I read a guest column by a Syracuse guy talking about the upside of hosting the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments together. It is not novel to we CUSA people, as this has been the norm for a while now. The league holds both men’s and women’s tournaments at the Star in Frisco and well, I think it is ideal.
Whatever the underlying rationale was at the time — I am sure it had to do with costs — it does a few things that are good: it brings everyone together, it reduces travel, it reduces hard decisions, and allows cross-support. Instead of asking athletic directors, support staff, fans, and others to split time, loyalties, and resources, everyone can make one trip for one week and spend time enjoying both squads.
Historically, we know which group loses that choice and there are a lot of historical and structural reasons for that. The unified tournament makes it an ideal way to start everyone evenly — sort of. While CUSA does a good job, they still put the women on during the day, when fewer fans can make it out. I think the first round of the men’s tournament can be ‘sacrificed’ for a little prime-time women’s basketball to start things. Unfortunately that involves some television negotiations and it becomes a problem.
Still, let us credit the CUSA crew for being ahead of things a bit, and also put some more pressure on them to stay that way and keep at it.