Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good News and Bad from Big Sky Meetings

Well, there was good news and bad out of the Big Sky Conference annual meetings this week. The good news: the conference announced today that it is sticking with six-team tournament fields for both the men's and women's basketball post-season tournaments.

The bad news: the conference is going to Friday-Saturday night rotations for conference games in both men's and women's basketball.

Keeping the post-season tournaments at six teams apiece means there will continue to be more meaningful games for more teams later in the season. That's probably the most important news to come out of the meetings, where the league presidents considered -- and passed -- a raft of cost-cutting proposals.

The second most important news was the decision to play conference games on Fridays and Saturdays, rather than the current Thursday-Saturday setup, with the exception of trips that include Flagstaff, Ariz. The league tried this approach for a season earlier this decade, and the negative response from coaches was almost universal. The requirement to play on Friday night, then get up and travel the next day and play again that night reduces rest and game preparation time, and makes it much more difficult for road teams to compete. All of that to eliminate a total of three extra days on the road for each school.

While the league claims in its release today that it sampled both coaches and players and got positive response to the Friday-Saturday rotation, there is a reason the league dropped it after just one year when they tried it for the 2001-2002 season. I don't remember one player or coach endorsing the concept after they tried it that season.

Other cost-savings measures to pass included: no air travel allowed for trips of less than 450 miles; reducing post-season tournaments in volleyball and tennis from six teams to four; and limiting travel parties in basketball to 17 coaches, players and administrators. Measures that were defeated included reducing travel parties in soccer, football and volleyball; and eliminating the men's basketball game of the week on Altitude Sports.

--Brad B.

And thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.

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