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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Does NCAA WBB need changing?


-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.




  1. I'm no Val Ackerman fan, but she has some good points. Our WBB program doesn't remotely resemble most of the other D1 programs. Title IX forced comparable spending and it is totally out of control at many D1 schools with poor fan support. Although WCBB is the most popular women's college sport it also loses the most money for many D1 programs. The bottom line is that at most D1 schools people just don't come out to watch WCBB. Our Lady Cards are different, but it is a serious, real problem.

    A great example would be Vivian Stringer making more than a million dollars per year at Rutgers. That type of thing is not sustainable.

  2. It is true that the UofL WBB program is one of the top five in the nation as far as facilities, record, attendance and coaching/players go. I do believe that this status was acheived by the hard work of our coaches, staff, athletic director and his staff. Are other schools willing to work as hard as UofL and put in the time to promote the program and fundraise? I'm not in favor of the NCAA coming in and hampering things. If the proposals and improvements are beneficial, positive and meet with coach/player/fan approval -- fine, enact them. What we don't want here is a parity based on penalizing schools who "have done the work" by restricting schollys and bringing in generic marketing and procedures. UofL's success in WBB didn't just "fall off the back of the haywagon". It was the result of strategic planning, hiring, facilities and recruiting. They stepped it up under the direction of Jurich and Walz. Others can do the same if they are willing to put in the work.

    -- Joe Hill --

    1. Good to see you back in the comments section, Joe! Where you been, boy?


    2. All is well, Paulie. We spent a little time in Gatlinburg after Derby weekend and have returned to Naples. Still reading every day, just not much to say.

      --Joe Hill--

  3. On this subject here's an interesting link into SBNation that documents Cal WBB's $1,700,000 loss in 2012.


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