ESPN just announced that after this February they are going to be canceling their annual BracketBuster event. This is a travesty. It now cements that ESPN really only cares about the big power conferences.
ESPN said the following in a statement explaining their reason for discontinuing the BracketBuster tournament “Given the evolving college landscape, we felt the event in its present form has run its course.” The event has been going on for 11 years. How has this event run its course?
This unique event let smaller schools showcase their abilities and to show the NCAA tournament selection committee what they could do. By taking this even away, ESPN now makes it harder for mid-majors to be selected as at-large selections come March.
If it wasn’t for the BracketBuster event then VCU might not have been selected as an at large selection in 2011. Shaka Smart already said it “BracketBusters was clearly beneficial to teams like us over the years. It allowed us to play a top-50 or top-100 game and gave us the opportunity to gain an additional high-quality win that may not have otherwise been available.”
Look, I went to a college not in a power conference. I went to Western Illinois University who is in The Summit League. Now obviously, WIU isn’t a basketball school and it wasn’t until 2011 that they were a win away from making the NCAA tournament for the first time in their history. Still without an event like the BracketBuster tournament ,a school like WIU would never be able to showcase their abilities.
How many people are going to know about The Summit League and their teams besides students at the school and alumni?
What about schools like Butler? South Dakota State? Richmond? All of these schools are from small conferences who don’t get a lot of press. Everyone loves an underdog that’s why the majority of people were cheering for teams like VCU, George Mason, and Butler when they made their run in their tournament.
So congratulations ESPN, you have once again done a dis-service to mid-majors.
What do you think? Is this a good thing that ESPN has done? Let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @EvanCrum1319