A Modest Proposal for March Madness

So I’ll admit it:  I’ll waste a TON of time in the next few weeks slapped on the couch watching basketball. 

There’s really nothing better than the NCAA Tournament for a sports fan—and considering that my 18-month old daughter yells “Touchdown!” every time someone scores a basket, I’m in for two straight weeks of smiling.

But I just thought of a few ways that we can improve the tournament—and college basketball in general: 

Let’s stop allowing college coaches to recruit their own players

Instead, let’s assign players to coaches randomly at the beginning of every season.

While we’re assigning players, let’s pay absolutely NO attention to whether or not a particular player fits a coach’s style and/or system.  Let’s give three point shooters to the run-and-gun guys.  Let’s give defensive grinders to the fast break guys. 

Let’s give Princeton guys to Pittsburgh and—in honor of Jalen Rose—Michigan guys to Duke. 

And let’s change assignments every year.  No more of this “four year starter” baloney.  Each team is given 10 new players in August. 

The remaining players on each team should trickle in over the course of the year with no notice outside of a slip of paper in the coach’s mailbox the day before their first practice.


And let’s stop organizing players by division.

Let’s take the Kyle Singlers and Harrison Barneses and drop them all the way down to intramural recreation teams that play every other Thursday.

And let’s take the 5’ 3’’ 315-pound weekend warriors playing on church league teams and drop them in Flint to play for Izzo or in NYC to play for St. John’s. 

While we’re at it, let’s get some kids straight off the soccer field or the JV Rodeo team at the local community college and sign ‘em up for big time college basketball.

There’s no point in allowing kids to CHOOSE interests to pursue, after all.  Let’s make those choices for them already.


And let’s increase the size of each team to 35 players while cutting all support staffers at the same time.

Seriously:  WHY are we limiting college basketball teams to 15 players?

Let’s load ‘em up! 

35 feels like a good number to me. 

Sure—the practice court is going to be chock-a-block full.  Sure, there’s not going to enough basketballs to go around. 

Sure, some players are going to have to stand at the end of the bench when the team runs out of chairs and others are going to have to share lockers with one another.

But a good coach can handle that, right?

Let’s get rid of the assistant coaches, video guys, weight training specialists, nutritionists, academic tutors and athletic trainers that support college basketball teams, too. 

Let’s stop coddling these clowns coaches already.

If they’re any good, they don’t need support staffers.


Finally, let’s fire any coach who can’t get their newly assigned “teams” into the tournament

What an easy way to measure accomplishment, right?  It’s truly “no muss, no fuss.” You either get to the tournament or you don’t. 

We don’t want to hear excuses.  We don’t care if you had to show some of your new players how to hold a basketball while other future superstars waited on the side of the court frustrated and bored.

We don’t care if some of your players just didn’t want to be there because basketball was never really their thing to begin with.

Just win, baby. 

Just win.


How far do you think my proposed changes are going to go? 

Right:  Not far.

College basketball—and the NCAA Tournament—are too important to everyone to ruin with decisions that ANYONE can see are unfair and that would put teams and coaches at competitive disadvantages.

Schools and teachers, on the other hand, aren’t nearly that important.


8 thoughts on “A Modest Proposal for March Madness

  1. Bill Ferriter

    Great point, Will!
    That way, the coaches can easily show really big pictures of important opponents to their players.
    They could even record each practice lecture and post it online so their team could refer to it again later.
    ; )

  2. crazedmummy

    However, by the nature of the system, most teams are “losers.” Every feel-good win-from-behind story is also a lost-at-the-last-minute story.

  3. Woodie Holloway

    I feel you pain. But if you, or anyone else, think they’re going to change the system, it ain’t gonna happen.
    Sports is big business, and nobody wants, to play for a looser. Good players, translates into wins, which in turns, means money. A lethal combination. Leave it alone my friend.

  4. Bill Ferriter

    I love it, Patrick….
    Why SHOULDNT college coaches be held accountable for making sure that 100% of their students graduate on time and prepared for the 21st Century work world?
    We wouldnt want to leave any child behind, right?
    ; )

  5. twitter.com/bhsprincipal

    Bill –
    Love the post. Speaking of hypocrisy, how about adding graduation rate to the mix somewhere to the RPI ratings? Let’s face it, in many cases you can literally take out the student portion of the student-athlete equation.

  6. crazedmummy

    Why stop at 35 per team? the best coaches, those from the winning teams should have 100 extra players, and the coaches from teams who don’t win should be fired, and find other jobs as ditchdiggers, or get unemployment benefits for 6 months and the suddenly stop being unemployed because their benefits run out. This will save money.
    I don’t know anything about basketball except apparently the Redwings don’t play it, but that doesn’t stop me from making decisions on their behalf.
    I have to say I am enormously proud (sarcasm) of the federal government for reducing the unemployment rate by cutting off those extended unemployment benefits. They may have no humanity, but they surely understand statistics.

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