Conference tournaments are no fun. Fans usually hold their breath during these meaningless postseason shenanigans, hoping against hope that their team suffers no injuries or has to labor through victories. Yes, it’s always nice to win a conference tourney (especially if you absolutely need that automatic NCAA bid), but for those teams already locked in to an at-large Big Dance slot, this might as well be a jamboree exhibition game.
The worst part is, conference tournaments aren’t even necessary. They’re simply a way for a league to bring in some extra money, while propping up student-athletes as revenue-building machines in the process. The NCAA loves to claim that they “care about the student-athlete.” But in reality, while these kids are missing classes (and in many cases finals) to attend these half-empty crapfests, the NCAA is capitalizing on their lack of appreciation for the young men and women who are essentially writing their paychecks. It’s an absolute travesty.
My solution is to get rid of the conference tournaments altogether. We don’t need them. They’re a waste of time, money, effort, and energy. I’d much rather have my team get a week’s worth of extra rest for the real postseason, rather than be put to risk by playing in worthless ballgames. Award the title of “Conference Champion” and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament to the team that wins the regular season championship. In the case of a tie, hold a one-game playoff. It’s not that hard to do, but for whatever reason, the NCAA just doesn’t get it.
Of course, this will never happen. The NCAA is all about making money and exploiting the student-athletes who bring in the dough. Rather than just admit to this, they treat the subject like steroids and hide behind lies and denials in refuting their ill behavior. So instead, we’ll just call this a pipe dream. That’s what it is, and that’s what it will likely always be. Sigh.