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How will the NCAA reforms being discussed affect the NCAA tournament?

Jul 26, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice Getty Images

Every time there is talk about fundamental change in the NCAA’s structure, college basketball fans get nervous.

When we were in throes of realignment, all the changes that were being made had football and only football in mind, with the hoops side of things an afterthought of their afterthoughts.

Think about it: we lost Syracuse-Georgetown, Kansas-Missouri, Maryland-Duke, and Pitt-West Virginia. The CAA lost both VCU and George Mason. The Big East we grew up with is gone. Things could have been much worse, I’ll admit that, but you’d be hard-pressed to find me arguing that realignment was a good thing for our sport.

Which is why seeing Pete Thamel write about “seismic change” and talk about a “subset of Division I” is so scary.

If the Big 5 schools make a change, will it ruin the single greatest event in sports — the NCAA tournament?

It doesn’t look like it. From Thamel:

At this point, it’s easier to predict what won’t happen. There is zero momentum to break from the NCAA and start a whole new organization. Whatever changes will be made will likely be under the NCAA’s umbrella.

There’s also little chance for significant change to the NCAA tournament. The one thing the NCAA does well is run championships, and unwinding the $10.8 billion CBS-Turner deal would be thorny.

The most likely change will be in the NCAA governance structure, and while that isn’t particularly sexy, it’s still significant.

Ok. I like what I am reading so far. Plus, there’s more:

This doesn’t mean that the America Easts, Big Souths and Big Wests of the world will be all that different. They’ll still have access to the NCAA tournament. Most would agree the NCAA tournament is a better event with Valparaiso, Long Beach State and Florida Gulf Coast.

So if a league is “out,” it is really just subjected to a different rules structure. The championship structure will be the same and they’ll play the same teams. This means that the average fan watching Big Monday or filling out a bracket won’t see much difference.

 

In layman’s terms?

The schools that generate millions and millions and millions of dollars through sports don’t want to be lumped in with the schools that need $100,000 paydays on road games just to run their athletic departments. Texas doesn’t want to be subjected to the same rules as Texas-San Antonio, and that’s probably fair.

The changes are, more or less, going to be based on who has to follow what rules, not what Division they’ll play in.

College hoops, as of now, sounds like it should survive.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.