SBD/Issue 47/Collegiate Sports

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  • Gazelle Group Launching Postseason College Basketball Event

    The Gazelle Group will launch in March the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), which will feature 16 teams not selected for the NCAA Tournament. The CBI will be a single-elimination event up until a three-game Championship Series in which the higher seed will have home-court advantage. Opening rounds are scheduled for March 18-19, with the final series on March 31, April 2 and April 4. TV arrangements will be announced when confirmed. The Gazelle Group produces the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic and the Legends Classic (Gazelle Group). Gazelle Group President Rick Giles said when conceptualizing the event, “We looked at who didn’t get into the NCAA tournament and who didn’t get into the NIT, and there were a bunch.” He “cited the decision by the NIT -- owned by the NCAA since 2005 as part of a settlement in a legal battle -- to reduce its field from 40 to 32 teams as one of the reasons for launching another tournament.” Giles said that “despite the NIT’s history of financial struggles, ... he was confident his group can create a financial model that works.” He noted, “We’re not a not-for-profit.” NCAA Senior VP/Basketball & Business Strategy and NIT President Greg Shaheen said that the NIT has “become profitable since the NCAA took over and called the proposed third tournament ‘part of the open-market environment.’” Giles noted that because the CBI is expected to conclude the week before the NCAA final, it “did not require NCAA approval” (L.A. TIMES, 11/15).

    Williams Says Decision To Spurn NIT For
    CBI Will Vary From School To School
    DIRECT COMPETITION: In Philadelphia, Dick Jerardi notes Gazelle “plans to compete with the NIT for teams.” Giles told the AP, “It would be unfair for us to wait, so we’re going to let the NCAA pick their field and then we’ll invite the 66th team, it wouldn’t be fair not to” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15).  Shaheen said that the NIT "isn’t planning any changes based on having a new rival.” Some college basketball officials speculated that there “could be a downside to accepting a bid from the new tournament. Because the NCAA controls the NIT, the officials wondered whether snubbing the NIT could hurt them in the NCAA selection process in future years.” Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams said that reaction to the new tournament will “likely vary from school to school depending on size and ambitions”(Baltimore SUN, 11/15).  

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