For seven years, The Mid-Majority was about one man (and one stuffed basketball) roaming the countryside in search of the true meaning of college sports. In its eighth year, TMM was an epic group quest: 122 different writers chronicled 809 different games from coast to coast. But the work of this site is not finished, not even close.
A lot’s happened since the beginning of The Mid-Majority back in 2004. The invisible March ceiling for small-college basketball was smashed by George Mason, VCU and Butler, who all crashed the Final Four. Smaller Division I leagues went from having their scores reported two days late on websites to national TV coverage and internet live streams. If you want to follow the Horizon League, CAA and the Southern Conference in 2012, you can — seven years ago, it was virtually impossible unless you lived in the area. And it’s easier than ever to find people who’ll talk to you about this level of college hoops.
While these advances are certainly welcome, there has been an unwelcome side effect: gigantism. There is an increasing general compellance to make everything bigger: larger television contracts, an NCAA Tournament with a more sprawling bracket, more Corporate Champions, increased consolidation among the top conferences. This fever and swelling is primarily driven by the most highly-moneyed entities, the ones with the most to lose: the richest schools and conferences, the governing body, the contracted television networks… anyone that must have a higher percentage of the pie next year than this year, in order to please shareholders and stakeholders. In general, the solution of the rich to encroaching egalitarianism tends to be this: grow the pie so quickly that the poor can’t match the rate of growth, can’t keep up, can’t expand their share.
As college sports becomes more dead-eyed and corporate, mostly out of these certain necessities, the main victim is the very force that brought us to the gym in the first place. Where did the fun, the joy, the excitement go? The more one stops to consider the greed and selfishness and corruption and money underneath the surface, the more disheartening and repellant this whole thing is. Stop to consider that a Robot-driven team that generates National Basketball Association draft picks is the current holder of the National Championship. That’s no fun at all. It’s f****ng depressing.
In big picture terms, The Mid-Majority’s Season 9 will be a small collective effort to remind ourselves and others that college basketball is still a game. Our Game. We’re going to do this in a novel way: by imposing our own invented basketball game over the 2012-13 basketball season.
We Are, Together
Basketball is one of the greatest sports in the world because it challenges participants to balance the needs and desires of the individual with those of small group, within the context of generally friendly competition.
This autumn, we will divide the active readership into teams of five. There will be a captain for each team. In October, each captain will pick their team’s name and colors and logo, and each will be responsible for selecting four team members. If a team member drops out before the season is over, they can be replaced with a willing “free agent.”
Additionally, each team will have a "sixth man" — an actual mid-major basketball player whose statistics will be converted to points (via the NBA efficiency model) and added to each team’s score. A draft will take place on the night of October 31.
Teams will amass points by attending and recapping (in words and/or photos) games. Foursquare-style badges (with bonus points) will be awarded for team accomplishments such as seeing all teams in one conference, attending five games in one day, or attending three city rivalry games.
In addition, there will be weekly challenges to join, with even more bonus points available. Examples of these might be:
- Have a team member get a photograph taken of them with a mascot
- Research and write a short history of a college basketball program from at least two time zones away
- Attend and recap a women’s game
- Posting an Instagram of a two-point dunk shot (#omgdunx)
A Season 9 standings board will be automatically and constantly updated so that competing teams can see where they rank at any given moment. At the close of the season, each of the five members of the championship team will receive $100 and a Golden Bally.
Season 9 will occur. It will be fun.
It will begin on Thursday, November 1, 2012.
Any questions about Season 9? Would you like to be a team captain? Go ahead and contact us.