What had been rumored for a while finally came officially true yesterday. Penn State has pulled out of the 76 Classic. While this is disappointing news, Brian Siegrist, the SID, did offer an explanation on twitter. The full statement from his twitter paraphrased below:
Ah, the blogosphere. Contrary to recent posts, PSU’s decision not to play in the 76 Classic had nothing to do with last season’s record, nor was it decided by the tournament organizers. PSU elected not to play in the tournament back in December and notified 76 organizers then. It just took them this long to update their website. PSU is taking a lesson from Minnesota, which played in last year’s 76 and went 1-3 while playing four games in six days and crossing 5,000 miles, including going straight from Classic to ACC Challenge at Miami. The Lions decided against the 3 games in Anaheim, the last of which could be Sunday evening, and then return for a possible ACC game on Monday or Tuesday in State College.
You can read a full in-depth response from Brian over at BSD, as Mike took the initiative to find out what the rational was. And to me, it makes perfect sense. I would rather not have our schedule hang in the hands of ESPN. If you haven’t noticed, they don’t give a fuck about anything other than themselves and their money. Case in point: the 2009 flex game (against Illinois) at the end of the schedule left us with a 9PM tip home tip on Thursday and a 2PM tip on the road @ Iowa just 36 hours or so later. Did we really need to play at 9 PM on Thursday night? Yes, because ESPN said so. Did the late game Thursday have a jetlag effect on the players in Iowa City? You betcha.
Everyone is acting like we are giving up on ‘tough’ competition, but when you actually look at the 76 classic field, you’ll realize it’s really not what they crack it up to be. Depaul and Cal-Northridge are garbage. Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are all losing their best players. The only teams sure to be solid are UNLV and VT, and we’re already scheduled to play the latter anyway.
In fact, I’d even argue there are better squads in the pool of schools who have yet to be linked to an exempt tournament (check out bloggingthebracket’s compilation thus far). Penn State made this decision back in December, so I’d say there’s still a great chance we’ve landed in another exempt tournament. Even if we didn’t, though, who really cares? There are so many of these tourneys these days that the ‘exposure’ gained is minimal at best. PSU is not going to be in one of the premiere fields, so we’re not going to be on television (example: 2009 Charleston Classic).
This would only be a disappointing move if the rest of schedule to replace the 76 Classic were Bryant University, NJIT, and Fordham. Since we don’t know that as of now, there is no reason to be upset over this (unless you had already made plans to attend). No judgments can possibly be made about the schedule until it is released . Unless, of course, you hate Ed DeChellis and are praying the program fails, despite your empty blanket statements such as: ‘he’s a nice guy’ or ‘a good ambassador to the university’. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical about the schedule (see the last 7 compiled), but let the guy at least attempt to do his job before you criticize.