Friday, April 30, 2010

Fool on the Hill

Mocking unhinged rants from John Feinstein is like shooting fish in a barrel, but Blutarsky has unearthed another gem. To pile on, I'm amused by Feinstein's claim that the NCAA has the leverage to force a college football playoff over the wishes of its most powerful members, specifically to carry on a tournament with Butler and Cornell, but not Kentucky or Duke.

Let's imagine you are a lawyer for CBS negotiating and drafting the agreement with NCAA to pay billions for the right to show the NCAA Tournament. CBS is paying you hundreds of thousands of dollars to draft an agreement that will protect its interests. The agreement has to cover contingencies so CBS isn't paying billions for a significantly devalued tournament. Do you think that maybe, possibly you'd include language setting forth that CBS doesn't have to pay for the Tournament if all of the teams with significant cache and TV followings (you know, the ones who might interest advertisers?) have seceded and formed their own, competing tournament? Put another way, do you prefer not to commit malpractice?

John, I'm going to make this very simple for you: people watch games because of teams and players, not organizations. The NFL couldn't put semipro players in uniforms and still get ratings. Thus, the BCS conferences hold the valuable chips. The NCAA works for them, not the other way around. There is a name for the NCAA without its most powerful members: the League of Nations.

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