NCAA decision to cancel remaining championships is open for debate
It was a moment of truth that only live television can reveal.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was on the air during the Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network, when he was informed by Finebaum that the NCAA had cancelled all spring sports.
Sankey joked that people think he is always working with inside information.
Not this time.
“Surprised that we’ve made a decision now in mid-March not to play baseball or softball national championship event,” said Sankey. “So I look forward to learning what informed that decision.”
The NCAA pulled the plug on spring sports, despite the fact that the College World Series in Omaha was still three months away.
In time of crisis, it is easy to second guess the decisions of leadership.
The NCAA is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.
This week, when the NCAA cancelled March Madness, Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few was one of the few to second guess the decision, at least publicly.
“We could have waited until May,” said Few to ESPN. “I think all of us felt we could postpone.”
So, why the rush? Especially when it came to say, college baseball? Why not wait until the end of March? Then assess the effects of the Coronavirus.
If the situation doesn’t change or worsens, then cancel the season. If it improves, pick a date and re-start.
The cancellation of the college baseball season hits hard in south Louisiana.
Tulane University was off to a 15-2 start with nine straight wins, poised to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time under head coach Travis Jewett.
Green Wave ace Braden Olthoff was one of the best pitchers in college baseball over the first month of the season.
In Baton Rouge, the baseball season is always highly anticipated. I ran into a fan Friday morning he told me the following.
“I just don’t what I am going to do without my LSU baseball this year.”
He’s not alone.
The NCAA can always fall back on taking the best interest of the student-athlete at heart. By calling off the games, the organization erred on the side of caution.
But what’s the hurt in waiting to make a decision at the end of March?
The NCAA will reportedly offer additional eligibility to seniors in spring sports. However, in the case of baseball where many depart to sign pro contracts, that perk is far less significant.
In 1994, the major league baseball strike killed the World Series chances of the Montreal Expos.
When the strike happened, the Expos were 74-40. For the last 26 years, Montreal fans who have since lost their team to relocation as well as baseball fans everywhere have often asked, “what if?”
Scores of college coaches, fans and athletes are asking the same thing.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…