College Hockey News talked with NCAA men's ice hockey committee chair Bill Bellerose about the decision to switch the number 3 seeds in this year's NCAA tournament bracket.
To sum it up...
"It was not really (travel costs)," Bellerose said. "As it turned out, it helped (that), but when you look at the whole package, it was a) student-athlete experience, b) playoff atmosphere, and c) cost."
Granted, this is taking Bellerose at his word, when better judgement would suggest this was more about a money-grab, or at least a money-not-give-so-much-away, but really? Student-athlete experience and playoff atmosphere?
There's two sides to this coin. First, it is annoying to see western teams that play in full buildings--and occasionally Sullivan Arena--all year long have to play the biggest game of their season at 4pm on a weekday in front of 25 people inside a dead arena in Albany.It's certainly far from ideal.
On the other hand, congratulations Bemidji State. We wanted to reward you for earning a number two seed in the tournament by giving you the student-athlete experience of playing a virtual road game in a playoff atmosphere. I'm sure the Beavers are grateful.
But if you're not cynical, and believe the NCAA truly values these things, is there any possibility of someday letting the number one seeds host regionals at their own arena? That would guarantee a better atmosphere than just about any regional site, and make sure a team that deserved it got that advantage. I know a lot of rinks are not up to NCAA standards for hosting this type of thing, but I can't believe that some of the current regionals are doing that well either, as evidenced by a lot of the same uninspiring locales popping up as hosts year after year when no else wants to host. It's something to think abou if the NCAA is really serious about student-athlete experience and playoff atmosphere.