Why The NCAA Should Stop Expanding the Tournament

The NCAA Tournament is Fine the Way it is

March Madness is widely regarded as the best and most exciting playoff system in sports. That being said, why would anyone want to change it?

Two of the reasons I have seen are: it will help save coaches’ jobs, and allow more Division 1 athletes to get the full NCAA experience while increasing revenue for the NCAA. Frankly, both of these reasons seems to be, in my opinion, a cop-out.

Let’s start with the coaches. If you’re expected to lead your team to the NCAA tournament and fail to make the cut for several years, you are right to lose your job. Furthermore, simply expanding upon the field does not truly make you a better coach or improve your team. It simply makes you the beneficiary of a more advantageous system.

As for players getting the “full experience,” I would argue that not all players are created equal. It seems too utopian that the NCAA wants to reward more players by giving out bids. But when you start handing out more bids, what does that say about the meaningfulness of those bids? I think the quality of the tournament is already compromised by guaranteeing every team who wins their conference a bid. However, this is where all the great upsets in March come from so it is a trade-off that is well worth it. Adding more average-to-below-average competitors will do nothing but water down the competition.

What it’s really about is the money. You cannot argue that adding teams to the tournament would be more lucrative for the NCAA. More teams equals more games; more games equals more money. It’s simple math. Yet as sports fans, there is nothing we hate more than seeing teams and leagues sell out. It brings down the quality of the product 99% of the time and detracts from the entire reason we watch the sport to begin with. The NCAA is supposed to be a non-profit, so if they’re driven by the bottom line, isn’t that an indictment of the character of those in charge? We all love the NCAA Tournament, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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