Bob Huggins says major conferences should create own college basketball postseason event, ditch NCAA tournament

Noahtogo24

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As the collegiate landscape changes amid conference realignment and the NCAA's future remains in flux, West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins said it's time for the major conferences to split from the other schools and create their own postseason tournament, so they can control the sport's most significant financial stream.

"They're doing it in football," Huggins told ESPN at Big 12 media day. "Why wouldn't they do it? The presidents and athletic directors that have all the juice, why wouldn't they do it? Makes no sense why they wouldn't do it. I think it's more 'Why wouldn't they?' than 'Why would they?' And then, the other people, they can have their own tournament."

It's not the first time the idea has been discussed. Those against changing the 68-team NCAA tournament format in favor of the larger schools have often cited the thrill of watching the Cinderellas compete against more prominent programs.

Huggins, however, said that should not deter the top schools from considering the possibility.

"Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym," Huggins said. "We're putting 14,000."

Huggins said controlling the postseason tournament is a way for basketball to remain financially relevant in the future as college football's influence and footprint continue to grow. He said college basketball revenue, on many campuses, goes toward supporting football, while the NCAA makes the bulk of its money off its basketball tournament.

In 2016, the NCAA signed an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension through 2032 with Turner Sports for the rights to the NCAA men's tournament. The bulk of the NCAA's annual revenue is attained through that TV deal. That's a problem, according to TCU coach Jamie Dixon, who is president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors.

"I always laugh about the NCAA tournament in college basketball and about how it doesn't make sense how the money is dispersed and where it goes," Dixon told ESPN. "And football has become bigger and the decision-maker in this realignment because of the disbursement of money. And I don't know that we've done our best job with marketing and promoting and building on basketball, because really, the NCAA's only goal is to keep that NCAA tournament as their sole moneymaker."

Other coaches within the league, however, said they hope the NCAA tournament format remains the same. Texas coach Chris Beard has coached at the junior college and mid-major levels during his career. He said the diversity within the tournament is what makes it special.


"I'm one of these guys that I don't think anything's wrong with the NCAA tournament," said Beard, who led Arkansas-Little Rock to the second round in 2016. "I thought 64 [teams] was fine. It's just, why are we trying to fix something that ain't broke? It's the best three weeks in sports. And I feel like I can talk about it because I've been on all ends of it."

Huggins, however, said officials should think about the sport's future. He said he worries about college basketball maintaining a seat at the table as the collegiate structure continues to change and football powers gain more control over what happens next.

"We have no power because we don't generate the same kind of TV income that football does," Huggins said. "But we don't try to."
 
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Sam Quint23

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I get it, **** the NCAA and all that. I don’t disagree.

But, March Madness is the closest thing to perfect that the sport has. People need to stop before we ruin what we have.

Coach K and Huggins have been saying the same thing for years. They are on about every college basketball committee but I think it’s just public posturing to get the NCAA to give up more cash. I don’t think the tournament will change but the payouts are gonna be a lot higher.
 
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WojoRising

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Coach K and Huggins have been saying the same thing for years. They are on about every college basketball committee but I think it’s just public posturing to get the NCAA to give up more cash. I don’t think the tournament will change but the payouts are gonna be a lot higher.
I don’t doubt there’s motive behind it, it’s just feeling more real as we see more and more genuine cracks in the NCAA for the first time.

And again, I don’t give a shit about the NCAA. It’s just a slippery slope here.
 
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CB3UK

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Been saying it for years. Tired of hearing Bama fans say these other schools don't deserve a shot in football when UK had to put it on the line all these years.
 
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dukedevilz

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I wonder where Huggins would draw the line? Power 6 conference teams only? Sorry Gonzaga, but you're just not up to Boston College's level.

I think it's funny how he is embellishing the no-fans perspective. 200 max lol. "Hey you little guys that play in little gyms, just stick to your own little tournament. We don't need you. Signed, Huggy Bear."

Was curious what the actual numbers are. Alcorn State had the lowest average attendance in the country at 312. Broken down by conference, the Northeast Conference (NEC) had the lowest average attendance at 1,081. The average attendance between the Pac-12, AAC, and MWC is very similar.

Pac-12: 7,071
AAC: 7,065
MWC: 6,425

There were 40 schools that had an average attendance north of 10,000. 7 of them were from non-power 6 conferences (Memphis, Dayton, BYU, San Diego State, Cincinnati, New Mexico, and Wichita State). Additionally, three of those schools weren't in power conferences just 10 years ago (Creighton, Utah, Xavier).
 
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Kevin Bryan

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"Those Cinderella schools are putting 200 people, at best, in their gym," Huggins said. "We're putting 14,000."

14K.... that's cute. 😆
 
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