Is Winning the NIT Cause for Celebration?
Obviously, it's better to win the NIT than to be a first-round casualty, but how excited should these teams get? Do they deserve a rally when they return to campus, or a few pats on the back and well wishes for next year? Where does the NIT rank on the college hoops hierarchy -- cause for celebration or a whole lot of nothing? What's your take?
Cheating in college
For the past two weeks, talk of cheating has dominated the world of basketball in the wake of the revelation that an NBA referee is under investigation for fixing games. The question is: could this happen on the college level too?
With many more teams and less financial resources for regulation, college sports have been rife for this type of behavior in the past. In the 1950s the Manhattan District Attorney implicated 32 players from seven NCAA schools in a widespread point shaving scandal in college basketball, with teams ranging from New York’s City College to Kentucky. Boston College saw betting scandals rock its basketball and football programs in the 20th Century, and Toledo’s football program is currently under investigation for suspicious activity during the 2005 season.
There are other examples too, but none on record involve referees. After the Tim Donaghy scandal broke, the several major conferences, including the SEC and ACC, both came out proactively and made public the steps they have been taking to ensure point shaving or other betting doesn’t spread to college sports. Still, it begs the question—what type of cheating, if any, could be going on in college sports without anyone knowing? Will every questionable call from here on out cause suspicion for gambling?
The NCAA has cracked down hard on cheating scandals throughout its history, but the issue is once again at the forefront because of what’s been going on in the NBA. Is the NCAA doing enough to ensure the integrity of its sports, namely the big-time revenue producers basketball and football? Let us know your thoughts.
Big Ten Expansion?
For 17 years, the Big Ten has actually had 11 member institutions. The league's identity could become even more confused if published reports that the conference will seek a 12th school in the near future come to fruition.
With the Big Ten Network launching this fall, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told the Des Moines Register that the conference will "look at" adding a 12th team next year. The conference is currently composed of teams from eight different states in several different media markets. The conference's TV network could benefit greatly from adding a new team from a ninth state.
Notre Dame rebuffed the Big Ten's advances to become its 12th member in 1999, so the focus this time could be on two Big East schools that have been mentioned before: Rutgers and Syracuse. Rutgers would provide the Big Ten with a regional foothold in New Jersey and in the New York media, and Syracuse -- which was involved in talks to move to the ACC before Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami made the move instead -- has a strong following in New York as well.
Like the ACC, SEC and Big 12 before it, a 12-team Big Ten could institute a financially lucrative championship game in football. The downside? A 12-team league would likely have to be split into two divisions, effectively destroying many of the traditional rivalries and potentially costing the regular season champion a BCS bowl bid with a slip-up in the league title game.
What are your thoughts on the Big Ten's talk of expansion? Is it good for the conference? Who should be the 12th team? And finally, will the league finally need to adopt a new name?
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