Albert Hunt, New York Times:
…[T]he leaders of college athletics [will soon introduce in place of] the 64-team tournament, which balances quality and inclusiveness, … 96 teams next year.
This would encourage mediocrity and make more money. The latter is the dominant concern of too many leaders of higher education; it trumps the academic interests of the players and institutions and the desires of fans, whether it’s the basketball tournament’s expansion or the insistence on keeping the antiquated football bowl game schedule.
One of the top teams in college basketball this season was the University of Kentucky. Recent figures show that just 31 percent of its players graduate; a year ago the university brought in a hot-shot coach, John Calipari, who took two other schools to the tournament finals only to have those achievements wiped from the record books for rules violations (though Mr. Calipari himself was not directly implicated).
His Kentucky team was led by four fabulous freshmen, all of whom indicated last week that they would leave without graduating and play professionally next year. So much for the student-athlete concept.
Many of the basketball-crazed fans in Lexington, Kentucky, probably couldn’t care less about student athletes or graduation rates, or their coach’s possible ethical transgressions; he wins games…