Brief thought about the NBA expanding their All-Star Break to one full week

On Wednesday afternoon, when the NBA schedule was released–it made one huge change.  The All-Star break, usually occurring around Valentine’s Day will no longer be four days (Friday through President’s Day Monday).

Instead, it will be an entire week (Friday to the following Thursday).

Hopefully, the higher suits at ESPN, Fox Sports One, and CBS to a certain degree will be taking full advantage (weather permitting of course in the megalopolis area dotting major campuses up and down the New England region) and showcase marquee conference and if needed, a few non-conference matchups to get all college fans to whet their appetites with only a month before the tournament draw takes place.

I have some suggestions to take note, since we all know fully well that ESPN already has a name for that time during the ‘dog days’ of February.

That name is termed as, “Judgment Week.”

For instance, how about in the future:

Louisville-Pittsburgh or Syracuse-Duke play on a Sunday

Michigan State or Michigan-Maryland on a Tuesday

Likewise, we could have Florida-Kentucky on that same Super Tuesday

and if the programs are on the way up, we could have Tennessee’s bench staring 94 feet away at the cavernous Memorial Gymnasium in Vanderbilt.

Or, how about having the Battle of Oklahoma or Texas-Texas Tech on that Wednesday.

The Pac-12 could have the Apple Battle in Washington or the Mini Civil War with Oregon-Oregon State, or the Inner City battle with USC and UCLA squaring off on a Thursday.

It is great to dream, but hopefully it won’t be too long before those schedules might become reality.

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Landmark ruling alters NCAA landscape for football and men’s basketball

The era of the term ‘student-athlete’ is over.

Really.

 

Thanks to a ruling on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, we as fans can now start thinking (finally) of the NCAA games we attend and watch as ‘athlete-students.’

Rather than get into the gritty details, here are the basic things that we do know:

  1. Players could be compensated as much as $20,000 when their eligibility runs out for use of their names, images, and likenesses in all forms of print and electronic media.
  2. The per year trust fund established by the Power 5 conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, and Pac 12) will be capped at $5,000.  Obviously, each school will have some different needs.  With the mid-majors still hoping to have some autonomy as soon as the 2015-2016 school year, the archaic model that the NCAA enjoyed for several years is no more.
  3. Think of the NCAA going forward as a mini version of what we see every two years during the Olympic Games.  There, athletes usually get endorsements after taking their place on the medals stand.  Yes, college athletes cannot still endorse products while enrolled at school.
  4. Getting back briefly on the second point, the mid-majors lifeblood is of course helping fund the NCAA Tournament.  Will this mean the greatest tournament of the world could resemble that one hilarious scene in the movie Baseketball where 256 schools and four zany named regions took up way more than space than what Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne were trying to describe to cable audiences?
  5. Look for trial lawyers to bring up Title IX.  I hear you loud and clear, ladies.  You deserve a fair piece of this pie as well.
  6. Football and basketball players could still be paid with a stipend to help defray with part of their tuition, room & board, and costs for books, but the traditional model that the NCAA enjoyed for many decades has gone the way of most of your favorite print magazines that no longer have a wide subscriber base.  Everything is all about online/social media and getting instant gratification.
  7. The Power 5 has greater autonomy, to a point.  When it comes time to enact revised or newer legislation for each school and conference, a few students and faculty members will be a full part of the process instead of just the usual school presidents and athletic directors.  You can learn more about the revised models here:  http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/24651709/ncaa-adopts-new-division-i-model-giving-power-5-autonomy
  8. In a separate ruling, the remaining states who have Confederate symbols on their flags like Mississippi and South Carolina can officially host NCAA tournaments in three sports:  baseball, softball, and lacrosse.
  9. Although an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court appears unlikely, most legal and political experts feel that maybe someday Congress again could enact more tightening and regulations regarding how athlete-students will participate in NCAA sanctioned events to be on, “a level-playing field.”
  10. Yes, it is a shame that the rest of the student bodies at large are all going to be crying foul about this ruling:  “What about us?”  “Where is our fair shake?”  In the end, folks–as Neil Diamond reminded us years ago in his famous “Forever in Blue Jeans” song:

Money Talks

It don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk

It will also be very interesting to see how CBS and the cable networks, in particular ESPN, SEC Network, BTN, Pac 12, and Fox Sports One handle key moments when there might be a natural stoppage in play and there is no commercial playing.

