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The Littyhoops Amendments

A humble manifesto 

From Thanksgiving until the Ides of March you hear the bitchiní.  The level of college basketball isnít as good as it used to be.  All the good players go straight to the Pros.  Amateurism is a joke and every program is scandalous.  Yada Yada Yada, etc. etc.

Yet, then the Madness begins and one-time haters are the first to argue that the big dance is the most exciting playoffs in sports.

Littyhoops believes the college game is better than ever.  Parity in most of the major conferences has made the average league game more exciting.  The difference between the top teams and the mid-majors is shrinking and we are watching programs like Gonzaga, Butler, Tulsa, Kent and Hawaii create their own history.  The college game still attracts the top coaching talent and has current legends in Bob Knight, Coach K, Lute Olson, Rick Pitino and Jim Boeheim.

Yet, the college game still has room for improvement. Unfortunately, the NCAA is more bureaucratic then a capital hill filibuster. Of course, Littyhoops has the answers and the renovations that will make you wish that the NBA should get the hell off ESPN and air even more college games on would could be coined Chillin Thursday and TGIFriday (catchy name for a night of TV).

Allow college players 5 years of eligibility.  These days only the most dedicated student athletes seem to stay in school until their eligibility is exhausted.  Allow players with respectable academic standing after four years, a fifth year of eligibility.  This rewards the true college player, and awards programs that are able to keep their players.

Envision the Nick Horvathís and Level Blanchardís getting another season at proving that they are winners.  Kris Lang and Jason Capel could be playing along side talented freshman in Chapel Hill.

Itís no longer an advantage to allow players to stay an extra year.  In fact, some coaches might be against the idea because they would rather recruit new talent if a player has maximized his potential.  But the college game would be more compelling, and the student athlete will be rewarded for their activity off the floor.

Increase the tournament to 68 teams and have 4 play-in games.  The play-in game currently takes place in Dayton between the teams that the selection committee deems to be the worst in the field.  Instead there should be a play-in game in each region.  The 8 teams in the games should be the final at large teams selected to play in the tournament.  This would allow intriguing match-ups that would interest fans.  The games could be played on the Tuesday before the tournament starts.  The tournament has not expanded since 1985.  Since then over 50 new colleges have joined Division I.

Trash the RPI.  Itís a dumb formula.  A third is a teamís record, another third is their strength of schedule, and the final component is the opponentís strength of schedule.  Those ingredients are as stupid as the stuff they put in a Monte Cristo sandwich (fried bread, ham, bacon, turkey, cheese, mayo).

Get a bunch of smart dudes together- Andy Katz, Jerry Palm (ww.collegerpi.com), Jeff Sagarin, the selection committee of ADís, Bill Gates perhaps- throw in a statistician or two, and come up with a decent way to judge which teams deserve to make the big dance.

Littyhoops factors would include record, strength of schedule, conference record and quality wins.  It would also factor in home/road results, teams that improve during the season, and analysis of past of historical results to find trends (for example, perhaps mid major teams that win the regular season conference but are upset in the conference tournament still are successful in the big dance). 

I still understand the need for some subjective analysis, but having twelve old guys sit in a room and decide who gets to continue their season is kind of feudal.   College Football has the BCS and at least that is complicated enough that people think it's accurate.

Increase the rankings from the top 25 to the top 50.  Rankings are pointless anyway, so why not have some fun with them.  The casual fan loves rankings.  Allow the fans to watch their team climb all the way up the polls.  Give 25 more schools something to brag about.  Tennis did this with the seeding for major tournaments and itís working out great.  If a team is between 40-50 then you kind of know that they are most probably a bubble team and therefore      every game is crucial for their postseason chances.  

Give Division basketball players a stipend. Treat basketball as a part time job and give players $10 bucks an hour.  Since the maximum a team can practice and play games is only 20 hours a week, this would allow each player to collect around $200 for 4-5 months. 

This money can be funded by a combination of the NCAA (and the billions of dollars it receives from CBS for television rights) the conferences, and the schools.  Itís quite obvious that a lot of people get rich off of the efforts of college kids playing ball so stop being so damn hypocritical and let the guys who generate the dough in on a piece of the pie.

So thatís that.  David Stern beware, because given the authority Littyhoops would turn your NBA into a second rate league.  College Hoops for life.  If only every month could be March.


For now LittyHoops is a not for profit, not for any productive purpose ( other then giving  college kids with too much time on their hands something to do, and college basketball fans something to read). If you would like to contribute to LittyHoops.com before it dominates the entire world give us a holla at Litty@LittyHoops.com

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