Welcome to Boilermusings, the weekly column where I take a few issues I want to talk about but can’t flesh out into full articles and slam them together into one!
The Purdue volleyball team is good. They are very good. They are in the NCAA Tournament once again. However, it seems like the NCAA has yet again screwed up when it comes to a women’s sport. Check out these two situations.
As of now, no play-by-play announcers will report the NCAA tournament action on ESPN3 next week. After cutting the field by 25%, women’s volleyball is not worthy of announcers? This is BUSH LEAGUE. Plenty is capable commentators happy to do the work for free. Let’s get organized.— Dave Shondell (@DaveShondell) April 8, 2021
I understand Covid has created a whole new world but you’re telling me ESPN can’t afford to send two people (or more, I’m unsure of how many matches will go on at once) to actually put on a good production. This is shameful.
Per multiple @NCAAVolleyball coaches, the 8 practice courts in the convention center are sport court layered over cement flooring.— Emily Ehman (@emilyehman) April 8, 2021
This is very high risk for injury and NOT suitable for players' safety -- especially any players jumping repeatedly.
If this information is true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, this means that the NCAA has put a women’s NCAA tournament together with inferior equipment for the second time in a month. We’ve all seen the pictures of the weight rooms for the men’s basketball tournament vs. the women’s basketball tournament. This seems like just another example of the NCAA not taking women’s sports seriously. It’s worth pointing out at this point to those thinking, wouldn’t this be a Title IX situation, that the NCAA is a “non-profit” so they are not required to comply with Title IX. Just a fascinating I’m sure not at all related tidbit for you. Dear NCAA, do better.
Men’s Basketball Rankings
With the NCAA Tournament finished and Baylor the champion it’s time to look toward to the 2021-2022 basketball season and determine who is going to be in the final game next year. Purdue seems to be a trendy pick as the Boilerball twitter account pointed out recently (with the caveat that they mean nothing.).
These numbers mean without hard work. pic.twitter.com/U91riXtF5H— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) April 6, 2021
ESPN ranks Purdue as high as 3rd in the country to start next year. There are at least 9 outlets that rank Purdue in their top 10. Couple points I want to make about this. First, as the Boilerball twitter account points out, these are absolutely meaningless. You don’t win the national title in the offseason. You don’t win the national title based on pre-season rankings. Second, I just don’t see a ranking this high at this point. Casey and I talked about this a lot. He assured me that a Sweet 16 birth for this past season was a lock and that I needed to get on board. He finally convinced me at the end of the season only to have the bottom fall out. Unless Purdue has some vast improvement from their three point shooting, defense, and the incoming recruits really blow us away I’m not sure what justifies this high ranking.
I’d love to be wrong though. The talent may be there but talent means nothing if you don’t fully tap into it.
If you’ve read a lot on this website over the last few years or looked at the Twitter account since I (largely) took it over from Travis and Juan you’ll know I think the NCAA is trash. They create rules that don’t make sense, they selectively enforce these rules, and the rules they create are generally harmful to the student athletes while enriching their member institutions. To me, that’s a terrible situation. The free Covid year for athletes seems to be the rare situation in which the NCAA and I are on the same page. The number of players in the transfer portal for both basketball and football is absolutely outrageous. Seemingly half of the Big Ten basketball players have entered (and some withdrawn) their names in the portal.
This will be a chaotic offseason with many players popping up on teams that you didn’t expect and your team maybe losing a player that you’d have liked them to keep. I don’t know if this is ultimately a good decision or a bad decision but I know that coaches, who are very often millionaires, have the opportunity to go from school to school with no penalty forcing them to sit out a year or transfer down a division, so why shouldn’t the players be given a chance to improve their situations? I’m watching this all play out to see what the NCAA learns from this and if they can make the transfer options for the athletes any better.