Indianapolis – Sometime on Friday, college kids who play for free will be introducing an amazing basketball game that grabs the nation’s attention, and many of us will log into Twitter to write loads of exclamation points about how awesome this game is NCAA Championship is being Again after more than 700 days.
Here in Indianapolis as the NCAA is trying to carry out this tournament in the middle of a pandemic, NCAA president Mark Emmert and the company will breathe out because – for a moment, however – he will change the subject of this week’s disaster the organization’s reputation.
In the lead up to the week-long tournament, three predominant events emerged:
♦ Six rulers were sent home Because they went out to dinner and someone tested positive for COVID-19, a breach of protocol due in part to the NCAA’s failure to implement an orderly check-in procedure.
♦ Many players in the men’s tournament have started a movement on social media About the hashtag #NotNCAAPropertyAnd he criticized the National Collegiate Athletic Association for failing to date to implement new rules that would allow college athletes to benefit from their name, image and looks.
Then on Thursday Pictures emerged from the Women’s Bubble Championship In San Antonio appears a weight room – if you can call it that – which was really nothing more than a shelf of light dumbbells. When compared to the vast and intricate weight room set up for men, it seemed to be an apparent injustice, leading NCAA Vice President Lynn Holzman to blame the lack of space in a statement that acknowledged the problem but was not exactly the same. Mia’s fault.
Other than that, things are going well!
To be fair, it’s a mega-task what the NCAA is trying to do this month. The logistics of bringing together 68 men’s teams in Indianapolis and 64 women’s teams in San Antonio in a coronavirus-safe environment is beyond most people’s ability to comprehend. There will be some transportation problems, some meals may get cold, and some hotel rooms not ready on time. that happens.
But the NCAA’s ability to perfectly execute every detail of this event is not the problem. It is the lack of common sense.
The NCAA is really good at symbolic things like putting John Thompson bio in gift bags that have been waiting for guys in their rooms. It’s really a bad thing to do the gist things that make it clear that they consider players an essential part of their money making machine.
And as always, it leads to a completely unnecessary problem cropping up in their faces, which makes us wonder why this organization exists even if its primary function these days – holding tournament tournaments – is this half of the rating.
By the way, this is not an exaggeration.
Had COVID-19 not canceled the 2020 tournament, it would be the fourth since the FBI uncovered massive corruption in college basketball. No high-profile coach or school involved in the scandal has yet been sanctioned, which means the NCAA has failed in its responsibility to do justice.
After a decade of kicking the box down the road on the inevitable push for name, image, and likeness rights, the NCAA is now battered by state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, failing to self-rule on the biggest existential issue of this generation.
Meanwhile, Emmert has turned the NCAA president’s job into an unrelated, high-paying job, and his decade-long tenure has achieved little except for ceding more control of the college sport’s future to the commissioners of the five richest soccer conferences.
At this point, the NCAA is often there to host tournaments. They kick off their high profile events this weekend and look substandard even then.
A packed meal that isn’t particularly appetizing isn’t the end of the world, and the players competing in the tournament will leave here grateful for the opportunity to be part of an event they’ve watched their entire lives.
The problem is the inability to admit that without the players, there is no billion-dollar contract for the NCAA Championship. It is easiest for this fact to go unnoticed in a normal year. But when this isn’t a really fun experience, when athletes are unable to move around the city as they like or even leave the hotel floor most of the day, getting deodorant and jigsaw puzzle in their room feels less like a gift and more like an insult.
And of course they’ll say it out loud because now more than ever they know that denying them the right to take advantage of their shape is wrong. They know that the NCAA’s failure to provide adequate training equipment to use it is a mistake.
By building these bubbles for the next three weeks, the NCAA has proven that playing a tournament in a pandemic is possible. But it also gives everyone involved more reasons to look below the surface, and they didn’t necessarily like what they found.
Follow Dan Wolken of USA TODAY Sports on Twitter Embed a Tweet.