Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Does NCAA WBB need changing?
TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Does College women's basketball need to "re-invent" itself?
The NCAA is looking at women's college basketball again.
Before you run to the hills screaming and clutching your pitchforks and possessions, you need to know that it's just a preliminary study. Given the rate that the NCAA decides on most issues, most of the things that are out-lined in Val Ackerman's "white paper" on the sport probably wouldn't take place or receive serious consideration until years from now. In addition to loving their rules and regulations, the NCAA never sprints down the court...
Val has conducted interviews (100+ of them) over the last six months with coaches, college presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors, television network executives and representatives, NCAA National office staff and outside sports executives.
No, she didn't contact Don Paulie or Timmy the Intern here at CARDINAL COUPLE.
Val is the founding president of the WNBA and past president of USA basketball. Based on her findings, she notes that the sport needs a jolt in order to spark growth and that the game is not "broken" but has plateaued in recent years and there is a "tremendous appetite" for change in the way the sport is played, marketed and managed.
Her paper is an outline for an action plan that focuses on the "vision, values and priorities", "the championships", "the game", "the business of women's basketball" and governance and management. Link below:
White Paper on WBB
Some things she discusses are:
-Avoiding doing things the same way men's BB does and beginning a separate identity for the sport.
-Returning to a Friday/Sunday Final Four format.
-A two site super regional instead of the current four sites...with eight teams per site.
-New seeding policies where the bottom 32 in the NCAA Tournament play each other in a game before advancing to play the top 32 teams.
-A multi-year site for the NCAA Final Four, like softball has in Oklahoma City and baseball does in Omaha.
Some of the ideas will not be popular with fans and schools. Some of her suggestions should be tossed into the dumpster with the trash. Some are thought-provoking and several are actually pretty good.
The question here is...does the game of women's college basketball need a radical makeover on the Division I level? Do scholarships need to be cut from 15 to 13 to create parity? Should the height of the rims be altered and does the game need to be more marketable, easier to score and referee and...will all this create interest and more attendance?
Heady stuff. Val seems to think the game has stagnated since 2004. Cardinal fans would beg to differ, seeing the game explode here locally over the past 10 years...largely due to the presence of Jeff Walz, two final NCAA Tournament game appearances, Angel McCoughtry and Shoni Schimmel. The KFC YUM! Center didn't hurt either.
Yet, there are schools with very good programs and players that would absolutely love to have 2,000 a game in the stands.
Does the NCAA need to meddle, poke, prod and change College WBB?
Time will tell. And, one can only hope that the clock ticks very slowly on changes. An old adage goes..."If it isn't broke, don't fix it." Wise guidance, prudent judgement and avoidance of radical adaptations in policy changes is the words we'd offer Val and the folks in Indianapolis.