CHICAGO, February 1 -- Hi. I'm Kyle. In November 2004, we started a website called The Mid-Majority, one of the web's very first independently-organized, regularly-updated sites about college basketball. It evolved into a place where we could document the experience of small-college hoops, and thoughtfully consider and resist the angry idiocy of sportz
. Along the way, we wrote a lot of books, slept in a lot of cars, sewed and mailed out a lot of stuffed basketballs, introduced a lot of now-forgotten catch-phrases, sang a lot of songs, believed a lot that we will win, drank a lot of horchata, made countless friends and enemies, and distorted a lot of American sports reality for our own amusement.
For nine years, TMM has always had to be a product of the continuous present. Beginning each November, there are fresh matchups every single night, a constant stream of outstanding performances and highlights and statistics to ponder, the league standings never stop churning, and by the time it's all over in March nobody has the energy to make sense of everything (besides: baseball). We said back in 2009 that everything's different now
, but the truth is that everything is different all the time
. Our Game doesn't afford us much time to pause and reflect.
We're going to give it a shot. 2013-14 will be the final season of The Mid-Majority, and we'll spend much of it reflecting on what's already happened. Not necessarily a self-congratulatory victory lap for ten years' worth of TMM (which, in the rush of internet time, will be pretty much forgotten by 2015), but rather the 118 years of this bizarre athletic contraption that attempts to balance young-adult education, fair play and high commerce... and often fails badly. As always, our angle on things will be from the perspective of the have-lesses, instead of the haves.
Season X: The Reliquary
Our final season will primarily be penned by three writers, none of whom will be me. Exclusivity will ensure that TMM once again has a clear and consistent "voice," like in the old days.
WRITER 1: THE TRAVELER. Will travel around as much as possible capturing the sights and sounds of Hoops Nation, in classic site tradition, just like always. The only differences will be that he/she will be tasked with giving extra historical perspective to game recaps (blending in stories of teams and players who came before), and will be encouraged to ask schools for media credentials (TMM qualifies for the NCAA Tournament under the 100-games rule).
WRITER 2: THE HISTORIAN. Will provide periodic longform essays about the history of college basketball's longshots and underdogs, notable players, unknown teams and important moments that changed everything. Will come up with their own story ideas (which will all be really good), will be encouraged to set up interviews with subjects, and can write from home.
WRITER 3: THE ANALYST. Will contribute near-daily analysis, always seeking to place current occurrences in a historical perspective. We're hoping to bring back concepts like Baller of the Week, Game! Of! The! Night!, daily facts and trivia. A knowledge of modern possession-based statistics very much required.
All three Season X writers will be trusted to edit their own stories. Because we will not take a risk on somebody we don't know well, especially at this late hour, these three roles will be filled by people who are taking part in Season 9, contributed mightily to Season 8, or those whose writing we know and respect. (We'd prefer that at least one of the three writers be female.)
Do you want to be one of these three writers? Form™ us.
(Oh, and another thing: you will be paid. More about that below.)
There will be ample opportunity, also, for all others to contribute to a special section. We will solicit game recaps (whether in the form of writing, photo essays or video) from anybody with a Bally Club card past or present. We'll reach out to sports information directors to find students interested in writing oral histories of their teams, and we'll ask student sections to describe their traditions and gameday rituals for all to see. Readers will be able to "vote up" entries to the front page, and all entries will be recorded for posterity.
Supporting Season X
In the past, we've only offered one Membership level and price, which has limited our support pool somewhat. This will change for Season X, when we will have three distinct levels of support. (2014, by the way, is an Olympic year
BRONZE - $33: All proceeds from the Bronze level will be equally divided between the three writers, and distributed in five payments (Dec 1, Jan 1, Feb 1, Mar 1 and Apr 1). The more Members get on board, the more the writers will be paid, the higher their motivation will be, and the site will be the better for it.
SILVER - $66: The Silver level will include $33 that will go to the three writers (see above), and also over $33 worth of merchandise: a year of Basketball State, the final 2014 bracket/calendar, and a
2013-14 College Basketball Prospectus*. * Because of the closing of BBP, we will instead be putting together a special, full-color, short-form "graphic novel" featuring our beloved mascot. It will be called Basktball Friends Forever, will bring closure to all cartoon-related storylines from the last nine years.GOLD - $100: The top tier of support will include $33 for the writers (see above), all the merchandise from the Silver level, plus a special personalized thank-you package from me that will include a handwritten letter of thanks and something from the TMM Swag Closet that I think you would like. Gold Members will be the ones helping to keep the site running on a technical level, so it also includes special recognition on the site: your name, plus a special message (no swearing or supergrandstanding, please) that will appear in the SuperTicker rotator all throughout Season X.
Ending in a Strangely Controlled MannerWe should let you know that some things about The Mid-Majority will disappear before Season X. Such as:
The Red Line. The use of a financial divider, which got us some attention for a while (mostly the undesired kind), will be eliminated at the end of Season 9, as will the @RedLineUpsets Twitter account. For Season X, if you're a writer or a reader, call it as you see it, define your own Red Line, and carry it fast in your heart. Morons who instigate pointless shouting matches about what a mid-major is or isn't will be roundly mocked and pilloried (as always).
Summer Camp. We tried to do daily posts during the summer in 2012, but there wasn't much response or excitement (see middle of second paragraph). We'll be free of new content from the day the last mid is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament until November 1.
The Scholarship Program. Fun while it lasted.
The Bally Club Message Board. C'mon, it's 2013. A message board?
We've already announced the end of the site, and we're obviously touched by the support and emotion on Twitter and via the Form™. But like some guy once said, "If it's a funeral, let's have the best funeral ever." This is going to be great.
And we've still got 14 months. We're glad we're able to end this site on our own terms, which is pretty much all we wanted all along. In the meantime, enjoy the remainder of Season 9, and find a college basketball game to attend. There's probably one in your area tonight.