March Madness is just around the corner. It is one of the most impressive sports tournaments in America, filled with the deepest possible schools of the tournament, shining NBA prospects on the biggest stage of college basketball and endless dramatic endings that can hardly please even the fans. Hour after hour of television.
But as is usually the case, there are always some people out there who, even in the best of circumstances, find ways to complain about small things. Andscape writer Mia Berry has fulfilled that role in her part for the infamous race-biting website.
The article attempts to shed light on how the HBCU teams that made up the tournament did not get too many seeds (eight years ago Hampton University got 12-seeds in the women’s tournament, the highest for an HBCU), and how this is a clear disrespect. At HBCU.
“I don’t think we should play Baylor, to be honest with you,” Robert Jones of Norfolk State told MEAC Coach of the Virginian-Pilot. “I don’t understand what we need to do to get more than 16 seeds. If you’re going to put us as a 16, you might just put us in the first four. At least you can make the experience longer and better, which is what we plan to do. “
As a 15-seed in 2012, it was ridiculous from the coach of a program that caused a first-round crash in Missouri in March Madness.
But no matter how this event, or any other low-seeded HBCU program in this tournament, performs, the truth of the matter is that unfavorable seed sowing is not a sign of disrespect. This is a reflection of the fact that HBCUs cannot play in competitive conferences and the result is worse seeds.
The five conferences that HBCUs participate in at Division I and Division II levels, and the two D1 conferences that send teams to this year’s tournament – from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to Norfolk State and from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (Texas) Both were ranked incredibly low in terms.
At the start of the season, SWAC and MEAC were ranked 30th and 31st of all 32 conferences in Division One, respectively, with the best teams from both conferences ranking 208th out of 358 teams nationwide (Prairie A&M SWAC took that place). In such a one-bid conference, it is not surprising that even the strongest parties of the week’s conference get such unfavorable seeds.
The bottom line is that HBCUs are not being deliberately ignored by the NCAA selection committee, and they do not deserve better seeds unless they strengthen the status of their conferences and programs. The seed is not sown based on your school history, it is based on how you played that year.
And it has to be this way.