We interrupt our Football Frenzy to address the fast-moving rumor that the NCAA already has decided to expand the men's basketball tournament from 65 to 96 teams.
According to Dave Worlock, an Associate Director of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship, nothing's set in stone or even in papier-mache.
"We are in an exploratory process and giving the topic of tournament expansion its due diligence," Worlock wrote in an e-mail. "But to say, as some are, that expansion is imminent or a 'done deal' is false."
Thank goodness, because I don't think there's a single March Madness fan across these United States who believes a 96-team tournament to be a good idea.
I prefer to refer to it as a terribly horrible grotesque abomination of an idea. I know coaches think this will give them more job security and help them on the road to riches, but here's a sample of the negotiation conversations that could go on across the country:
Coach's Agent: "OK, my client would like an extension and a nice raise. He's taken you to the NCAAs three years in a row."
AD: "While I can appreciate your client's work, we were the East region's No. 21 seed twice and a No. 15 once!"
Coach's Agent: "Hello! Three NCAA Tournament bids in a row!"
AD: "Yeah, and we were a grand total of 10 over .500 in those years. How 'bout we negotiate a buyout instead?"
Coach's Agent: "OK, my client would like an extension and a nice raise. We've been a 5 seed or better each of the last two years."
AD: "Yeah, that's worked out great. The only NCAA games we've won in those two years are the first-round byes. The first year, we became the first bye team in history to lose to a No. 21 seed. We sure got a lot of exposure on ESPN for that. Thank your client again for me. Then, the next year, we lost to a 13 seed. Good times."
Coach's Agent: "Maybe we should negotiate a bonus for Tournament wins. I forgot to ask for that last time, though you're at fault, too, for not volunteering such a thing."