Big South drops ball by moving tourney to Buies Creek

col-tbuzz-2It’s time for March Madness, and all eyes in this corner of the college basketball world turn to … Buies Creek, NC: Population 2,215 (Saall-ute!).

That’s right, Big South Conference basketball fans; the road to the NCAA Tournament leads through this wide spot on the road where the most exciting thing to do is go to the local barbershop and watch a haircut. But not this week, when the Big South Conference moves its biggest (and really only) national event to Campbell University’s Gore Arena/Pope Convocation Center – the 3,000-seat home of the Fighting Camels and now the host site of the Big South Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.

It didn’t have to be this way. The Big South was slated to hold its marquee event at perhaps its marquee venue and host city – Coastal Carolina’s new HTC Center and the Grand Strand – for the fourth consecutive year. The location was not only beneficial to the Chanticleers, who won the last two league’s tournament and automatic bid to the Big Dance in front of a home crowd; it was also great for the league’s profile and for the fans who spent their spring break at the tournament.

But Coastal Carolina’s decision to leave the Big South and join the Sun Belt Conference proved to be the deal-breaker. League by-laws say exiting members cannot host league championships, so the Chants had to give up the Big South basketball and baseball tournaments. Or more accurately, the Big South decided to uproot the events and relocate them to less attractive locations that will do more damage to the league’s second-rate image than it will come remotely close to hurting Coastal.

Sure, the Chants would love to play in front of a supportive home crowd and enjoy the benefits of sleeping in their own beds instead of the fine accommodations at the Microtel Inn & Suites in nearby Lillington, NC, the closest hotel to campus. The fans can enjoy a tour of the James Archibald Campbell House, the historic home of the school’s founder and the town’s No. 1 attraction according to TripAdvisor. There’s one golf course, about 99 fewer than on the Grand Strand, and dining options include a sandwich from Subway, or a sandwich from Quiznos. Decisions, decisions.

Fans and students of Big South schools had grown a little spoiled over the past three years by combining a trip to the tournament with a spring break getaway. The Grand Strand offers beaches, oceanfront resorts, and countless shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Now they will get to experience a Big South tourney that resembles the good old days when the league was forced to move the crowd on to one side of the cracker-box gym to make it look full for the TV cameras.

So the move wasn’t for the good of the conference, or its member schools, and definitely not for the fans. The switch was made for the sole purpose of trying to punish Coastal Carolina for its decision to leave the minor leagues for the next level. Why else would you choose to leave one of the country’s top vacation destinations for somewhere straight out of Mayberry RFD? It’s exactly the kind of thinking that has the Big South where it is today – near the bottom and sinking.

It’s a theme I wrote about two decades ago when Kyle Kallander took over as commissioner at a time when the Big South seemed to be losing members in droves. I said Captain Kallander was taking command just in time to oversee the demise of the league, a point he reminded me of the last time I saw him. While it’s true he has managed to keep the conference afloat, he has done so by expanding to some of the lowest levels of NCAA Division I, like Longwood, Gardner-Webb, and Presbyterian College.

Fine schools, but far from NCAA powerhouses. You can’t blame conference powers Coastal and Liberty for wanting to get out of a league that seems to be striving for mediocrity. And rather than allowing league members to vote on an exception for playing the tourney one more year in Conway, a move that would have benefited everyone involved with the possible exception of Campbell, the Big South decided to show its true colors and take another step back into sports shadows.

While the teams, fans and supporters will be the ones feeling the pinch during the tournament, the entire nation will get a look at the bush league event on Sunday when the championship game is aired live on ESPN2. It’s the Big South’s big chance each year to make a good impression, and the backdrop of Buie’s Creek will not help the league’s small-time image.

The good news for Coastal is it only has to deal with the Big South for a few more months. The rest of the sports world might not have to put up with it much longer either.

Comments

comments

Hoops: Braves top Knights; Bruins torch Panthers early

Hoops: Braves top Knights; Bruins torch Panthers earlySouth Florence came out firing on all cylinders to blast [more]

Winter Bump serves boost to area volleyball, economy

Winter Bump serves boost to area volleyball, economyTo casual observers, the 2019 Winter Bump volleyball tournament might [more]

CAC sends six swimmers to podium at Tiger Invitational

CAC sends six swimmers to podium at Tiger InvitationalThe Clemson Aquatic Team (CAT) hosted their 2019 Tiger Invitational [more]

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestones

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestonesThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach basketball programs celebrated a [more]

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

CCU makes another poll; free clinic postponed

CCU makes another poll; free clinic postponedThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

Hoops: Braves top Knights; Bruins torch Panthers early

Hoops: Braves top Knights; Bruins torch Panthers earlySouth Florence came out firing on all cylinders to blast [more]

Winter Bump serves boost to area volleyball, economy

Winter Bump serves boost to area volleyball, economyTo casual observers, the 2019 Winter Bump volleyball tournament might [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach