March 27, 2005

Tournament Time-Wasting: King Calls Bullshit

One of my favourite sporting events happens at this time of year. So far I haven't written anything about the NCAA basketball tournaments, but why shouldn't I? The NCAA is probably the world's last bastion of stupid amateur status regulations. It is also the main development system for high-performance Olympic athletes in the U.S. I plan to spend some time digging into the "big picture" of NCAA sports in the future, but writing about individual outcomes or teams is not really in keeping with the spirit of this blog.

Recently, though, one of my favourite sportswriters did a story that I thought I would pass along. Every year at this time somebody calculates how much productivity is going to be lost due to the men's and women's basketball tournaments. The papers usually run this story without any critical thought, under headlines like "Estimated $889.6 million lost watching TV, Webcasts of NCAA." Last week King Kaufman at completely dismantled the analysis that went into the calculation.

It warms my heart.

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