The NCAA does not have a reputation for being a particularly benevolent organization. Last week was business as usual, as the college sports behemoth denied a request for an exhibition fundraiser between two Carolina basketball programs.
University of North Carolina and University of South Carolina head coaches Roy Williams and Frank Martin agreed to a fundraising pre-season game to help out folks impacted by Hurricane Florence. This feels like a great idea – college basketball fans are very ready for hoops and would easily fill a basketball arena. All that cash goes to families and communities who are hurting in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
What a great opportunity for the NCAA to look like good guys! A no-brainer, right?
Wrong. Citing a rule about each college team only playing two exhibition games, one public and one private, the NCAA put the kibosh on the plan. Their argument is basically that each team would get a competitive advantage by adding another pre-season game. Since neither team wanted to cancel their existing games, they’re basically stuck.
Williams pulled no punches when asked about it, saying he was “dumbfounded” by the decision. You know the situation is a crappy one when you find yourself agreeing with Roy Williams. Or Frank Martin. I mean damn.
As always, the NCAA gonna NCAA, looking out for their bottom line and nothing else. If you’re a sleazy agent or manager dropping bags and looking to take advantage of high school kids, the NCAA probably is not gonna give much of a damn until the FBI gets involved. But if you try to stage a charity game that will draw a big attendance but not make any money, that’s a no-no.
And yet, some of us are still beholden to this damn league because I like Big East basketball so much.