Once again, the NCAA rulebook is found to be flawed and illogical. This time to the expense of Bellarmine University and their proud Basketball program. Heading into Tuesday’s ASUN Championship game with Jacksonville, the Bellarmine faithful that because of an outdated and severely flawed rule that no matter what happened, the Knights would not be given the once and lifetime opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.
The reason why Bellarmine would not be allowed in the NCAA Tournament is both complicated and just as ridiculous as it may sound. Somewhere in the NCAA rule book, there’s a rule that states a program that makes the jump from D2 or below is not allowed to participate in the NCAA Tournament until four years later from the date the program joined D1 College Basketball.
That rule is such bs considering if a program is good enough to dominate at this level at such a young period, then why not let their student-athletes compete at the highest level in the NCAA Tournament. It makes ZERO sense. Yet again, it’s the NCAA, and nothing they do makes sense.
I mean, for every other program in the country, if they win their Conference Tournament, then a bid to the NCAA Tournament is automatic, but instead, the ASUN’s automatic bid is given to Jacksonville State, who won the regular-season title but lost early in the ASUN Tournament, and Bellarmine is heading to the NIT where the Knights have to settle for the second place Tournament despite being the Championship team.
Once again, the NCAA and their pathetic leadership are at the forefront of every conversation of College Basketball fans across the country; all things considered, is a pathetic show of leadership at the highest levels in College Athletics. Not sure where we go from here, but with Bellarmine leading the charge and others to follow, expect to see a new way of governing College Athletics coming sooner rather later.
For Bellarmine, as much as it sucks, the Knights still have an NIT Championship to play for, and the Knights are likely to host a game or two at Freedom Hall this March. There’s no comparison to the NCAA Tournament, and everybody is in agreement that the Knights were screwed over, but the future of Bellarmine Basketball is bright and filled with many more Championship celebrations for years to come.