Joe Ovies

NCAA makes it easy to be cynical of Final Four

Posted April 7, 2013

By all accounts, the NCAA Tournament is as popular as ever.

Television ratings for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight were up 13 percent from last year, while an estimated 16 million people watched the Final Four. Thanks to gorgeous spring weather, downtown Atlanta was buzzing with fans. Bracket Town was jammed, the "Big Dance" concert series staged in Centennial Park brought a sea of people and every bar seemed to be shoulder-to-shoulder with fans who couldn't get into the Georgia Dome.

All great for the NCAA and all of their corporate partners. Great for the players and coaches, too. The long road ends with the ultimate competitive fulfillment at the collegiate level for either Louisville or Michigan on Monday night.  

So why is it so easy to be cynical about the whole thing? Blame the soulless staging inside giant football stadiums, the bloated field and the untrustworthy nature of the NCAA itself.

The buck stops with folks who aren't presidents.

It hasn't been a good week for institutional leadership, especially for NCAA president Mark Emmert. Oh sure, he's still been able to rub elbows with his collegiate Illuminati. But Emmert's Final Four experience got a little rough when he had to deal with a cabal of media ready to point out various hypocrisies on Thursday.

"I guess anyone would describe this as a challenging, dynamic, occasionally difficult time in intercollegiate athletics," said Emmert.

Well, yes. It's a challenging time to keep up the facade that the NCAA has the best interests of the student-athletes at heart. Adam and Joe live at the Final Four The Fan live from the Final Four

The Rutgers situation? "I haven’t spent any time looking at it," according to Emmert. He checked the video like everyone else, but it's not like Emmert really needs to concern himself with a member institution stumbling over themselves to fire a coach who was chucking basketballs at his players. 

The NCAA's enforcement scandal with Miami? "We’ve dealt with it directly," said Emmert. Except he's still not responsible for things that happen on the shop floor. 

Syracuse's NCAA investigation? "I can’t comment on investigations," stated Emmert. Except for those times he commented on Penn State and Miami.

New allegations at Auburn? "I think it’s very important to recognize in that case at Auburn, what there is is a newspaper story. That’s it," said Emmert. If only a convicted Ponzi schemer with an ax to grind spilled the beans to Yahoo! Sports. 

And to all those Emmert haters? "I'm still here. I know you're disappointed, but here I am."

Throw in the president at Rutgers who didn't have time to see video of Mike Rice berating his player and the PAC-12 insisting the credibility of Ed Rush was perfectly fine because he was just joking about that $5,000, one has to wonder if anyone at the top of the command chain will take responsibility. Well, outside patting each other on the back for talking big about changing cultures. Whatever that means.

All of it could easily drain the life out of any event, even one as big as the Final Four. 

Broken leg, broken sentiments.

Kevin Ware has become a fascinating study of symbolism. Since suffering a broken leg in Louisville's win over Duke, Ware has become everything to everyone and all of it is just as gross as the injury itself.

Adidas immediately started selling shirts with "Ri5e To The Occasion," a play on his jersey number. It was equal parts an inspirational gesture for the Cardinals and cash grab under the guise of contributions to the university's scholarship fund.

Slight problem. Legally, Adidas needed Ware's permission to sell the shirt. However, it would have been an NCAA violation had he said yes. Shirt sales suddenly stopped over a "logo issue." Fans can still find the unofficially licensed "Win It For Kevin" shirt on the streets of Atlanta.

Then there are those who instantly used Ware's injury as a blunt object to hammer their preexisting argument that the NCAA should pay players. It's one thing to show support, it's another to turn Ware into a dehumanized meme.

King Karl and rewarding bad defense.

Officials at the Final Four earned their assignments based on how they graded out during the regular season. Which means Karl Hess, bane of the ACC, is considered one of the best refs in the nation.

So it was delicious irony that Hess was at the center of a controversial held ball at the end of Louisville's win over Wichita State. 

The NCAA backed Hess, stating "a held ball occurred because two players held the ball and control could not be obtained without undue roughness."

Louisville was up 71-68 with 6.8 left to play and who knows if Wichita State would have been able to tie the game before the buzzer, but that's not really the point. Nobody wants to see questionable calls like that at the end of high profile games.

