Syracuse Basketball: Combined men’s, women’s Final Fours is intriguing

Back in 2016, the Syracuse basketball men’s team and the Orange women’s program both made the Final Four. The women’s squad advanced to the national-title game, falling to Connecticut, while the men’s group was defeated in the national semi-finals at the hands of North Carolina.

Imagine if both ‘Cuse teams were playing at the same site? I’m sure this could prove somewhat tricky from a logistical standpoint, but it would be cool nonetheless.

A report recently released by New York-based law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP has made a bunch of recommendations to NCAA officials, including having the men’s and women’s Final Fours at the same location, according to a story by The Associated Press that got published on ESPN’s Web site.

Per The AP article, “With respect to women’s basketball, the NCAA has not lived up to its stated commitment to ‘diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators,’” the report found.

This finding is not surprising, because as I’ve said many, many times, the NCAA is an incompetent, shameful organization, and I wish that it would just go away as soon as possible.

The Syracuse basketball women’s team and its peers deserve better from the NCAA.

I am the first to acknowledge that the men’s Big Dance brings in boatloads of cash, much more than the women’s March Madness, but this means NCAA officials have to work harder to bring more equity to the sport of college basketball. There is no excuse.

One key finding from the report says that the NCAA’s current structure in place is “designed to maximize the value of and support to the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as the primary source of funding for the NCAA and its membership.”

You know that saying, never put all your eggs into one basket? Well, I get that the men’s tourney generates substantial revenue, but the NCAA, if it even remains in existence, cannot be so reliant on this one revenue stream. It’s unhealthy, unsustainable and has created too many problems.

Some head coaches quoted in The AP story said they aren’t convinced that combining the men’s and women’s Final Fours will work, but they’re open to discussing it further.

To that end, the report said that having the two Final Fours at the same site “would allow for better cross-promotion of the events and for sponsors to be involved in each tournament,” according to The AP.

After the report’s release, the NCAA board of governors and two NCAA women’s basketball committees issued statements that, frankly, are just public-relations talk. They didn’t say much of consequence, whatsoever. Let’s see how this all pans out in the future.