In recent years college basketball has continuously stretched the boundaries of where to play some of the marque non-conference games at the beginning of the season.
From military bases to aircraft carriers to huge football stadiums almost every idea has been presented until now. Football stadiums have been in play for awhile but not like what is being proposed for next year’s Veteran’s Day.
Talks have begun to play four different games at the same time inside Cowboys Stadium. Yes, you read that correctly- four games all at the same time, played at the same venue.
The idea is being presented by Michigan State’s athletic director Mark Hollis, who’s had some good ideas in the past, not just for college basketball but for all sports. He pretty much started the outdoor ice hockey game routine when Michigan State and Michigan. Hollis started scheduling basketball games at football stadiums when MSU and Kentucky squared off at Ford Field and then he played a major role in this year’s military base game in Germany between MSU and UCONN.
Here’s the proposal of the event as detailed in Seth Davis’ Thursday Hoops Thought column for Sports Illustrated:
The games will begin 15 minutes apart and be held side by side (by side by side) in the giant facility. The purpose is to simulate the madness that takes place during the first week of the NCAA tournament. Only instead of the games taking place in four different cities, they’ll be played in one town, under one roof.
“We’re going to squeeze everything into a three-hour time period,” Hollis told me. “We’re talking with eight institutions right now that have a very high interest and have that weekend open, and we’re going to partner with the 12 [military] bases that are around Dallas, so we can make it a celebration for the guys at Fort Hood and others.”
Hollis has had good ideas but this is just not one of those. This proposal sounds a little like an AAU basketball tournament and that’s not a good thing. The idea may sound cool and the environment would be unprecedented but it’s a bad idea and there are a multitude of reasons why.
First of all in this day and age everything is powered by money and that means TV would play a big factor in this event getting put on. Put aside the massive deal they would likely get, how would the setup even work? Four different games means four different crews, camera stations, announcing teams and tv trucks. It creates a headache just thinking about the organization that would have to be done.
It’s not very practical to hold four high level games at the same time in the same venue. How would the scoreboards be setup as to not interfere with the other games going on? What would prevent the whistles from another game stopping play in a different game? The buzzers and shot clocks would all be going off at different times in the different games and it would just create a cluster of noises that would just confuse everyone involved. Plus, how would the crowd be setup? Four different sections for each team’s two fan bases? It’s not natural to hold college basketball games at the same time in the same venue, it creates too many logistical problems.
Supporters of the plan would point to the success of the first aircraft carrier game and would say that event posed a lot of logistical issues as well but it was deemed a win for everyone involved. However, detractors of this horrible idea will point to the failures of this year’s aircraft games to show that unnatural venues for college basketball just don’t work that well.
This event should just be stopped before it gains any type of momentum and somehow gets the green light. It’s a bad idea, it would not benefit the schools, players or coaches involved and it would just make college basketball look too gimmicky.
Please don’t let this happen or we will all regret that it did.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Basketball writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page