Hello there, anonymous internet surfer. Congratulations on discovering this website! This is a website about college basketball. Real
college basketball. So if you were looking for something else that has to do with being middle or being a majority, you are in the wrong place. If you are looking for a website on the middle class representing the majority, this could however still be the college basketball website for you. This is because we represent the Other 24 as the other eight conferences dominate other websites as well as the mass media. About 70 percent of Division I teams are mid-majors, but a much more than 70 percent of the coverage focuses on schools in major conferences. We exist on behalf of the majority of college basketball, the mid-majors.
Also, if you came here looking for the Mid-Major Top 25
, you came to the wrong place. When I told the person sitting next to me at a Elon game last year about TMM, he thought we did that. But at The Mid-Majority, we focus on the experience of college basketball, and do not care about rankings. We did have the computer-based State of the Other 24 on here previously. This was derived from the State of College Basketball
on Basketball State, another website founded by Kyle Whelliston. But that is no longer on here either.
The Mid-Majority was founded by Kyle Whelliston in the Fall of 2004. Kyle does not want us to go into too much on the history of the website when he was a regular writer here, but it is hard to completely avoid the subject since the "Kyle years" laid the ground for the traditions of Mid-Majority readers and writers today. When Kyle started the website, he created a page of information on mid-majors since many smaller Division I schools did not at the time have a wealth of information on them available nationally. This information Kyle now posts on the previously mentioned separate site of Basketball State. But while doing this, Kyle decided to go to 100 games after having gone to over 80 games the year before. Kyle documented his progress and the experience of every game on here as the 100 Games Project, which would lay the framework for last season's 800 Games Project. Kyle began to become well-known enough that ESPN would hire him as their reporter on mid-major basketball. This allowed for Kyle to travel across the country as a member of the press and gain a stronger national following for this website. Kyle was now be able to attend the 2006 Final Four to cover George Mason for ESPN, and in future seasons would attend well over 100 games often times.
But in January 2009, the economy forced ESPN to cut Kyle's contributions and pay in half. In response, he wrote about the "Sports Bubble
" where the economy of major sports becomes unsustainable in an attempt to get even more money in spite of common sense. Despite trying to not be controversial or critical of ESPN, ESPN viewed Kyle's essay as threatening to its product. As a result, Kyle was fired and it would be up to donor support from his loyal readers as well as the monthly magazine Basketball Times
that Kyle also contributed for to keep TMM alive and well. For the next two years, Kyle continued to attend many mid-major basketball games and write about them. But in 2011, Kyle decided that his lifestyle during basketball season was taking a toll on him, and gave up traveling as well as being a regular writer on for the website he founded. And this is where we come in. Kyle decided that the best way to keep The Mid-Majority alive was to have the website's loyal readers become those who went to the games and wrote about them. The same concept started by Kyle on here remains here today.
And so you will see some of the same concepts and memes of the website that were started by Kyle still used by those who write here today. And I am sure that you, anonymous internet surfer, think we are talking in some strange jargon that goes beyond normal basketball talk. And that is because we are doing just that. So if you want to understand what we are saying, here are a few pointers for you. First, we are basketball people and do not like the Sports Bubble culture of what we call "American-style Football" (probably known to you as "football" if you live in the United States). We also have weird phrases and observations. One Saturday in February, we have what is known as ALLCAPSDAY. This is where we tweet EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS IN ORDER TO LOOK ANGRY AND LOSE FOLLOWERS. We make sure schools are Title R compliant, which stipulates every school must have a redhead on either the cheerleading squad or dance team. I noticed for example that a few members of Winthrop's dance team this year have colored their hair red to ensure compliance. This website has its own mascot in Bally, a cartoon talking basketball that has real life stuffed versions living with different readers across the country. We often make references to Tom Petty on here, and have an official alcoholic beverage in BLAPP and an official non-alcoholic beverage in horchata. Mid-major basketball is Our Game and we play in Hoops Nation. These are the big memes on here, although you can find other terms pop up from time to time. You can find a more complete list of terms from 2009
started by Kyle that we still use here.
But the most important part of Our Game that the mid-major basketball fan should know is the Red Line
. The Red Line is important because it shows where everybody is at in Division I sports, and helps makes the final determination of who is a mid-major and who is not. A conference that has its schools spending over $20 million on athletics with more than $2 million of that on men's basketball is over the Red Line and all of its schools are considered to be major conference schools that we do not cover. We call these schools "Above the Red Line". Much better than using an American-style football term (the BCS conferences) isn't it? These conferences currently above the Red Line are the ACC, SEC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC 12, Mountain West, and Conference USA. And all schools in conferences below this Red Line are mid-majors with no exceptions. These schools include previously excepted Gonzaga and Xavier as well as the conferences that often place a team in the first round, previously nicknamed the play-in game (and on here called the P.I.G.). And the Red Line and who is a mid-major and who is not is based on money as previously mentioned, not on results. Schools in the Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley may win often and have large followings, but their financial situation makes them more similar to weaker conferences like the Big South and Northeast rather than the major conference.
When a team from an Above the Red Line conference plays somebody from below the Red Line, the team whose conference is above it wins over 80 percent of the time. That shows you that despite what pundits elsewhere might say, we are still struggling for true parity in college basketball. When a team below the Red Line beats a team above it, it is a Red Line Upset. Even if it is a Missouri Valley team beating a Mountain West team, it is a victory for justice worth celebrating as a school in a conference with less money has overcome its financial disadvantages to win against a bigger opponent. And isn't that we all strive for living as an American? Yet like our American lives it seems to be getting more challenging to do this as the big schools continue to explore more money making options that our schools cannot afford to do. Likewise, it is possible to have one of our schools suffer a big upset by losing to a non-Division I school in what is known as a Black Line Upset. The big holy upset that is very rare (but has happened twice this year) is the Stendhal. This is when a non-Division I school beats a team above the Red Line.
So now you might be wondering, "Why should I care about the Red Line? Why should I try to decipher all of this jargon in reading about college basketball?" The reason for this and the existence of our website is that we are a unique website when it comes to covering sports. We do not do straight journalism in reporting what happened in each basketball game. We do not engage in writing opinionated prognostications about how good each team is and how the season will play out. We write about the experience of basketball and the meaning it has in our lives. Last season I attended 54 mid-major games and could find something in each game that could connect us to something bigger in our lives than just basketball. Each team represents a college, which represent its own unique community. This is what we go out and write about. The lives of the fans involved as well as the colleges all have challenges that can be compared to the struggles that we see on the court. This is what we strive for in the Mid-Majority community. We want to overcome the disadvantages in our own lives just like our schools are trying to overcome their disadvantages in becoming successful at basketball. A story like the Butler teams from 2010 and 2011 represents our dream of trying to become rich and famous, but yet still fall just short of our aspirations. College basketball is a great sport because it is played every day on a multiple number of levels that connect with each other and correspond to our desire for social mobility.
If you have gotten this far, anonymous internet surfer, you probably have an interest in what we do here at TMM. I know that some people do not like what they see in college sports. They see an exploitative system where schools chase money at the expense of the academic institutions that they serve. They see the athletes who care more about playing professional sports than going to class. Some writers on the internet see this as what college sports are all about
But what if there was a place where the problems of college sports did not exist as much, yet their teams still competed for the same championships as the big and powerful schools? That place is Hoops Nation. If you would like, stop watching sports television channels and please come below the Red Line and join us. It will change the way you view sports forever.