College basketball. You can't find it in the dictionary, but you can find it in Wikipedia: "College basketball is the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)." That might be what it is, but it's not totally accurate and certainly not what it means either.
The Mid-Majority is harder to find and even harder to define. The world's foremost reader-moderated site doesn't even have an entry for us, and the "mid-major" entry hasn't been updated in so long that the WAC is listed among the best of college basketball's other conferences, which is not quite so true anymore, given its impending implosion.
So what does the Mid-Majority mean?
You have to start with where it was to find what it has become.
In 2004, the site's creator, Kyle Whelliston, set out on a quest to watch 100 college basketball games. Not just any games, games featuring teams from the less glamorous conferences that don't have regularly-scheduled primetime games on the Worldwide Leader. Members of these conferences do not have the vast resources of those that play big-time American football do, even if they are no good at it. These schools reside beneath the Red Line
The Red Line is drawn between conferences that spend more than $20 million dollars on their athletics programs and more than $2 million on their basketball programs. These conferences above the Red Line currently include the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC, Pac 12, Mountain West, and Conference USA. There have been teams that were once exceptions to this line, that were exiled above the line like Gonzaga and Xavier. They are once again part of the Mid-Majority, whether they like it or not.
Kyle retired from the road in 2011. The grind of attending 100 games a year will tear you apart mentally, physically and financially
. Because in the end, the game will hurt you
. Only one team reaches it's ultimate goal every season. For 346 others, they will fall short of a national championship. Their season always ends in a loss.
Yes, this outlook seems all doom-and-gloomy. But it shouldn't be. Life is a journey, and should be enjoyed as such. This site encourages folks to step away from what is comfortable and embrace new experiences. I'm a graduate of Butler University
(and strangely enough, hold a graduate degree from their new/old arch-rival, Xavier). In my opinion, there isn't a greater place to watch college basketball than Hinkle Fieldhouse. But watching the same team in the same building can get monotonous.
Watching and reading about different teams can broaden your horizons. I've driven two and a half hours to watch a game between two teams
just trying to qualify
for their conference tournament. Who knew there was a Division I team that plays in a building called the Buc Dome
that doesn't even seat 1,000 people? Who knew there was this dreadlocked
player playing in the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky that would take the NBA by storm?
Now, the writing has become a team effort. This season, there are six teams of five writers each criss-crossing the nation attending basketball games that most national sports writers wouldn't go to even with the help of GPS. Not to go all hipster on you, (even though admittedly the site does provide a hipster vibe), we find all the teams and players that will be stories come March. The teams and players that will bust your bracket (not that you should
fill one out ahead of time).
The team approach works for the devot followers of the site. Yes, we all have our favorite teams and hated rivals. However, when March comes around and the number of teams whose dreams are still alive dwindle rapidly, everyone becomes a collective to cheer on the remaining teams. All of Us, Each of Us
is the popular rallying cry, as we continue to hope that for once, for one team under the Red Line, it won't end in a loss.
So don't worry about what games in November will do to your team's tournament chances in March. Almost everyone gets a second chance in Championship Fortnight
. Enjoy the journey of the season. Go to a game that you have no rooting interest in. The original premise
of the site is that any game between two evenly matched teams with reasonable levels of talent will provide a completely entertaining basketball experience, regardless of league or level. If not, there are cheerleaders, dance teams, bands, bizarre halftime acts and crazy fans to provide entertainment.
So welcome proud brothers and sisters, do not fret. The club is open.
(thanks to Kenny Ocker
who contributed to the article)