CM Newton knows a thing or two about college basketball and college athletics. The 83-year-old coached at Alabama from 1968 to 1980, coached at Vanderbilt from 1981 to 1989, and served as Kentucky’s athletic director from 1989 to 2000.
With that background, it might surprise a few to learn that Newton has long been a proponent of starting the college basketball season later… after the college football season:
“If I were the czar of basketball, I’d move it into one semester and take all the rule books out. Move it into the second semester, and the guy’s got to come in and pass 14 hours or whatever the academic credit before he ever gets to play. If you do that, you don’t need test scores or clearinghouses or worry about out-of-season practices or any of that stuff. Just throw the rule book away.”
Now, throwing the rule book away isn’t going to happen. Moving the start of basketball season to January won’t happen, either, but both are interesting ideas. Starting the season later might help increase the sport’s popularity at a time when television networks are paying bank-breaking sums for football, a sport that easily trumps college basketball viewership.
One reason the season won’t be moved is indeed television. Televised coverage of golf to be specific. “I was part of negotiating the most recent contract with CBS,” Newton told Al.com. “I don’t know why we couldn’t use The Masters to lead into basketball rather than vice versa. Yeah, April Madness.”