NE10 needs to change tournament scheduling

Matt GadSports Writer

Friday night the NE10 Tournament opened for basketball, but there was one problem: the Owls had one team playing at home and one team on the road out of the state, playing a first-round game at Merrimack in upstate Mass. Sure, with a better record the women could have also been awarded a coveted home game, resulting in an NE10 First Round doubleheader at Moore Field House, but that just was not the case.

The first two rounds of the conference tournament have both the men’s and women’s brackets playing do-or-die March basketball on the same night and at the same time.

A similar situation happened in soccer this past fall, with the men’s and women’s teams, except both teams were able to play their opening games of their respective NE10 Tournaments on the same day, with one in the afternoon and one at night.

Yes, when it comes to the semifinals and the championship rounds of the tournament, men and women’s basketball will not have a crossover, but even for the early rounds, the stacking of games seems unnecessary and inconvenient.

Why not have one tournament start on a Thursday night, for example, with the other one on Friday? There are players on each team that may want to watch their friends and now they are unable to since these games are happening simultaneously. You could have an NE10 advisory panel on this issue with just basketball head coaches Scott Burrell, Kate Lynch, as well as soccer coaches Adam Cohen and Tom Lang alone and the league would probably hear a lot of frustration for scheduling these games on the same day or night. To a minor extent, I understand the reasoning. Maybe to some schools, it does not really make much of a difference.

But when a school has both sets of squads in the conference playoffs, like what Southern is facing this playoff season, this entire situation can become a little irritating.

So the question here is pretty simple: why does the league choose to operate this way. Is there an advantage they have by doing things this way? I mean, what is the justification for having both tournaments start at the same time? Please NE10, enlighten the fans, because we really just do not get it.

If I could sit down and have a conversation with NE10 commissioner Julie Ruppert, I would just ask her what the reasoning behind all this is.

I think there should at least be a dialogue going on about why they can’t start one tournament on a Thursday night for the First Round and split up the Friday basketball slate. Fans and athletes alike would appreciate the change in playoff scheduling tradition.

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