Think of the NCAA as a spirit squad, unless you get dumped from the NCAA tournament. New Mexico State lost in overtime to San Diego State, of last evening’s final game, which started an hour late and finished around 10:30pm PT. Media commitments extended the time commitment until after 11:00pm PT. Instead of staying overnight in Spokane, the NCAA forced the Aggies to take an immediate flight home, which left after 2:00am PT.
The team, which had just played a basketball game, were not provided with refreshments.
Compounding the problem, the NCAA sent only one bus to pick New Mexico State’s party up at the airport, forcing some to wait for hours while the bus turned around to make a round trip. Many did not arrive until 8:00am PT the next morning.
SDSU coach Steve Fisher, whose team would have been on that flight had they lost, ripped the NCAA over the decision.
“We can say we want to do all these things for the benefit of the student athletes, but you play a game like we did tonight and you get to the airport at 1 in the morning? Come on, come on. I would like to have (an NCAA administrator) at every site and say, ‘You’re going to ride home with that losing team.’ And see what it’s like to get home at 5 in the morning.”
Not a great look for the NCAA. One would presume some of the money the organization does not spend paying the entertainers for the billion-dollar basketball tournament could at least be put toward housing them for night.
[USA Today Sports]