Seems like eons ago.
Cause it is.
I don't hate it. I still "keep tabs". But that wasn't little 'ol me back in 1992 when was invested in the game from November through February. This is before we even get into the soirée that is indeed "March Madness." I miss 12 years old me when I still gave a shit across the board.
That said -- I think college basketball can indeed become great again. I have a few ideas to share on how.
1. Move the shot clock from 30 to 25 seconds
This is especially shocking coming from someone like myself who once upon a time used to watch college basketball on a regular basis with a 45 second shot clock. To be perfectly honest I don’t know how in the hell I even survived that. To the NCAA’s credit they have made headway in the last 25 years in an attempt to improve the game by lowering the shot clock to 35 seconds in 1993 then eventually to 30 seconds in 2015. I d think a 25 second shot clock is perfect. It’s almost on par with the big leagues in the Association, who's shot clock runs at 24 seconds. It also would the game much more watchable for the casual college fan by speeding up the game.
2. End the "one and done" rule
Of all the things hindering college basketball today, this rule may actually be at the top of the list. In my opinion the main issue with the "one and done" rule here is most kids who are sure fire future NBA draft prospects attend school with the knowledge that they will declare for the NBA draft less the following spring. There is no motivation nor priority on education.
The counter argument is that if an 18 year old can serve this country by joining the military that he or she should be able to have the freedom to decide what to do with his or her career. It's a legitimate argument.
So how do you fix this?
First off if I am the NCAA, this is the rule I put in place.
If a high school athlete decides to declare for the draft, he should be able to do so. If the athlete is able and/or lucky enough to get drafted by an NBA team, he should be allowed to fulfill his career as a professional basketball player.
Now there will be kids who may not be so lucky and ultimately will decide to attend college as either a backup option or possibly build their stock to make it to the big leagues. I am definitely ok with that. The one caveat that the NCAA should levy is that if a athlete decides to attend college, once they commit to the school they are obligated and locked into playing a minimum of 3 years of college ball before being able to declare for the draft. I believe that will improve the college product. It will also have an domino effect for the NBA in which players will be much more prepared to play at the pro level. Also there will be an beneficial investment between the fan of the college game.
3. Start the college basketball season in January the day or week following the college football national title game
This is a an easy fix. First, most do not really care much about college basketball in mid November. You have the NFL that already will have everyone's attention. The college football season is at it's absolute regular season peak. The NBA is already rolling, especially since they're going to start their season in mid October starting this fall. Moving the season start to the day (or week) makes total sense because by doing that you now gain more eyeballs and much more interest into games that otherwise would not have existed.
4. May Madness has just as good a ring to it as March Madness
Seriously it does. The previous reason on this blog post coincides with this one. Marketing wise it will have little to no negative effect in promoting “May Madness". In fact it sounds just as good and just as catchy. The best part is there will still be eye balls. In fact maybe more attention. The NBA playoffs will be near or at their conference finals point which means the ratings battle will be minuscule at best. Major League Baseball would still be too early in the season to do any ratings damage. It’s honestly a no brainer.