Same goes for the charge call on Syracuse's Brandon Triche, who was in the air while Michigan's Jordan Morgan was still moving. If the NCAA wants to solve their scoring problem, it would behoove them to stop rewarding bad defense. 

See you in Greensboro next year, Jim. 

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is one of the great curmudgeons of basketball. His press conference interactions are stuff of legend. 

Behold the latest example, where he mixed it up with Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports. When asked if he'd be back, Boeheim snapped back.

"Why would you ask that question? I expect it from you. I know you. Why ask that question? Are you going to ask [Michigan coach] John Beilein that question?"

Rumors of Boeheim's retirement have persisted due in large part to the demise of the Big East and Syracuse's exodus to the ACC. He insists he'll be there, Greensboro and all. And why not?

Boeheim will be able to welcome Duke and North Carolina to the Carrier Dome. He'll be on the sideline inside Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Smith Center. Boeheim wants to be the guy who guides the program he's synonymous with to it's new era. 

A round on me at Ham's next March, Jimmy.

17 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Obamacare rises Apr 8, 2013

    The NCAA and everything it stands for is a joke. Mark Emmert putting a bullet in his own head would be a great start towards changing that.

  • PackFan1983 Apr 8, 2013

    Wow, an ENTIRE article where Ovaries doesn't say NC State under-achieved and that we blame the refs too much...it's a Christmas miracle.

  • babedan Apr 8, 2013

    a 9:30 EDT start, who cares to stay up to 12:00 to watch when they have to go to work the next morning.

  • JPack Apr 8, 2013

    Wow Joe! Who peed in your Corn Flakes this morning? Can we at least rant about things that matter?

  • Leave it to Beaver Reruns Apr 8, 2013

    View quoted thread


    I agree. I think people think it was a bad call because they wanted to see the Shockers have a chance at tying the game. It was either a held ball or a travel, but either way, a call had to be made.

  • StunGunn Apr 8, 2013

    The NCAA makes it easy to be "cynical", period. I'm looking forward to a great game tonight.

  • charlesboyer Apr 8, 2013

    View quoted thread



    And commenters making straw-man irrelevancies, as if their words will be heeded...or cared about by anyone.

  • VT1994Hokie Apr 7, 2013

    ^^. I meant to say doesn't fit. Sorry.

  • Onewhoknows Apr 7, 2013

    I'm no Karl Hess fan but I have no idea what the media's infatuation with him is. Karl didn't make the held ball call. BOTH officials made the call, simultaneously. Neither called a fouled, neither ignored the play. It was a held ball. Refs can never whether one of the player's is going to rip the ball away just as they blow the whistle nor does it have to be held for a certain amount of time. It was a held ball, reward good defense and make the call.

  • VT1994Hokie Apr 7, 2013

    Actually. The title down't fit at all in this one. Cynical isn't the proper word.

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
STL
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
TOR 112
CLE 120
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
Final
MIN 85
DEN 100
Final
NOP 88
DET 85
 
Final
MIA 100
LAL 94
Final
HOU 100
MEM 102
Final
OKC 123
PHI 118
Final
SAN 112
SAC 85
Final
GSW 102
MIL 93
Final
LAC 93
POR 98
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
 
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
Final
UNH 67
HART 63
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
Final
TULA 63
HOU 68
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
Final
PITT 63
MIAMI 67
Final
TXPA 48
NMST 69
 
Final
MSU 72
PURD 66
Final
STLU 48
BONA 64
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
Final
TULSA 47
CIN 56
Final
VANDY 66
MSST 56
Final
OKST 82
TCU 70
Final
UCLA 85
USC 74
Final
WYO 76
UTST 53
Final
MARQ 51
STJ 67
Final
EILL 78
SIUE 66
Final
FRES 68
AFA 66
Final
NEV 62
COLST 78
Final
ILL 69
NEB 57
Final
SJST 51
BSU 68
Final
ORST 62
OREG 65
Final
UNLV 58
SDST 60
Final
HAW 90
UCSB 98
 
4:00pm Today
MDES
MRGST
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
 
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
 
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
 
Final
WIN 1
OTT 3
Final
DET 2
NYR 1
Final
ANA 3
MON 1
Final
COL 3
PIT 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON