College basketball players now being told to boycott all of 'March Madness'


Few things in life are more exciting and lucrative than ‘March Madness.’ The NCAA men’s basketball national championship tournament has become an annual showcase that many sports fans look forward to. Regardless of the actual quality of competition on the court, the tournament is also a yearly cash grab for the NCAA.

Despite last year’s championship game between UNC and Gonzaga producing some of the lowest television ratings in years, the NCAA still made out like bandits. Between television rights fees, ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, the NCAA walked away with a record $1 billion in revenue last season, per Investopedia.

It’s not just the NCAA either.

The American Gaming Association estimates that close to $10 billion is gambled on ‘March Madness.’ Nationwide, employers reportedly lose about $2 billion in company time as employees fill out brackets.

Now, imagine the utter and sheer chaos if ‘March Madness’ suddenly just stopped happening. To put it lightly, it would be pandemonium and a brutal blow to the NCAA’s bottom line.

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That nightmare scenario is exactly what former Michigan Wolverine and current NBA analyst Jalen Rose is proposing for college basketball players to do.

Amid ongoing FBI investigations into corruption at various levels of college basketball, Rose is urging players to take the drastic step of boycotting the championship tournament to tear down a broken system.

“I wish NCAA players understood the power that they now have,” Rose said on Monday’s episode of his “Jalen & Jacoby” show. That’s when Rose dove into his radical idea.

“I wish NCAA players would exercise that power by boycotting the NCAA tournament,” he said.

Do you think this is a good idea?

“Imagine this: No different from what I said with the NFL players when they were doing their (national anthem) protest at the beginning of the year,” Rose continued. “Imagine if (NFL players) would have shown up on a Sunday and decided not to play.

“(College basketball players need to do) the exact same thing with the NCAA tournament. How many people pay attention to collegiate basketball in March? How many people in office pools and casual basketball fans or people who never watch basketball at all are filling out NCAA brackets?”

Rose went on to reference the gambling aspect of ‘March Madness’ and its appeal to the common fan.

“Why are they filling out those brackets? Fun? Interesting? They’re doing it to bet. They’re doing it for money,” Rose said. “So as a player, you now have equity. If they decided and band together and said, ‘We’re not performing tonight. We want to make a statement.’ Do you think reform would start happening real fast? I do.”

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The biggest issue with Rose’s idea is that he’s assuming every player in the NCAA tournament is destined for a future career in the NBA. That’s demonstrably untrue. Many student athletes use their basketball scholarship to actually get an education to pursue a career other than sports. What kind of terrible teammate would be willing to selfishly boycott a tournament and ruin a basketball moment for someone who may never play in the pros?

The other problem with the idea that all college athletes are being supremely wronged by the NCAA is that nobody’s forcing them to attend school. Several recent NBA players have opted to go the route of playing professionally in an overseas league while waiting to become NBA-eligible. It’s not easy but is an alternative.

As passionate as Rose evidently is about the subject, there’s virtually a zero percent chance of it ever happening.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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