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NCAA President Addresses Controversies In College Sports; Boeheim: Problem With NIL Is You Allow In "Boosters" Who Want To Win; McGraw: Disparity Between Men's And Women's Basketball Is "Huge". Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 14, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Yes. Michelle Obama opening up in a way she hasn't before, about her time, in the White House, promoting her third book, "The Light We Carry," which dives into how she's dealt with relationships, self-doubt, and anxiety.
The CNN PRIMETIME Special, "INSIDE THE MADNESS: BASKETBALL, BRACKETS AND BUSINESS," starts now.
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME (voice-over): It's March Madness in America.
WALLACE (voice-over): The brackets are set.
WALLACE (voice-over): The teams are ready.
WALLACE (voice-over): And tonight, we sit down, with a new man in- charge.
WALLACE (on camera): Thank you so much for coming in and talking with us.
WALLACE (voice-over): Charlie Baker just went from Governor of Massachusetts.
CHARLIE BAKER, PRESIDENT, NCAA: So help me God.
WALLACE (voice-over): To leading the NCAA, and dealing with all its issues. BAKER: We can't make progress, on these things without acknowledging their issues, and then figuring out a way, to actually solve and deal with them.
WALLACE (voice-over): Here to break down the Xs and Os of those problems, two Hall of Fame coaches.
JIM BOEHEIM, FORMER SYRACUSE COACH: I've had an unbelievable group of players and coaches, over these 47 years.
WALLACE (voice-over): Newly-retired Syracuse men's coach, Jim Boeheim, and former Notre Dame women's coach, Muffet McGraw, along with a team of experts.
WALLACE (voice-over): This is CNN PRIMETIME, INSIDE THE MADNESS.
WALLACE: Good evening. I'm Chris Wallace.
Well, it's that time of year again, when college basketball puts the Madness in March. People who don't know a point guard from a pick and roll are busy filling out their brackets, up to 100 million brackets, trying to predict, which team will cut down the nets, when it's all over.
The so-called Big Dance is a big moneymaker. And the NCAA, which runs the show, is dealing with some big issues. In a minute, you'll hear, from that organization's new leader.
But first, CNN's Coy Wire tips off the hour, taking us inside the Madness.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joy and jubilation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just the wildest moment, in my entire life.
WIRE (voice-over): Melancholy and misery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devastating.
WIRE (voice-over): And outright pandemonium.
WIRE (voice-over): The highs and lows and utter unpredictability are the essence of what we all call "March Madness."
The men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments are emotional roller-coasters, which can be as disappointing as they are exhilarating.
DAWN STALEY, SOUTH CAROLINA BASKETBALL HEAD COACH: We won a damn national championship.
WIRE (voice-over): 68 women's and men's teams are now preparing, for a single elimination tournament. 32 received automatic dibs. The rest were handpicked by an NCAA selection committee.
WIRE (voice-over): But there can only be one champion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Home of your 2022 national champions!
WIRE (voice-over): While the brackets are set, behind-the-scenes, the NCAA is grappling with controversies, on multiple fronts. Perhaps the most impactful? The emergence of Name, Image and Likeness deals, or NILs.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, FORMER DUKE BASKETBALL HEAD COACH: It's about being in control and helping the kids.
WIRE (voice-over): In 2021, the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA, allowing student-athletes, to get paid, for the use of their name, image and likeness, opening the door, for college players, to be, among other things, in TV commercials, like Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young was.
TIM TEBOW, AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYER: Bryce! They let you off campus!
WIRE (voice-over): The issue had long been debated with supporters arguing that student-athletes were being exploited, while the NCAA, and universities, raked in billions of dollars, from their work.
KRZYZEWSKI: But they haven't been helped for decades. They've been, basically, in some respects, used. And so, that's no longer - no longer the case.
