Nightmare Scenario: College Basketball Usurps College Lacrosse's Season

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 30: Maryland Terrapins fans celebrate a goal against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on May 30, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

I was perusing the SB Nation Death Star yesterday and came across this item from Bill Connolly. I like Bill; he's frighteningly smart and stuff, but if the idea that he floats actually becomes reality, I'd stab him with a Bowie knife and report the crime myself due a soon-to-be-realized rock-solid criminal trial defense of "Aw, hell no!"

Here's the basis of Bill's thesis: Not enough people pay attention to college basketball for its entire season, and as college basketball is awesome, the hoops season should move to the winter-proper and run until Memorial Day Weekend to maximize its audience. Here's further illustration of the position:

At the beginning of February, The Daily's Dan Wolken wrote the following:

College basketball has essentially become a six-week sport. In the big picture, it might as well not even exist before the Super Bowl. So why not change? Football owns the winter, but college basketball can own the spring.

March Madness is great, but you know what would be even better? May Madness — a 4½-month season, starting around New Year’s and ending just before the NBA playoffs take center stage.

My initial response to this was simple: no way in hell. Why would CBS, the NCAA, or anybody else associated with the perfect spectacle that is March Madness, voluntarily move it to a different time? Even if they could potentially earn more television revenue before the post season with a friendlier schedule, you just don't take a risk that large.

Still, it's an interesting idea, one worth simulating to some degree. So that's what we're going to do. Let's push the entire college basketball season back eight weeks and see what happens. Why eight? Because that would mean the NCAA Tournament play-in games take place on May 9, and the NCAA Finals would occur on May 28, the weekend of Memorial Day.

First, let me get this off of my chest: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, and hell no.

Second, I love college basketball as much as the next guy. It's fun and its tournament is almost perfection, if that's even possible. However, if college basketball were to run concomitant to the college lacrosse season -- essentially starting with the first week in January and ending at Memorial Day Weekend -- it would destroy the momentum college lacrosse has built for itself. College lacrosse has been able to flourish for a number of reasons in recent years, and a revised college hoops schedule would crush a lot of that:

  • You can waive goodbye to television coverage of college lacrosse. With college hoops programming inventory already killing many opportunities for lacrosse coverage in the early season, there's no way that lacrosse could elbow out room on the television schedule with a parallel regular season and post season to hoops. Without television, the growth of the game is sure to stagnate.
  • The lacrosse diehards are going to follow the game regardless of secondary sport interference, but a sizeable portion of college lacrosse fans are college sports fans looking for a reason to continue to support their schools after the big two -- football and basketball -- close up shop for the year. If basketball runs through lacrosse season, you can kiss these folks goodbye.
  • A big reason that a lot of schools are adding Division I programs is the potential for exposure in a "dead" period for athletics. If the opportunity for exposure is squashed due to college hoops running long, will this kill the chances of more than 70 institutions playing at the Division I level by the end of the decade?

Now, college basketball is never going to change its schedule. It just isn't going to happen. If it were to do so, though, it's a good thing that you've been stockpiling pitchforks and torches in your garage due to all those "Riot Preparation Week!" sales at Home Depot.

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