If the BCS was a screwed up system, then please somebody tell me what system our friends up in Indianapolis are using for college baseball’s post season.
UK baseball coach Gary Henderson just finished off the school’s best ever baseball regular season with a 43-16 record, having been ranked No. 1 in college baseball for several weeks and in the top 5 or 10 for most of April and May by several reputable college baseball publications. The Wildcats also swept a three-game series from two-time defending NCAA baseball champion South Carolina early in the season, and followed that up with a 10-5 mark against top 10 teams as they worked their way through the regular season and set another school record by winning seven of 10 weekend series against SEC competition, which put eight teams into this year’s NCAA Div. 1-A baseball tournament.
Evidently, none of that impressed our friends up in Indianapolis at NCAA headquarters who oversee college baseball and establish the seeds, host sites and pairings of the post season tournament that starts everyone on the road to Omaha, Nebraska for the 2012 College Baseball World Series.
UK got a bid and invite to this year’s tournament, but they must travel to the cold north and then more than likely to the far west coast to earn a spot in Omaha.
Sixteen college baseball programs impressed the college baseball hierarchy or gurus at NCAA headquarters more than UK’s resume. Go figure.
Henderson and his players have to be crushed to have put up the numbers they did and not be rewarded for their efforts. Hopefully, after a day or so of reflection, Henderson’s crew will use this as a motivational tool and prove those responsible terribly wrong, if not embarrassingly irresponsible, by earning that first ever trip to Omaha for UK through Gary, Indiana, and then more than likely Oregon.
Monday afternoon, after the host sites were announced, in an interview with a few statewide media members Henderson was very blunt and forward with his com-ments on the NCAA selection process. “We got screwed,” said Henderson as he stood on Cliff Hagan Field preparing his team for a late afternoon practice.
The NCAA chairman of the selection process said on ESPNU after the pairings were announced Monday that a few schools (yet he only mentioned UK) were knocked out of the host sites because of their non-conference strength of schedule. With that rationale, one must think the two Louisville losses were the reason, but weren’t they one of the 64 teams invited to this special baseball prom? How damaging can that be? Surely losing only two games to Louisville after winning 21 straight non-conference games in a row couldn’t knock the Cats out of a host site. Maybe it was the lone loss to Murray State. No, please tell me one poorly played underachieving game out of 59 can’t justify taking a host site from a very deserving group of players.
Somebody please help me figure this one out, because in my eyes it’s a real head scratcher.
Maybe they’re trying to save what seems to be a slowly sinking ACC by giving them five host sites.
Maybe NCAA insiders are just plain jealous of the SEC and how it has become the dominant conference in most college sports. Oh yes, just hang on, Missouri and Texas A&M will raise the bar for SEC men’s basketball.
Maybe it’s that old philosophy of the NCAA is so mad at the UT football team they’re going to put the basketball team on probation. Don’t laugh. UK is the only SEC school to never play in the college baseball World Series, and it’s quite obvi-ous the NCAA can’t catch John Calipari with his hand in the cookie jar, so maybe it was a let’s-see-who-we-can-make-miserable scenario.
Again, don’t laugh or make a snide remark, because I’ve had both personal knowledge and working relationships with some of the most revenge-minded individuals in both high school and college athletics in my past professional life as a high school coach and A.D. Believe me, there are high-ranking people who thrive on getting even with those who contest them in both high school and college athlet-ics.
Maybe it was because of a reason most NCAA decisions are made on — seating capacity and/or THE GLUT of money. Nope couldn’t be that because the region UK was placed in at Purdue couldn’t use their own stadium due to its limitations for hosting an NCAA baseball site, so Purdue moved it to a semi pro field in Gary, Indiana, which I’m sure is a real field of dreams.
One thing is for sure, college baseball either has an inept system of declaring post season seeds and host sites or inept people in utilizing the system it has.
Regardless of the reason, UK was hosed. My suggestion to Gary Henderson and Mitch Barnhart is to figure out a way to beat Louisville and Murray State, and to be on the safe side and cut a deal with the Lexington Legends over at Whitaker Bank Ball Park and clear the calendar dates for the first weekend of the NCAA baseball playoffs in 2013.
Then we’ll all hold our breath on the next reason the NCAA comes up with.