WIRE (voice-over): Another growing issue? The so-called Transfer Portal, which allows players, to transfer to other schools, and compete for another team, without needing to sit out a full season, like in previous years. It's a phenomenon which thousands of student- athletes have taken advantage of, with very little regulation, from the NCAA.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fair Sport!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women and Girls!
WIRE (voice-over): Then, there are the equality and equity issues, including rules, surrounding the participation, of transgender athletes.
In 2022, Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman, to win a Division 1 national title, in women's swimming.
The NCAA announced it would allow the governing bodies, of each individual sport, to determine the participation policies, for transgender athletes. The decision hasn't come without some criticism.
CAITLYN JENNER, FORMER OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I'm about protecting women's sports, yes. And that means biological - my statement was, I don't want biological boys, you know, playing in girls' sports.
WIRE (voice-over): And 51 years since the enactment of Title IX, the NCAA is still finding ways, to narrow the gap, between men's and women's sports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think is the key to moving forward to the advancement of women's sports?
TARA VANDERVEER, STANFORD BASKETBALL HEAD COACH: I think it's both men and women, valuing young girls, and young women, saying "You're important. Your opportunities are important."
WIRE (voice-over): Most recently, the NCAA applied recommended changes, to the women's NCAA tournament, to more closely mirror the men's side, in order to generate same amount of support, and enthusiasm.
But some critics say they're still not enough.
WIRE: Now, it's going to take some time, for any potential changes, to be made.
And, right now, the NCAA, and millions of fans, well they're focused on March Madness. Schools from coast to coast have hopes of doing the Texas Two-Step. The women's Final Four is being played in Dallas, this year, while the men's Final Four is in Houston.
WALLACE: Coy, thank you.
Joining me now is Charlie Baker, who just took over as the new President of the NCAA, after serving two terms, as the Republican governor of Massachusetts.
Governor, welcome. Thank you so much for coming in and talking with us.
CHARLIE BAKER, PRESIDENT, NCAA: Glad to be here.
WALLACE: So, you have been, in this new job, as head of the NCAA, for two whole weeks, officially.
BAKER: Actually a little less, but yes.
BAKER: About that. WALLACE: How does it feel to be in charge of March Madness? And how do you explain the fact that this event, captivates the nation, for the better part of a month?
BAKER: If you believe that live sports, has a much bigger role to play these days than it used to, in terms of TV and entertainment, this is obviously about as live as you get.
It's 61 games. And I think the fact that so many times, the underdog wins, and the unpredictability, and the competitive equity that seems to exist, I think that's a big part of it. You just don't have that many places anymore, where it's so obvious that no one knows who's going to win.
WALLACE: For all the excitement of the games? And they are exciting.
WALLACE: And you're right. That's the reason people watch. Your world is going through a very tumultuous time. In fact, some people have called it the Wild West.
Big picture, what would you say, is the state of college sports, in general, and college basketball, in particular?
BAKER: I think the - I don't think the people, who say it's going through a tumultuous time are exaggerating. I mean, that's the reason I took the job.
I could have done a lot of other things, it would be a lot easier. And my friend, and former colleague, Senator Mitt Romney, when he heard I took this job, said, "Well, he's going from the frying pan and into the fire."
WALLACE: Let's talk about that. Because, the criticism that you hear is that you - and when I say, "You," I mean, the NCAA.
WALLACE: I know you've only been there, as you say, less than two weeks. That the NCAA is too big and too inflexible, in dealing with all of the changes, in big-time college sports?
And what people point to specifically, Exhibit A, is the Supreme Court ruling, in 2021 that led to college athletes being paid, for use of their Name, Image and Likeness, NIL.
Do you think that criticism of how the NCAA handled that is fair?
BAKER: Yes, I do. Look, I think, NIL is not just about that moment, or that case. And I personally think the decision that was made was the right one.
And I think, the big challenge, at this point, is to try to come up with a Name, Image and Likeness program, for college sports that actually gives families, and student-athletes, what I would describe as some consumer protections, which they currently don't have now.
