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The NCAA refuses to get out of its own way, Example No. 23311

As we detailed yesterday, the NCAA is churning enough money these days to make the Sultan of Brunei green with envy. With an operating surplus (profit) of $61 million in fiscal year 2013 and $627 million in assets, the NCAA could hold the NCAA Tournament on Mars if it so desired. 

 Instead, the NCAA plays it in cities such as Spokane, Wash., where San Diego State and New Mexico State faced off last night. The game tipped at 6:57 p.m. Pacific Time and, two 20-minute halves, a million TV timeouts and one overtime later, it ended with a 73-69 Aztecs win at 10:34 p.m.

Following the game, San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher headed to his customary post-game press conference and petitioned the NCAA to allow the eliminated Aggies to stay the night in Spokane and fly home on Friday. A year ago, Fisher's Aztecs were jettisoned in the Round of 64 by Florida Gulf Coast, and it took them more than 10 hours to get home that night from Philadelphia to San Diego. Fisher didn't want New Mexico State to have to endure that. 

“New Mexico State has to do this,” Fisher said. “They didn’t want to go home, either. But they have to go home tonight. It’s disgraceful – for the billions of dollars that we have here, for them not to find a way to accommodate these kids, the student athletes. You can’t tell me they couldn’t find charter planes (Friday).

“We can say we want to do all these things for the benefit of the student athletes, but you play a game like we did tonight and you get to the airport at 1 in the morning? Come on, come on. I would like to have (an NCAA administrator) at every site and say, ‘You’re going to ride home with that losing team.’ And see what it’s like to get home at 5 in the morning.”

This axe has grinded at Fisher for a while (he did lead his press conference with it, after all) and had already spoken with the NCAA, but was told that there wouldn't be enough charter planes available on Friday. Because, apparently, the late tip-off was a surprise to the NCAA and it would have been impossible to plan ahead. Or something like that. 

Is a red eye from Spokane to Las Cruces a life-changing issue? No, but it is yet another example of the people on college campuses thinking more about the athletes' well-being than the folks at corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. 

By the way, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Aggies were still in Spokane as of 2 a.m. Friday morning.