06/01/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Is the NCAA Really Considering Expanding March Madness to 96 Teams?

Does it make sense to expand the NCAA men's basketball tournament from 64 to 96 teams?

Well, the NCAA just announced it's seriously considering it. If it goes down they propose to have the top 8 seeds in each region to have first round byes.

Should there be expansion?

This question can be answered from two perspectives: First from a fans perspective and the other from a journalistic point of view.

Fans would love nothing more than to see more basketball during March. The more the merrier. As a fan I think March Madness is the second most popular sporting event besides the Super Bowl.

Fans would have no problem watching more buzzer beaters and seeing more teams get into the "big dance" to witness a few more potential David's slay Goliath's. Expansion will allow for fans to have more fun with their bracket selections.

From a journalist standpoint expanding the tournament makes little sense.


Technically March Madness begins when the conference tournaments start. Once the conference tournaments start every team in those conferences have a chance to win an automatic bid into the field of 64. It's the prelude to the "big dance."

Furthermore, the NCAA is exploring expansion because they've tested the premise in the media. Many fans want more basketball. But expansion is not for the fans: It's for the NCAA, networks like CBS, the universities, and head coaches to make more money. Expansion wouldn't be considered if it weren't profitable to the latter's bottom line.

After all, if it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make sense.

Why is everyone getting paid except the players?

Not paying the athletes "something" is the one of the biggest travesties in American sport yet few are willing to consistently address this issue. The athlete represents the most vital part of the athletic equation yet they make nothing for their efforts. All monies go to the so-called Non-for profit NCAA, networks like CBS, universities and of course the head coaches.

I'm sick and tired of the "well there are getting a scholarship" argument. It's weak as water. The series of one-year deals receive aren't guaranteed funds. It merely represents an opportunity to acquire an education.

Would you put in 40-hour weeks for your employer for free? Would you all perform your various occupations for the sake of saying you are working yet the income you suppose to take home goes to your employer instead?

Most logical beings wouldn't like that setup. So why should the athlete?

Meanwhile "Not-for profits" like the NCAA acquire funds off the blood and sweat of the athletes. They don't have to wait for their money. They don't have to wait and venture into the real world in hopes of securing their money like most athletes do.

In 1999 the NCAA inked an 11-year $6 billion dollar deal. But the athletes aren't entitled to any of the dough that been built of their labor.

If athletes wanted to find employment to secure some extra money they can't. The big-bad NCAA says athletes on scholarship can't hold jobs.


Who is the NCAA to say a person who is old enough to work can't secure employment? That seems to be a violation of the athletes' Anti-trust rights as a citizen of America. Anti-trust laws make it legal to work in this society if you are of age. How can the dictatorship of the NCAA trump American legislation?

Depending on how you view this situation will dictate how you feel about possible expansion. As a fan I know I'll watch every round of play like I have for years. But I'm watching with a conscious eye knowing full well the student-athletes are being used.