The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

April 4, 2014

Fun tournament, cloudy future for NCAA

(Continued)

If those reforms don’t go through, there’s a chance the five conferences might peel away, much the way the big powers did in college football three decades ago.

“That’s not a preferred option on any of our parts,” said Harvey Perlman, chancellor at Nebraska who chairs the new college football playoff board. “But if we can’t achieve something within the organization, as I say, some of these threats to us are existential and we could be forced into a circumstance where we don’t have any choice.”

A split like that would end the NCAA tournament as we know it. What’s March Madness, after all, without the prospect of a Butler or Dayton or Wichita State crashing the party?

Though the four teams at this Final Four are all considered “big,” UConn is a 7 seed, and eighth-seeded Kentucky, of all teams, has managed to shape an underdog story of its own: Ultra-talented freshmen almost implode, before embracing the team concept and making their run.

It will all play out starting Saturday in the $1.3 billion AT&T Stadium, the colossus built by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. It hosted a Super Bowl three years ago. Now, it gets arguably the nation’s second-biggest sports weekend.

“I remember when I was playing in college, when we went to the tournament, we weren’t playing in venues like this,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie, who played for the Huskies in the early 1990s. “Everything has changed and evolved, and, in some way, the student-athlete, that dynamic has to evolve and change, too.”

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