When the NCAA announced earlier this week that it is moving 2017 NCAA Tournament games previously scheduled for Greensboro, N.C., out of the state in what amounts to a protest of the discriminatory HB2 law, my colleague Matt Norlander suggested Philadelphia should benefit.
He wants the NCAA to move those games to the Palestra.
And I wouldn’t object.
Philadelphia is a great city. The Palestra is one of the most important buildings, if not the most important building, in the history of college basketball. So, yeah, it’s relatively small in the sense that it seats less than 9,000 for games and I’m not sure it’s equipped to handle the type of media contingent that attends opening-round NCAA Tournament sites. But whatever. If the NCAA decides to go to the Palestra, it’ll be fine with me.
But I do have a better idea.
The NCAA is clearly trying to send a message here, and the message is this: if you’re a state with a discriminatory law, or a state that’s currently operating on the wrong side of history, we’re not going to do business with you. So, North Carolina Tar Heels , when you eradicate HB2, we’ll be back. But until then, we won’t.
That’s the message.
And what better way to hammer home that message than to take North Carolina’s NCAA Tournament games and relocate them to … South Carolina Gamecocks ?
South Carolina, of course, was once banned from hosting NCAA events — basketball tournaments, baseball tournaments, etc., — because the Confederate flag was flown on Statehouse grounds. But that 15-year boycott was lifted literally one day after the state removed the flag in July 2015, meaning South Carolina is now eligible to host NCAA events. So this is easy, right? What the NCAA should do is take North Carolina’s NCAA Tournament games and relocate them to South Carolina. It would serve as a reward for South Carolina declining to continue to fly a symbol of an embarrassing and despicable past while also serving as a reminder to North Carolina that everything can be good again, like things are now good again in South Carolina, just as soon as it removes from the books its nonsensical law that limits the rights and protections of LGBT people.
I really do love this idea.
And it works from a practical perspective, too. Because, I guarantee you, there are already fans who have purchased tickets to what was supposed to be the Greensboro site based on the fact that the NCAA Tournament was going to be within driving distance of their homes. This approach, my plan, would keep the NCAA Tournament within driving distance of those same fans’ homes because only 182 miles separate Greensboro, N.C., from Columbia, S.C., where an 18,000-seat arena is ready and available to host.
So go ahead, NCAA.
You know what to do.
You did the right thing earlier this week.
Now you have a chance to make it even more right … and perfect.
FIVE OTHER THINGS ON GP’S MIND
1. Big 12 expansion moving slow
Remember when it was reported that the Big 12 would like to have expansion all done by the start of football season? Well, football season started three weeks ago and still … nothing. And now Oklahoma Sooners president David Boren is on record again stating that he’s not even sure the league is going to expand at all, which would be the most Big 12 thing ever. It’s all such an unnecessary circus and among the reasons why more and more people I speak with in the industry now believe that, no matter what happens this year, the Big 12 will be at a real risk of losing marquee schools like Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma when its current television deal expires in 2025.
2. Cincinnati looks like a strong Big 12 candidate
All that said, yes, I still believe the Big 12 will expand by two, if only because not expanding will just be too embarrassing. Want an updated prediction? Put me down for Cincinnati Bearcats and Houston Cougars or Connecticut Huskies . The second school could be anybody, I suppose. But I’ll be shocked if one of the two isn’t Cincinnati.
3. AAC should brace for impact
If you’re an American Eagles Athletic Conference basketball fan — or just a fan of an AAC program that values basketball like Memphis Tigers , SMU, Temple Owls or Tulsa Golden Hurricane — the worst case scenario would be the Big 12 extending invitations to Cincinnati and UConn. Those are the AAC’s biggest basketball brands. So losing them would significantly downgrade the AAC’s place within the sport, undeniably.
4. Bryce Alford still under microscope
Sam Vecenie, a former colleague, asked an interesting question this week via Twitter: who is the only returning Power 5 player who averaged at least 16.0 points per game, 5.0 assists per game and 3.0 rebounds per game last season. Answer: Bryce Alford , the much-maligned guard from UCLA Bruins who doubles as coach Steve Alford’s son. The fact that Alford has unique stats but is regularly the target of criticism underlines just how difficult it can be to be a relevant player for your father at the high-major level — unless, of course, you’re setting records and collecting National Player of the Year awards like Creighton Bluejays ‘s Doug McDermott once did.
5. No worries at Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers ‘s student body bought every student ticket available to them this week in a span of just three minutes, which is yet another reminder that Greg Gard is flourishing in the role of head coach. He made a bad team good last season and is recruiting at a high level now. Fans are responding. And this transition from Bo Ryan to his longtime assistant really couldn’t be going more smoothly.
FINAL THOUGHT: Details relating to the sexual assault civil case involving former NBA MVP Derrick Rose continue to sporadically emerge, and the latest is concerning. According to Rose’s accuser’s attorneys, the former University of Memphis star who now plays for the New York Knicks could not, when asked, define or even somewhat explain what it means for a woman to give consent.
Here’s a segment of Rose’s sworn deposition (provided this week by Rose’s accuser’s attorneys).
Question: Do you have an understanding as to the word consent?
Rose: No. But can you tell me?
Question: I just wanted to know if you had an understanding.
Needless to say, that’s not good. And it got me thinking.
For years, boys and men were told “No means no.” That was the slogan. But it was always a bad slogan because the implication is that no means no and anything short of no means yes. Obviously, that’s not the case. And it’s this exactly that’s at the center of the allegations against Rose and two friends because the accuser is not claiming she said, “No.” Her claim is that she didn’t say anything at all because she was blacked-out — either because she drank too much alcohol or because she was drugged. Or both. Her claim is that she was totally incapacitated and thus incapable of consenting.
That’s the core of this $21 million lawsuit.
And that Derrick Rose couldn’t define consent is a problem.
Which is why I thought it was smart when Nebraska coach Mike Riley invited a rape survivor to speak to his football team this preseason, and why I think other college football and basketball coaches — and, I guess, swimming coaches, too — would be wise to do something similar. Sexual assaults are a problem on college campuses from coast to coast. Sometimes, they involve athletes. And as long as college coaches like to describe themselves as people who take great pride in enrolling boys, shaping them into men and sending them out into the real world equipped to be productive members of society, why not educate them on this very serious issue?
Why not talk about it?
Why not invite somebody to talk about it?
It couldn’t possibly hurt.
And, as Rose’s deposition shows, it could really help.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / The NCAA could send a message by moving tourney games to South Carolina