This morning, Mike and Mike discussed a proposal for revivifying the college basketball season. The proposal came from Jamie Zaninovich, deputy commissioner of the Pac-12 conference. The basic idea: move the college basketball season so that it is, more or less, a one-semester sport. The season would kickoff in mid-December, in the dead period between the end of the college football regular season and the consequential postseason college football games. The conference schedules would begin in February, after all football – college and pro – had concluded. This would give college basketball a good three months to itself, as baseball spring training only begins in mid-February and the beginning of the regular season would not provide serious competition for the end-of-season college basketball tournaments and all of this would be taking place before the NHL and NBA playoffs began in earnest. March Madness would become April Madness, with the Final Four and championship concluding at the beginning of May. This schedule would have the advantage of maximizing CBB’s exposure.
In considering the pros and cons of the idea, the Mikes considered the loss of the elocution “March Madness,” they wondered what other media conflicts it might entail and generally deemed it a good idea in principle. They did assume that there was probably some reason why it might not work – why else, after all, hasn’t this schedule been seriously considered already – but could not themselves come up with any obvious reasons why it might be a problem.
One consideration that merited exactly zero attention during the several minute convo was the class schedule of the ‘student-athletes.’ As it happens, at many universities, final exam periods begin in late April, early May – excepting schools that operate on the quarter system – which means the semesters are wrapping up during what would be the dead center of April Madness. To say this could cause serious disruption to students trying to finish their academic year strong would be an understatement. Many college administrators would raise red flags about such a schedule, which might account for the lack of discussion about it up to now.
The point though, is that no one in Mike and Mike’s world, when push comes to shove, takes seriously the proposition that education comes first in the world of big-time college athletics. It’s big business, it’s mass entertainment and it’s sports. Period. By the way, since Golic is a staunch opponent of paying players and, in various other ways, defends the student-athlete proposition, the academic calendar this semester at his alma mater, Notre Dame is as follows: Classes end on April 29. Final exams take place between May 4 and May 8. Were Notre Dame to make a deep run during April Madness, that could kind of get in the way of being ready for final exams, no?