Bob Huggins spoke to Pittsburgh Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan and dropped a unique solution for how the NCAA should handle everything once the pandemic was been lifted and life begins to return to normal. Huggins said that the NCAA should start the season with the cancelled NCAA Tournament.
“Let’s have the NCAA Tournament start the season. Let’s face it there’s a great chance we’re not going to have college football. Putting that many people together is going to be rough. I wouldn’t want to have to make that decision. So, why don’t we start the season off with the NCAA Tournament? [The NCAA] can get its money and distribute it to the schools. It solves a lot of problems”
It is an interesting proposal from the West Virginia Mountaineers head coach and it’s one that would certainly bring excitement back to college sports. The loss of the Tournament is going to cause a lot of financial heartburn and headaches for all of the schools but especially smaller schools that try to fund football programs. It is estimated that the NCAA lost somewhere close to 300 million dollars from the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. Division II and III schools, which only play “up” in basketball, operate on athletic budgets of 3-6 million dollars. The loss of even 1 million can represent 25% of their budget for the year.
So how would holding the Tournament work? Teams like the Mountaineers had all but secured their post-season bid but other teams can only make the tournament by winning their conference tournament. Huggins had an answer for that.
“Generally speaking, their [low and mid-major programs] NCAA representative is their conference tournament winner. Heck, let them have their own tournament. Let them play their conference tournament.”
That is an interesting proposal but you know that if one conference is allowed to have their tournament, all conferences are going to want their conference tournaments played. Playing conference tournaments early and then the NCAA Tournament would certainly bring excitement early to the season.
Huggins also suggested that seniors should be allowed to come back and play. I would have to agree with Huggins here, seniors who did not get the chance to play in their last conference tournament or last NCAA tournament should have that chance.