So the Final Four is set. Wichita State will face off against Louisville and Michigan against Syracuse. We all love it. We all love it sooooo much. But it’s killing us, and here’s why:
The popularity of the NCAA tournament has exploded in part because of bracketology. It’s not about the majesty of sports, it’s about rolling the dice to win twenty bucks in the office pool (oh, what’s that you say, you just totes knew that Florida Gulf Course would make the Sweet Sixteen? So sorry to have doubted you). If you don’t get the Love Of The Game but totally get off on your gambling high, the proper response is therapy, not hours upon hours of Dickie V.
2. The Denigration of Higher Education
We can thank draconian labour regulations in the NBA for the prevelance of the term, One-and-Done. But it’s the NCAA that is really to blame for allowing all these kids to come into their schools for a year, trample on their syllabi as the go to and from the basketball court, and take up spots that real students might want. Sure, Kentucky got a national championship out of Anthony Davis’s unibrow, but it did nothing to the credibility of the academic institution.
This is a minor league system that is supported by free labour and parents who are duped by college administrators.
3. The Fetishization of Higher Education
As a society, North America has put a real emphasis on education. This is a good thing… or, at least, it seems like a good thing. What we have actually done is make sure that everyone is guilted into forking out three, four or five years-wroth of tuition to get some fancy calligraphy on a piece of paper that will be of absolutely no help when the become a mindless office drone for Exxon or Anheuser-Busch. “The Tournament” is just the shiny ornament on top of this giant pyramid scheme. The NCAA makes you want to be a part of the college life, as if you’ll actually hit the buzzer beater or date the cheerleader. They suck you in with basketball, and they keep sucking until your wallet and credit is dry.
And really, look around this site, the most an academic life seems to lead to is the time and ability to comment endlessly on blog posts.
This is the Charlie Sheen of events. It’s all about winning. If you’re not first you’re last. Go home, you suck. That’s the message. Do you know what’s great about the corrupt bowl system in college football? Half the teams that qualify end their season with a win. That’s lovely! In Basketball, 67 teams end as losers. Sure, that might be good preparation for real life, but can’t that lesson wait until after graduation?
5. The Ohio State University
Ever hear a Buckeye talk about their university. It’s always The Ohio State University. As if there’s something particularly special about a massive state-run school that my pet frog could get into. Somehow, theses people have been able to make attending the most mundane school in the most mundane state in the most mundane conference with the most mundane uniforms into something pretentious. I guess I should say, kudos?
6. Tobacco Row
The greatest rivalry in college basketball – and perhaps in sports – is Duke-North Carolina. Two overly-popular schools living in a state that was created purely to sell cigarettes. Yes, basketball’s most hallowed games could easily be dubbed The Cancer Wars.
Worse still, these two universities rake in massive amounts of money from their basketball programs, but have researchers at either university cured cancer yet? Of course not. Why bite the tar-stained lung that feeds you.
7. The Overwhelming Sexism
Everything else would be almost acceptable if we gave even 1/10 the attention to women’s basketball that we do men’s. But oh no, there’ll be no Buffalo Wild Wings commercials; no one is paying any attention to the Lady Vols (and don’t get me started on the fact that they have to be the Lady Vols). Sorry girls, if you want to be noticed in March, you better be a cheerleader or a sideline reporter.
8. Beer and Couches
The biggest sporting event of the year will be experienced by millions sitting on a couch, guzzling brewskies and inhaling hot wings. THIS IS WHY AMERICA IS FAT. Here’s an idea, United States of Type II Diabetes, why not have a huge festival where you all play basketball?
No, that’s ridiculous.