So, who was the ACC’s scout this season? Did he vote for or against Virginia Tech? What did he say about Virginia Tech in the room? Who was the scout for Conference USA? What did he say that got UAB into the field? Is the scout for the Big Ten being given a “man-of-the-year” award by Comissioner Jim Delany for somehow getting seven teams into the field?
In an e-mail response to two questions directed to Smith on Monday — who was assigned to the ACC this season and who voted for and against Virginia Tech? — NCAA spokesman David Worlock wrote that the committee does not release the results of any vote taken or who scouts which conference but did—at great length—explain all the information that is available to the committee members.
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The committee has an absolute right to get it wrong. No one is perfect, although it doesn’t appear anyone in power cares about improving the committee’s basketball IQ. This summer, Smith and Morrison will be replaced by two men who have never been Division I coaches. That means there will be zero ex-coaches on next year’s committee.
What the committee does not have the right to do is act as if honest answers regarding the selection process would somehow jeopardize national security. It is worth noting that the last thing the committee does Selection Sunday afternoon is prepare the chairman by agreeing on answers for the questions most likely to be asked. Saying Virginia Tech didn’t have enough votes isn’t an answer, though; it’s a dodge.
Anyone familiar with the term “Watergate” knows the cover-up is always worse than the crime. After the past week, Smith should know better than anyone. (See: Tressel, Jim).
Every year, several schools believe — often correctly — that their being left out of the NCAA tournament field is unfair. One can make the case even the most egregious omissions are mostly the results of honest mistakes.
But the refusal to be accountable for such mistakes is anything but honest. And there’s not an excuse for allowing it to continue.