Will we as fans come 2015-2016 and beyond simple perceive this watershed moment as a new chapter, or the biggest change not seen in over four decades?  One thing that will happen, expect more conference realignment.  At least, it is comforting to know that CBSSports.com at least keeps their alphabetical lists of each school in every conference for easy, one-stop access.

The rest of the story, stick around and find out.

Schedule is out for annual 24 Hour Tip-Off Marathon

True Hoops De Jour For College Hoops Fans Everywhere

ESPN brings on the usual tonnage, and we have some really appetizing games (and no, I am not planning to blog each game during the overnight hours–but if there is something noteworthy that took place, it will at least get a few lines of text).

The annual Tip-Off Marathon features plenty of schools that were featured in the last two NCAA Tournaments, plus one very spicy non-conference match-up at a neutral site.

Please read on for the full schedule–all tip times are in Eastern time.

Mon, Nov 17 7 p.m. No. 13 Baylor at No. 6 Kentucky women ESPN2
Miami at No. 9 Florida ESPNU
9 p.m. No. 1 Connecticut at No. 20 Stanford women ESPN2
11 p.m. No. 12 SMU at No. 15 Gonzaga ESPN2
Legends Classic: Detroit at No. 22 Oregon ESPNU
Tue, Nov 18 1 a.m. Auburn at Colorado ESPN2
3 a.m. New Mexico State at Saint Mary’s ESPN2
5 a.m. High Point at Hawaii ESPN2
7 a.m. Iona at Wofford ESPN2
9 a.m. Northern Iowa at Stephen F. Austin ESPN2
11 a.m. Manhattan at UMass ESPN2
Noon Baylor at South Carolina ESPN
2 p.m. No. 5 Wichita State vs. Memphis (Sioux Falls, S.D.) ESPN
4 p.m. Utah at No. 20 San Diego State ESPN
6 p.m. College GameDay (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis) ESPN
Legends Classic: Toledo at No. 14 VCU ESPNU
7 p.m. State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke ESPN
7:30 p.m. Marquette at Ohio State ESPN2
9:30 p.m. State Farm Champions Classic (Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis): No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky ESPN
9:30 p.m. Texas Tech at LSU ESPN2

Sure hope and pray that UCLA gets their water situation resolved

What a week for Los Angeles, and I am not taking anything lightly here.

For those not in the know, the water main break occurred on Sunset Boulevard on Tuesday, July 29 (which normally is a very busy street in Los Angeles).  Unlike a normal water main when it breaks, it only happens in one spot.  However, this particular water main broke in two different places, thereby sending gallons of water into eight major buildings on the UCLA campus.

That included the recently renovated court inside Pauley Pavilion.

I am sure you can find sports and news sites across the Web that showed how bad that court was seeped under water.  Even the locker rooms and the Pavilion Club had paint being buckled on the walls.

Just fyi, a normal college basketball court costs between $60,000 to $80,000 to replace.  After the dozens of industrial sized fans and hopefully many cans of aerosol used to make the inside of the gym smell better–maybe, just maybe off in the distance, we could be hearing alumnus Bill Walton talking poetically about why the campus should not suffer this type of disaster. 

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In other news…Shaka Smart and the VCU Rams debuted new uniforms.  If that change makes them a threat in the 2014-2015 NCAA Tournament–the only question I have is, can they answer the bell when the time comes?

See you later on in the month when I hope to give my initial thoughts on some of the early non-conference schedules.  Enjoy the rest of the summer.