3-point shot: Cracking down on 'mid-major'

January, 17, 2013
1/17/13
5:00
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1. The NCAA selection committee met in Grapevine, Texas, at the NCAA convention Wednesday and had to come up with some quirky new rules for the selection-committee chair after Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski announced he is leaving for the same position at Georgia Tech. Bobinski isn't leaving Xavier until March 22 and won't start at Tech until April. According to the NCAA, Bobinski will be the chair of the selection process but will have to leave the room if Xavier or Georgia Tech is being discussed. He cannot vote for either in the at-large pool (not likely an issue this season). Then, after the first weekend of the tournament, Bobinski will no longer be the chair for the regional final weekend and the Final Four. He will remain on the committee. The 2014 chair, Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman, will assume the role of chair. This is more or less a ceremonial position at that point in the tournament, as NCAA president Mark Emmert still hands out the championship trophy. Bobinski is leaving the committee after the tournament, so there will be only nine members instead of 10 until September, when Bobinski's position and that of outgoing member Joe Castiglione (Oklahoma AD) are replaced. The summer is when future tourney sites are usually selected. Bobinski's position will be taken by an athletic director or conference commissioner from a non-football-playing school or league.

2. In the lead-up to Gonzaga-Butler on Saturday, please don't refer to these teams as mid-major. I will continue to hammer this home, even to the point of being too repetitive. I don't like the term mid-major. I don't like labels. The net is cast way too wide. Is Creighton the same as St. Francis? Not at all. Oh, that's right, St. Francis is low-major. Stop. Gonzaga and Butler both now travel by charter. Their coaches make close to or more than $1 million a year. The fan bases are more passionate than a number of power-six (another label) conference teams. Both of these schools get invites to high-profile tournaments, can land quality home-and-home series and are ranked. These are all things schools like Washington State or Texas Tech or Penn State or Boston College, among others, would love to have to sell. Just because those schools are in a conference with major college football doesn't put their basketball programs at a higher level. They're not. Gonzaga and Butler are high-major (label) programs now. There is nothing mid-major about either one.

3. The Big West had a chance to rise as true basketball conference again with the addition of top-25 San Diego State and a surging program in Boise State. Now both are staying in the Mountain West and won't be joining the Big West. It's great news for the MWC, which, with the addition of Utah State, will remain one of the top six conferences (yes, I believe that). The Big West will now need Hawaii and one of the UC schools to be a regular at the top of the conference to create some consistency and legitimacy in the region. Hawaii has more of a national profile than the UC schools, in large part because it hosts more programs in tournaments like the Diamond Head Classic.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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