it. Every first round pick has signed on the dotted line except for Benson because I write this on a Wednesday night, Adam “Pacman” Jones has come to terms with the Tennessee Titans. So what’s the problem Cedric?

How hard is it to do the math on what you can make for not even taking a snap in the NFL? You having a hard time deciding what to buy with $17 million in guaranteed money? That’s right that’s the magical number; $17 million for a fourth selection in this year’s draft.

Now I would think that Benson’s agent, Eugene Parker, would be a little smarter than this because I’m looking at how he is conducting business. Parker knows how this goes and he should be able to deliver his client without too much of a hitch. After all, Parker has been one of the better agents in the NFL for years and how hard is it for him to broker a deal between his client and the Bears.

What were he and Benson waiting for, to see what the final numbers would be? If that’s the case then I’m highly disappointed in how he has conducted this situation. I’m disappointed in Benson because he should realize how important it is for him to get his ass in camp and start contributing to a team that desperately is looking for another superstar to go along side Brian Urlacher in the Windy City.

Yet somehow I have a feeling that all of this posturing is going to be just because of what I have mentioned: stardom. Somewhere, somebody has convinced either Benson, Parker or both that Cedric’s marketability as being the next coming of Sayers and Payton is reason enough to hold out for top three pick money?

News flash gentlemen, the NFL doesn’t ‘franchise’ draft picks. It’s really troubling because as much as I hate how this system is, it’s not that hard to find out what your signing bonus would be.

If it sounds like I’m impatient on seeing Benson run between the tackles it’s because as a Longhorn fan, I want see him run between the tackles at Soldier Field. Of course that’s going to be on Parker and Benson.

Well maybe now that Jones has signed, maybe the Midland, Texas native will understand the urgency and quit trying to be a wildcat on this contract thing and get it done before the weekend. One could hope anyways.