WALLACE: And that's the--
BAKER: And I think that's a problem.
WALLACE: That's the criticism is that the NCAA has failed to come up, with a national standard--
WALLACE: --for how the schools, how the student-athletes, deal with this NIL. There are different rules, literally, in different states.
We talked a couple of weeks ago, to Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary coach of Duke, Coach K. And he expressed some concerns about this, including the fact that you have decided not to move to NCAA headquarters. Take a look.
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KRZYZEWSKI: He's not even going to go to Indianapolis. He's going to be - he's going to stay in where he's had - he'll spend a lot of time in, right by you, in the District of Columbia.
Because, the NCAA feels that they need government, to take care of what's happening, right now, with NIL, pay for players, things like that. And they may be right. But then, government will be involved, from that moment on, for your future. Like what's the plan?
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WALLACE: So Governor Baker, here's your chance to answer Coach K.
BAKER: You got to put me up against Coach K, one of the true legends of college basketball?
WALLACE: What's the--
BAKER: Right before March Madness starts? Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.
WALLACE: Well he asked a fair question!
BAKER: No, he certainly did.
WALLACE: What's the plan?
BAKER: And if states pass laws that say things like, and many of them are currently contemplating these, "Whatever the NCAA rules are in NIL, they don't apply, in our State." That creates an issue, where you put schools and conferences, many of which involve multiple states, in an impossible position, which is like--
WALLACE: So, what's the answer to get at, you think? BAKER: I think the answer on that one is to try to get some, to get a framework, that's a national framework, where states won't be able to literally say to the schools, in their state, "You don't have to - you don't have to play."
WALLACE: So, go to Washington, and get a national law passed. "Here's what the NIL rules of the road are?"
BAKER: Well if you were to ask me, like, what the number one thing I heard from people about, between then and now? It was about this Wild West, this free-for-all, this complete lack of visibility, around NIL. And that's the same thing a lot of folks in Congress have been hearing.
Now, maybe we get something done, maybe we don't. If we don't, I think, it's incumbent on us, to come up with a proposal that works in the absence of that. But I do think it will be harder, to apply it, to all 50 states, if states pass laws that put schools in positions, where they have to make a call.
WALLACE: And then, to add to all of that there's the Transfer Portal--
WALLACE: --which now allows thousands of student-athletes, to transfer, from one college to another, without having to sit out for a year.
And the threat is that when they're able to transfer, and they're able to make a deal, for NIL, at the new school, where they transferred to, that you can get, in effect, colleges, teams buying players.
BAKER: I think the - I think the Transfer Portal is an important element of the NIL conversation. The two of them are related. I don't think you can talk about one without talking about the other. I mean, the rule that's currently in place is you can transfer once and play right away. You're supposed to wait - if you want to transfer again, you got to wait a year.
But I don't want people to forget that even in the big schools that show up on TV, all the time, the vast majority of the kids, who play in those sports, are not going to go professional. And we need to make sure they graduate, and that they graduate with a degree they can actually make a life, and a living with.
WALLACE: You got a lot of issues, on your plate. Here's another one, which is the inequity between how the NCAA treats women sports, as compared to men sports.
Couple of years ago, 2021, an Oregon basketball player, a woman, named Sedona Prince, posted this video, which I'm sure you've watched that blew up. Here it is.
BAKER: You ever watched her play?
WALLACE: She's really good! (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEDONA PRINCE, AMERICAN BASKETBALL PLAYER: This is our weight room.
Let me show you all the men's weight room.
Now, when pictures of our weight room, got released, versus the men's, the NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money. It was space that was a problem.
Let me show you all something else.
Here's our practice court, right, and then here's that weight room. And then here's all this extra space!
If you aren't upset about this problem, then you're a part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The NCAA--
WALLACE: --and, I think that, in large part, spurred by that finally took some actions, like it turns out, in 2022, for the first time, allowing women, to call their tournament, March Madness, as well as the men.
