Definitely. How did players back in the old days even have time to go to class?
GUIDE: Remember, the tournament was just a mom-and-pop operation back then. In 2010 the NCAA was considering expanding the field from 64 to 96 teams and the whole Big Dance would have been over in just three weeks. Today, of course, all 347 Division I teams participate, and it's a three-month, double-elimination format. More games means more money, a lesson we learned from our ingenious predecessors back in the 21st century. We've even gone them one better, eliminating the so-called East, West, South and Midwest regionals and selling the naming rights. By the way, Duke sure got a cakewalk through the Domino's Pizza region this year, huh? Some things never change.
Do you think those people back in 2010 would be happy to know that we're not trying to force players into the student-athlete role anymore?
GUIDE: Honestly, there would probably be some diehards who'd say this is exactly what they feared would grow out of 21st-century attitudes toward college sports—a soulless system that abandons education, focuses on profits and exploits the unrealistic dreams of young men. Some people are never satisfied.
What are those other dusty objects near the student-athlete?
GUIDE: One is a basketball. It's hard to tell because it's decayed and useless. The other is a book—they were still used extensively back then. Funny, isn't it, that the book has held up so much better than the ball.
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