Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

College Basketball:Cash for Wins?

In today's sports section of the Cincinnati Enquirer, there was an article alleging that certain schools (Xavier University (OH) was cited as an example) that colleges buy their way to wins in sports.

At issue is the way schools create their schedules. After a school determines their league play schedule and schedules games based around local rivalries, the school is left to build the rest of their sports schedule themselves. For some schools it makes a lot of sense to try to add as many home games as possible. The reasons for this are based around the revenue the school can make from a home game, and the more games you can play in a season the more real-life pracitce the team gets.

To add home games, another shool has to add away games which aren't as financially lucrative. There are two ways to do this, one is to arrange to play a pair of games, where each school gets a home game, the other way is to agree to pay the guest team a fee for their appearance for a one game deal.

The article alledges that schools 'cherry pick' the schools they book in for non-leauge games to virtually guarantee a victory. After all the more "W"s a school can put in their record, the better they look for the even more lucrative post-season play.

I'm hoping this is not the case, as I would have real ethical objections with trying to build a winning record with cash rather than performance on the court. It so happens that the December 7 game is one of the games that is being decried by the sportsw writer as being "bought and paid for", including a comment from the opposing team's coach that said ""yeah, we can win this game, but then we'll never be invited back" The article alledges that there some sports programs out there that use these type of games as a major fundraiser basically renting out their sports teams to come to your arena and lose.

While I can see the benefits of playing a game against a team that is supposedly far superior to yours, I can't imagine tring to coach or playing for a coach that is selling wins to other schools. "Okay men, go out there, but if you start to win, hold back!"

It also so happens that I had tickets to the Deember 7 game, so I watched the game with that on my mind. I think it was widely known that this game was a severe mismatch, as the oddsmakers were giving Florida A&M 30 points and the spectators arrived at the game at the last minute. For the first half Xavier basically overpowered Florida A&M as expected, however the story wqas far different in the second half. Xavier put its b-team on the floor and I'm quoite sure the b-team had a very beneficial practice session actually getting to play. ?However they didn't to to well and a 76-38 lead was cut down to a 79-51 final as Florida A&M was able to overpower the Xavier b-team. That score 79-51 is interesting as the spread was 30, and Xavier won by 28, which meant that bets on Xavier lost.

Xavier also basically stopped playing in the last two minutes and refused to try to get that score to put them over 30 sprad, despite the crowd chanting from them to take a shot.


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