Could The Current Economic Crisis Trickle Down To The NCAA Tournament?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everyone is trying to figure out exactly what is happening to our economy these days, but most people think it can largely be attributed to the price of gas. If gas goes up, so does the price of doing business. Now every industry has to raise prices yada, yada, yada. Well, Eye On Sports Media recently came across a passage by Michelle Brutlag Hosick from NCAA News, and she says that this state of affairs could possibly lead to some changes to the NCAA Tournament in 2009....

After high fuel prices, decreased flight capacity and new trip-related fees resulted in higher-than-budgeted expenses for championships travel during the past fiscal year, all three NCAA divisions are studying how to respond to those conditions during 2008-09.

The Executive Committee Finance Committee approved a review of travel-related issues and requested that various governance bodies, including the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet and the Divisions II and III Championships Committees, provide an initial report and any recommendations related to championships travel management to the Executive Committee and leadership in each division by October 30.

The NCAA national office staff has been monitoring a changing environment that resulted in a $7.2 million increase in championships travel expenses during the recently completed fiscal year, compared to 2006-07. Costs in Division I increased 31 percent last year and 58 percent over the last three years. In Division II the increase was almost 13 percent last year and 44 percent over the last three. Division III has seen increases of 7.5 percent over the last year and about 43 percent for the three-year period.

Indications are that the trends will continue, with a projected increase of $6 to $7 million in Division I travel expenses, assuming no changes to current travel, seeding and bracketing policies are made.
While a shrunken field is highly unlikely, it's apparently a possibility that's being considered at the present time. However, the people who are probably going to be hurt the most are students. It's highly unlikely that a school will be able to fly some of their student body to tournament games this upcoming season, and this will in turn lead to teams staying on their same coast and the seeding being even harder to work out for the committee.

That's certainly not good news for one of the most popular sporting events in the country.

Increasing travel costs concern for championships (NCAA)
NCAA March Madness Field Size To Be Cut Next Year? (Sports On The Air)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 1:35 PM



Joe Shad just misspoke and called Conference USA "Conference USGay". Freudian slip indeed

Ed said...
Sep 18, 2008, 1:49:00 PM  

Somehow, I think the schools that make billions of dollars from their athletic programs are gonna hurt too much.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 2:01:00 PM  

Well this certainly does no favors for a football playoff.

Sean O said...
Sep 18, 2008, 2:01:00 PM  

It's supposed to be "I doubt", not "I think".

Damn typos and no way to correct them.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 2:03:00 PM  

Good point Sean O.

Sep 18, 2008, 2:04:00 PM  

@Sean ~ That was one of the points I made in the post:

"Will the Post-Season NIT be killed as way to say money? And all those people clamoring for Division IA, oops I means FBS, football playoffs? One word: Fuggedaboutit!"

Thanks for the link AA!:-)

Sep 18, 2008, 2:35:00 PM  

Big props for putting up this post. I think this situation has been largely ignored in the MSM world, and it should be looked into on a more in-depth level.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 2:41:00 PM  

Since the NCAA receives about $500 million in rights fees from CBS *EVERY* year for *JUST* the NCAA men's basketball tournament, something tells me they can afford the $7.2 million increase in travel costs. Now, how about salaries for the players? They're slave labor in this dirty business!

Peter Brown

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 3:10:00 PM  

For starters, they could be more geographically aware in their selection of first-second round sites...Spokane? Boise? Tampa? Miami?

Unfortunately, the West doesn't traditionally produce four bona fide teams worthy of "hosting" their own pods...Either re-vamp the geographic layout of the "pods" or just allow the 1-4 seeds to play first-second round games on their home would make more sense than what exists now...another possible alternative would be to have bracket placement predicated on receiving the conference's automatic bid and just scrap the pods altogether...

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 3:17:00 PM  

Yeah I'm with you Anon....that's why the N.I.T. costs so little to put on. It's great that different venues get to put on games but they shouldn't hurt the integrity of the Dance if they can easily move things around.

Sep 18, 2008, 3:19:00 PM  

Like I said, you don't ever need to have more than one site west of the Rockies...not to mention that doing so skews the actual bracketing (like when Montana was a 12 so they could play Nevada in Salt Lake City)...then again, this is the NCAA...

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 3:38:00 PM  

If the NCAA can just focus more on keeping teams regional, than this marginal issue could become a non-issue.

GMoney said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:12:00 PM  

If travel costs have risen so high, then why does the Great West Conference whose member schools are located in the Dakotas, Texas, and New Jersey continue to exist?

bevo said...
Sep 18, 2008, 9:03:00 PM  

As for the comments about a I-A playoff, what is the difference between an East Coast team flying to CA or AZ for a bowl game or a playoff game.

The "traditionalists" will just use this as an excuse to delay a playoff.

The travel cost issue affected the mens D1 lacrosse championship this past spring, because the selection comittee had to seed teams based on only one team having to fly to an early round game.

jg said...
Sep 18, 2008, 9:33:00 PM  

@jg - the difference is that the NCAA does not pay the travel costs for teams playing in bowl games. The bowls do. If there were a NCAA playoff, the NCAA would then be paying the travel costs.

Sep 18, 2008, 11:08:00 PM  

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