But you're still spending twice as much money on the men's side, of the college - of the March Madness, as you are on the women's side. What are you going to do to equal that out?
BAKER: Well, first of all, the NCAA did a fairly compre-- third-party did a fairly comprehensive study.
BAKER: Made a bunch of recommendations. And many of those recommendations have been implemented, and others are in the process of being implemented. And has made some very significant investments, in leveling the playing field, on what I would call the student- athlete experience, on the men's side, and on the women's side. Same--
WALLACE: But they're still spending twice as much, on the men's side, as the women's side, in March Madness.
BAKER: They're investing, in the women's - in the women's tournament, in a very sig-- we are investing, that's us now, in a very significant way. But we have a ton of work left to do on this. And it's not just about basketball. It's about volleyball, and softball, and a whole bunch of other championships, as well.
WALLACE: Then, there's the issue of transgender women, competing in women's sports. And the most famous case is Lia Thomas.
(GRAPHIC IS SHOWN OF AMERICAN SWIMMER, TRANSGENDER ATHLETE, LIA THOMAS)
WALLACE: You see her here, who was allowed University of Pennsylvania swimmer to compete, as a woman, in the national championship, last year.
Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, attacked that decision. Here he is.
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GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The NCAA is basically taking efforts, to destroy women's athletics. They're trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, and they're crowning somebody else, the women's champion. And we think that's wrong.
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WALLACE: But instead of having one rule, for all of women's sports, the NCAA is going to let each sport's governing body decide what its rule is. Is that - one, is that a good idea to let that be decided by each individual sport?
And what about the argument, is just unfair that that transgender women athletes, it's unfair to have biological or cisgender women compete against them? These transgender, they're bigger and (ph) stronger.
BAKER: Yes. I think the most important thing here is to balance two issues. One is inclusion and the other is competitive equity.
And one of the reasons, for following the national governing bodies, and the International Federations, and the Olympic Federations, is you don't want transgender athletes, to not - to have to play by different sets of rules, at every step, along the way, in the process.
Do there need to be rules? Do they have to meet clinical standards to participate? Yes, they should have to meet clinical standards. And those clinical standards should be based on science.
WALLACE: If you watch TV, you know that there's been an explosion of betting sites. You can't miss all these commercials for gambling.
WALLACE: And I got to figure that March Madness, we're going to see more money bet than ever, on the outcome of the games, beyond just the brackets, in the office pools, people betting serious money. Does that trouble you, to have that much money, surrounding this tournament and college sports?
BAKER: Look, one of the things I heard from a lot of student-athletes, after I got this job, was, they are public figures, in their world, the same way I was a public figure, in mine.
Now, I'm an old guy. I've been getting yelled at and screamed at, for years, by people, for all kinds of reasons. I'm OK with that.
So, I worry a lot about what the impact of that is going to be on the incoming, through various channels that student-athletes are going to have to deal with. Yes, I think that could be a real problem.
WALLACE: You have a deep connection, to college sports. You played basketball. And we have a picture, you can see, of there is Charlie Baker going to - I don't know if you made the--
(GRAPHIC IS SHOWN OF NCAA PRESIDENT, CHARLIE BAKER, PLAYING BASKETBALL)
BAKER: The ball went in, OK, just so--
WALLACE: Yes, OK. More impressively, your wife was a gymnast, at Northwestern. Your kids played Division 3 football. I'm sure you got, as you mentioned, at the top, a lot of job offers that would have been a lot easier, and a lot less complicated.
So, let me sort of end this conversation, where I began it. Why on earth did you decide to take all this on?
BAKER: I do think it is at a tumultuous time. I do believe it's a big- time transitional period.
And I worry a lot that some of the stuff you talked about around D2 and D3 athletics, around women's sports, around all the issues that are swirling here, if they all go sideways, we probably destroy, what I think of, is one of the best human potential development programs, we have, as a country.
