Busting Brackets

Let's Stop Ignoring The Problem And Fix College Basketball For All

Vanderbilt v Arkansas
Vanderbilt v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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There's Something To These

The core of this next set of changes is much needed, but maybe the details need fine tuned.

-NCAA agent certification restrictions
The NCAA requires that in order for a player to maintain eligibility after going through the NBA Draft process, they must hire an agent who has been certified by the organization. Yet, the stories of sleazy NIL agents simply taking the richest deal, rather than putting any thought toward fit, were prevalent this offseason. The NCAA needs to police this, and only allow communications with the athlete themself, a certified agent or a family member/former coach who is granted an exemption. Some of these NIL agents would never be hired by a professional athlete, but are able to fool nineteen and twenty-year-olds.

-Three game requirement for MTE
Multi-team events are the centerpiece of November in college basketball. Signature eight-team brackets in beautiful beach locales, from Maui to Charleston. The creation of four team MTEs for NIL may spell the end of what is often the only chance for quality mid-majors to play big-time opponents in the non-conference. A three game requirement, along with a continuation of the one-team-per-conference rule, forces a choice, an eight-team event with three mid-major teams or a four team round robin event. The rule could be taken even farther, and require eight teams to participate, thus eliminating the rinky dink at-home MTEs against low majors that teams like Duke and Kentucky continue to put on. But that would disadvantage low-major teams who can only get it those or create their own four-team events.

-Restrictions on NIL MTE participation
The NCAA already restricts off-season foreign trips to once every four years. Why not do something similar with the new MTE's meant to provide large NIL payments for their participants? It's a major question how these tournaments, like the new one in Las Vegas, will be profitable, which may limit how many can feasibly exist. A once-in-three-year restriction allows teams to cycle through, and with the above rule in place, provides an opportunity for a handful of mid-majors to become entrenched and start to benefit like their power conference brethren.

-Creative NIL payment schedules
Not really a rule so much as an option for NIL collectives. If you want to try to deter future transfers, then begin offering NIL agreements where the final payment (say 20%) is scheduled for the day after the transfer portal closes, but before the NBA Draft entry deadline, and only payable if the athlete is still with the program. Without any specific restriction put into place via collective bargaining, the practice is fully legal, so long as the player agrees to it in negotiations.

-Required road games
It's just not as fun for fans for the best teams to keep playing a massive amount of neutral site games. Just require every team to play at least one (it really should be two, but I'm not pushing it) road game in non-conference play, and stop the trend of every quality team insisting that they will only play Gonzaga in Seattle, rather than on their home floor. Plus, this should help to bring back regional rivalries, which are always a good thing.