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All-Inclusive NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Last month, many collegiate governing bodies, announced they would postpone fall sports. The NCAA announced all Division I fall sports championships would be pushed to the spring, and conferences such as the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Ivy League also followed suit.

Some conferences, such as the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 have pushed on with football this fall. The fate of winter sports, however, remains in the air. On Wednesday, however, there was one suggestion that has some impressive endorsement and has gained momentum.

Men’s basketball coaches in the ACC are pushing for the NCAA to host an all-inclusive men’s basketball tournament for the 2020-21 season. The plan is reportedly unanimously agreed upon by the ACC’s men’s basketball coaches and has been publicly announced by coaches such as Duke’s Mike Kryzewski, Louisville’s Chris Mack, and Virginia Tech’s Mike Young. The plan calls for each of the 357 Division I programs to participate in the tournament.

According to Yahoo Finance, the tournament essentially funds the NCAA, with more than $1 billion in revenue between television contracts and ticket sales. CBS and Turner Broadcasting have a $10.8 billion deal for the broadcasting rights of the tournament through 2024, It’s unclear what alterations have been made due to the cancellation of the tournament this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

The new plan has drawn plenty of critique on social media, radio, television and other media forms. And with the help of Social Studio’s listening summary, we can get a picture of that conversation.

A search of “NCAA and Tournament,” as well as “NCAA and Tourney” yielded more than 12,000 social media posts. And the biggest influencer, with a score of 97, is ESPN personality Jay Bilas. With his 1.9 million followers, Bilas’ score is primarily because of his retweeting of the news by colleague Jeff Goodman at Stadium:

Overall, it appears that many are in favor of the proposal by the ACC coaches. According to Social Studio’s sentiment analysis, 63.1 percent of posts on social media have been positive. This provides a good gauge, though it’s important to remember that the analysis does not account for such factors as slang and sarcasm.

A look at the word cloud generated by Social Studio also supports the likelihood of most social media posts favoring the proposal:

It’s unclear where the proposal goes from here, including a timeline. The NCAA’s board of governors would need to approve any such motion. It is important to note that NCAA  President Mark Emmert has publicly been against expanding the current, 68-team field. According to ESPN, he said last month, “Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that’s a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you’ve got to figure out those logistics. There’s doubtlessly ways to make that work.”

The conversation surrounding the NCAA Tournament doesn’t appear to be subsiding any time soon. We’ll continue to monitor that and plenty of other conversations using the tools of the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.