Do I think I can bring something to that? Yes. I mean, I've been spending the last eight years of my life, trying to balance the interests of a lot of different points of view. And more often than not have been reasonably successful at finding some ground that people can stand on together. And I clearly think that's going to be a big part of what this will be about.
WALLACE: Governor Baker, thank you.
BAKER: It's nice to see you, Chris.
WALLACE: Good luck.
BAKER: I've watched you on Sundays for years, so.
WALLACE: Well now you can watch me anytime you want!
BAKER: I know that!
WALLACE: Thank you very much. Good luck, in your new challenging job.
BAKER: Thank you.
WALLACE: We'll get reaction, when we come back, from one of the legends of the game, former Syracuse men's basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, who won a championship, 20 years ago, joins us for one of his first post-retirement interview.
WALLACE: Welcome back.
A little over a week ago, Syracuse men's basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, a Hall of Famer, announced his retirement, after 47 years, leading the Orange. Along the way, he reached five Final Fours, led his team to the 2003 National Championship, and won the second most games, in the history of the sport.
Coach Boeheim joins me now, from Syracuse.
And Coach, welcome. Good to have you with us.
BOEHEIM: It's great to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: I think it's fair to say that there is no one, who has been more critical, of where the college basketball game is now than you. You have said that it is in a quote, "Awful place." Is it really as bad as that?
BOEHEIM: Well, I was heartened by listening to the new President. Mr. President Baker, I thought he was good. I thought he sees that there's a monumental task, ahead of him. But I think he's the guy that looks like he's going to try to find compromise, and work at it, rather than ignoring the problem, which is basically what we've done, for a while now.
WALLACE: So, what do you see as the problem? On the one hand, you had Coach K, we just heard in the prior interview say that college players basically have been used, for years, while a lot of other people make a lot of money.
So, how do you balance that concern with the concern that when you have players able to transfer at will, to get paid, in their new situations that it could really change the competitive balance of the game?
BOEHEIM: Well, I think the NIL was a great idea. Both my sons benefited from it, here at Syracuse. I think the Transfer Portal is good. And the kids that aren't playing can go someplace, and not have to sit out.
The problem is, as the President said, when you combine those two, it makes it easy for someone, to go and play, right away, someplace else, and to benefit from it. And the NIL does that.
I think as the Supreme Court said you can't regulate what student- athletes can get. So, you can do is two speeches and receipt - and get $50,000.
[21:25:00] And I think the problem is that you've allowed Boosters into this equation, and Boosters want to win. That's what they - that's what they like. They want to help their program.
They're going to put money into their collective. And it's perfectly legal to have student-athletes benefit from that collective. I mean, we've seen the million-dollar quarterbacks. But I mean, in all sports, there's money being involved. And I think that's a good thing. But it's also troubling, when you see the Booster involvement.
And our kids going to a school, to play there, they go in there, because they're getting a bigger NIL deal. And maybe that's just where we are. And maybe that's the future.
And players get as much as they want, and schools are going to pool their money, their resources, in their collectives, and players are going to get a lot of money. I mean, some of the football schools, or collectives, have somewhere in the $4 million to $5 million range. Maybe that's good. Maybe benefiting the players like that is a good thing.
I know that coaches will adjust to this. That's what we've always done. And there's been a million rule changes. And coaches will adjust to this, in time.
WALLACE: But do you, Coach, do you worry that when you talk about a player can transfer, and then the school, or the Boosters of the school, or the companies around the school pay the money, that in effect, a school could buy a better team, and that in that sense, we could be approaching the end of an era, where for instance, March Madness is truly competitive?
BOEHEIM: Well, I think March Madness will always be competitive. Because what you have, and you see it, this year, some schools that weren't as - weren't that good, last year, became good, overnight. And it was because of the Transfer Portal. And some of the NIL probably weighed in there.
So, you had some teams get better. I think it hurts the smaller schools, the most, the mid-majors, because if they get a good player, he wants to play up. And he can benefit, from the NIL more, and he's played at a higher level.
