Tuesday, March 18, 2003

March Madness could be delayed by war



By MARK ALESIA
The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS - After watching President Bush's speech Monday night, NCAA President Myles Brand said basketball tournament games could be delayed by war, although no decision has been made.

"They might, but on the other hand I think we should be very careful not to let Saddam Hussein control our lives," Brand said. "We have to balance those. We have to show respect and concern for our men and women in uniform. At the same time, we also want to make sure we don't let our lives be taken over by a tyrant."

The NCAA tournament is scheduled to start Thursday at four sites, including the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The women's tournament starts Saturday. Bush said in his speech that military action could begin as soon as Wednesday.

Brand watched Bush's speech with the rest of the panel and audience at a forum on sportsmanship that was televised live locally.

In an interview after the forum, Brand said the NCAA is communicating with the Department of Homeland Security for guidance, and that the logistics of postponing games isn't easy.

"Some are more complicated than others," Brand said. "You're thinking of the (Division I men's basketball) tournament, probably.

"But the fact is, we have many championships going on. And we're going to have to worry not just about those high-visibility, network-produced championships, but also the championships in other sports.

"There's a lot going on, and it makes it very complicated."

Brand said he'll make the decision with a lot of input.

"We'll be consulting with the federal authorities and security officers and our network partners, and we'll have to arrive at a position that makes sense for the NCAA," Brand said.

"One key point that I really want to emphasize is that we're going to put foremost the safety of student-athletes and fans. And under no conditions would we waver on that."




COMPLETE NCAA TOURNAMENT COVERAGE
Special NCAA hoops section; Bracket contest

UC BEARCATS
It's more than a Bearcats game
No. 24 Arkansas thinking big
UC out to prove naysayers wrong
Varsity Village gets $10M from Fifth Third

XAVIER
Xavier now the hunted

KENTUCKY
No. 1 ranking increases ante for UK to win it all
Norse win on putback

NCAA TOURNAMENT
March Madness could be delayed by war
Pressure and expectations smother winning coaches
Ohio State suspends Williams
BYU's no-Sunday stance could cause NCAA shuffle
Little Mo leads underdog Bulldogs vs. Sooners
Blue Devils to stick with perimeter lineup
Gators need answers quickly
Bobby Knight's son applies for Wright State job
Spirit of Valvano lifts Whittenburg
Tigers learn of bid while on 12-hour bus ride
Asheville gets a whiff of the bigtime

OTHER COLLEGE HOOPS HEADLINES
NIT: Iowa 62, Valparaiso 60
UCLA fires Lavin