Congratulations to Farleigh Dickenson University who will represent the Northeast Conference in the NCAA Tournament thanks to an archaic NCAA rule.
The Knights are tournament-bound after losing to Merrimack in the Northeast Conference tournament championship game, Tuesday night.
Merrimack is in the middle of its NCAA-mandated four-year transition period for schools reclassifying from division-two to division-one. Rules dictate that Merrimack is not eligible for any NCAA championship competition until 2024.
As usual, the NCAA is defending it’s ridiculous rule as one that is designed to allow schools making the jump to division-1 time to elevate their program to division-1 standards. This has more to do with facilities and scholarships than it does the quality of the team.
As usual, when the NCAA is involved, it’s the student-athlete who suffers. The university will exchange short-term pain for long-term gain, but what’s the value in denying a team an opportunity to play in the most high-profile college basketball tournament on the planet?
The rule puts the conference in the difficult position of deciding whether or not to allow Merrimack to participate in the conference tournament. The conference chose to allow Merrimack to play because it’s the only post-season opportunity the team will have during this stretch.
Only in the NCAA is the team that loses, rewarded.