So, I think we'll always have competitive games, and we're going to have them this year more than ever before. And we've had the NIL in effect for two years now. So, I think that's not going to be a problem.
It's just some people don't think kids should get that kind of money. But why not? Everybody thinks I'm against. I'm not against the NIL. I think that it's to bring - to get players to come to your school that way? That's - nobody likes that.
WALLACE: I got a couple of - I got a--
BOEHEIM: But just to have your kids get NIL deals is good. WALLACE: I got a couple of minutes left. I want to ask you one last question.
Last week, as we say, you retired, after 47 years, coaching Syracuse, won national championship, five Final Fours.
What does March Madness mean to you? How hard will it be to give up coaching? And what are you going to do instead?
BOEHEIM: March Madness is everything. It's what we play for. It's what we want to be involved in. My biggest thrills in coaching have come from the NCAA tournament. And it's just a thrill.
And I hope we always keep it that everybody gets in. Even if the tournaments expanded in the future, I hope all these smaller schools get in the tournament. I don't want it to be taken over just by the Power Five conferences.
It's a great event. It's the greatest sporting event that you can be involved in. And I'm just glad that the teamwork blocked the shot in the corner, so that I can say I actually won one of them.
WALLACE: And in the seconds we have left, you're going to be doing some more work on your Foundation?
BOEHEIM: We're going to do a lot of Foundation stuff. We just work with kids.
I'm going to model something new after what Dave Bing has done in Detroit, which is to really help kids, not just get to college, but get through high school, and get into job situations. And Dave's done it in Detroit. And we're going to try to do that here in Syracuse. I think it can be done in any city, in the country.
And every time you pick up the paper, you see a 13-year-old kid getting in trouble. So, I hope we can do something about that. That'll be a bigger achievement than winning basketball games.
WALLACE: Coach Boeheim, thank you. Thanks for doing this. You have given me, and all basketball fans, a lot of thrills. Thank you, sir.
BOEHEIM: Thank you.
WALLACE: Coming up, we've assembled some of the top analysts in basketball, to break down some of the big issues of the game. And I'll ask them to help you, and to help me, with our brackets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAKER: I don't think the people, who say it's going through a tumultuous time are exaggerating. I mean, that's the reason I took the job. If you were to ask me, like, what the number one thing I heard from people about? It was about this Wild West, this free-for-all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: That was new NCAA President, Charlie Baker, just moments ago, talking about the tumultuous time, college sports is going through, these days, with all the rules changes.
Joining me now to discuss the state of college basketball, and possibly help you with your brackets, are three former players, who are keen observers, of the game. TNT's Kenny Smith, and ESPN's Jay Bilas, and Jay Williams.
Before we get to the controversy, let's celebrate the games. And Jay Will, not to make too much of a point of it, but since you're the only one of the three of you, who actually won a national college championship, what's your favorite memory of March Madness?
JAY WILLIAMS, ESPN HOST: Kenny, I didn't put him up to that. I just want you to know that Kenny. It's--
KENNY SMITH, TNT MARCH MADNESS ANALYST: I know. He's taking shots at us, man. He's taking shots.
WILLIAMS: Yes. Already!
WALLACE: Hey, records are records, Kenny!
WILLIAMS: Chris - that's true.
Coach K had a meeting, at the beginning of my sophomore year, where we had to share all of our individual dreams. And when the baton came around to me, I said my dream was to toss the ball up in the air, as we won a national championship.
I fast forward, seven months later, I find myself in the national championship game, against Arizona, and Gilbert Arenas. And as time is dwindling down, on the clock, Chris Duhon has the ball, at the upper right-hand corner of the court, and he's dribbling the ball, and he's waving me over towards him.
And I run over towards him, and he hands me the ball. And I look at him saying, "What the heck do you want me to do with this?" and he points up to the sky, with his thumb, and I got a chance to achieve my dream.
