Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Siroky Viewpoint: What Next in the Evolutionary Trail of Organization?

By Mike Siroky

What about everyone else?

NCAA Division 1 football elites seasons ago told the NCAA to step aside in the playoffs. The schools and conferences make the money now.

The elite of men’s college basketball is poised to do the same. 

If they leave the NCAA and start their own rules/own governing body, so be it. They could allow players to be paid.

 If it is just basketball, other sports might remain weakened  in a severely less-important NCAA.

Would football also splinter away? The could have their own rules (pay among them) and the new organization would make more money.

But what about everyone else?

We long-time writers of women’s hoops (there are two of us) know the move to the NCAA from the player-friendly AIAW was a big marketing move. 

The uninitiated followers might not recognize Old Dominion vs. Louisiana Tech as significant, but they sure got Tennessee-Georgia and other lesser conference matchups. 

The women’s game would not have elevated so quickly.

But look back to the AIAW and for instance, Final Four players collecting all sorts of swag from not only the host sites but also from major athletic wear companies, all legal. 

The writers were also gifted with carry bags, notebooks, shaving kits, etc. Well, there were  not that many of us.

Would the women be invited to the new basketball governors? Why would they? 

None of them support themselves financially. 

Would the men in the big programs want to support them? Would the playoff field be a more-workable 32 again?

Cast adrift, all other sports would be in serious trouble.

 Notre Dame dropped an endowed wrestling program because it was not financially feasible. Try to find many gymnastics or even men’s volleyball competitions. 

The Olympic sports would rapidly fade as training grounds. Already the best track athletes go to Europe for “performance fees” while waiting for the Olympic cycle to come around. 

Except for the best of the bets, we wait to get introduced every four years then we cheer. The best woman swimmer in America just this week took her medals and Pac 12 titles to the European circuit.

Remember, the University of Chicago was a founding member of the Big Ten. They 
still have sports. So what?

Bad administration cost marquee names from the Big East.

If the others join or become a version of the NAIA, OK. If the AIAW is rejuvenated for the women, OK. 

The power conferences would be a sought sale for the alphabetical broadcast outlets. 

This weekends women’s Division 1 women’s basketball championship has proven for years it can exist on non-network TV. The schools agree to 11 a.m. starts even at Regionals because they are accepting the money and not sharing it with the athletes.

Sports always change. Radio used to dominate. The NIT used to be important. The Olympics used to take the starters from the NIT men’s championship and begin America’s basketball team that way.

Now that big money is involved on every level– the FBI investigation has revealed a $250,00 signing bonus for one basketball player brokered by his coach -- it gets shatteringly serious.

There is a chance the women will be left behind again. They had better be ready fast to organize.


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