I got an interesting e-mail from John Kilgo today in regard to my Thursday column about the way CBS routinely sets late start times in the NCAA tourney for UNC and Duke.
Kilgo, for those new to our area, is one of the most respected men around in sports journalism and broadcasting. The Observer's Langston Wertz recently named him as the best radio sports broadcaster Charlotte has ever had. Kilgo now broadcasts Davidson games on the radio. He also co-authored Dean Smith's autobiography and has been close to the Tar Heels' basketball program for decades. I'm leaving a lot out of the bio, but in any event here's a lengthy excerpt from Kilgo's e-mail to me (he gave me permission to reprint it):
Hello Scott --
Enjoyed your column today. Here are a couple of points you might consider.
1. By putting Carolina on at 10 p.m., they are penalizing the No. 1 seed in the South. By playing so late, which means about a 3 a.m. bedtime, it puts the No. 1 seed at a competitive disadvantage for the Elite Eight game. Why is television allowed to render the rest of the season meaningless just so it can have bigger ratings?
If Carolina wins Friday, either Oklahoma or Syracuse, both lower seeds, will have a competitive edge. Completely unfair and should be unacceptable. At least Duke is not the No. 1 seed. It shouldn’t have the game-time advantage over the No. 1 seed in the region.
2. The colleges are to blame for this nonsense. They usually try to argue that television doesn’t set the times that teams play. You laid that lie to rest. The NCAA should grant television none of these powers. If CBS doesn’t want the tournament under fair and reasonable rules, then three other networks would be standing in line to take the games.
Why don’t the colleges learn from the Masters? They tell CBS which holes it can televise, what time it can come on, what announcers it can and can’t use, what sponsors are satisfactory and how many commercial minutes (four) it can run each hour. And they give CBS a one-year contract. CBS falls all over itself to renew each year under these far-reaching restrictions. It would react the same way for the NCAA tournament if the colleges ever grew a spine.
3. The CBS guy says his job is to get “the biggest ratings possible.” He.... can be expected to think that way. The whole purpose of the tournament should be to crown a national champion under the fairest rules and guidelines possible.... The colleges should be totally embarrassed for giving the network the power to influence the outcome of the tournament.