And for me, winning a title was incredible. But more importantly, my teammate remembering my dream, seven months before, is truly the theme that epitomizes what that team meant to me.
WALLACE: Kenny, let me pick up on that. You spend most of your time, covering the NBA, and the pros. What's the biggest difference for you these next few weeks covering college players?
SMITH: Well, firstly, I had the same dream as Jay, but I just didn't get the chance to do it. My teammates remembered my dream too! And there was no ball to throw up!
But, I think, overall, what I - what the difference is when I cover college basketball is that these are young men, who have chemistry class, math class, biology class, at the same time. They're not professionals.
So, I also realized that this moment, is something that some of them will never achieve, again. They'll never play on this stage, basketball, 99 percent of the players that are playing today. So, I don't evaluate them the same way.
I expect certain criteria and excellence from NBA players. But I also expect a certain passion and exuberance that I would see, in NCAA that I would trade off for skill level. And I also - and that's how I look at the game.
So, when I'm critiquing the game, I'm not critiquing it, from a professional point of view. I'm critiquing it, from an enthusiasm and an energy point of view, and - than - more than anything else
WALLACE: Jay Bilas, you've heard, as all of us have been discussing, in this show, all of the controversies and concerns, about the game that the Transfer Portal and NIL could wreck the competitive balance, of college basketball. How real a threat is that?
JAY BILAS, ESPN COLLEGE BASKETBALL ANALYST: I don't believe it's real at all, Chris. I think it's just something that the NCAA has reflexively said, over the years, because they want to protect their restrictions.
And in fact, I think, NIL and the Transfer Portal has spread talent around even more. And we've seen it, in the last couple of years. I think we'll continue to see it, in the future that more teams will benefit, from having players spread around. And we'll be closer. There's no such thing as parody, but we'll be closer to it with money, as a factor, for players, in the future.
WALLACE: Kenny, a couple of years ago, you said that you thought that players, who ended up graduating from college that they should get paid, because among other things, it would encourage them, to stay in college. But players, who left early, to go to the pros, they didn't need the money. Obviously, that's not the way this has all turned out.
Are you OK with where the game is now? Or are you concerned about it?
SMITH: Well, I think Jay hit it on point. I don't - I think it's definitely going to be a more spreading out of talent.
However, what I always found interesting, is that the NIL, what it represents is that everyone is allowed to pay college players, except for the people, who were making the most money off them, which is the NCAA. If the NCAA, if it paid their players, and then allowed NIL, then we wouldn't have a Wild West that they're worried about.
Because if you say - and my point was, if you grab - you're making rules for 1 percent of the people, when it's you should be making rules for 99 percent of the people. And the 99 percent of people are not going to play professional basketball. They're not going to be playing professionally anywhere. They're going to be in the workforce. But they're making the money for you.
So, my projection was Jay - both Jays, was to pay the kids, who graduate. If you graduate, and make the NCAA Tournament, there should be a stipend, for you, waiting for you, like a pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow. If you don't graduate, you don't get it.
Because, you're supposed to be one, a student, and second, an athlete. They don't say athlete-student. So, if you did that, I think it would make the purity of college basketball, and what's it supposed to be, I think, a better situation.
WALLACE: Jay Will, I read somewhere that your last year, at Duke, your jersey made something like $2.3 million, in sales, and you didn't see a cent of that.
So, given that, how do you feel about the way the game has evolved, and the rules that these players live under now, with the ability to make money, off name, image and likeness, and transfer from one school to another?
WILLIAMS: When I hear Kenny talk about purity, I used to look at college basketball, through that lens, even when I used to hear the word, "Amateurism." But this is a business, you know? I know it's ncaa.org. But it feels like it should be ncaa.com.
And when you think about what do businesses value, do you value your customer? And in this particular situation, the customer is not the fans. The customer is the student-athlete. And do the athletes get a chance to participate in the economics? Or does the entity just monetize off the product, without sharing?
So, for me, Chris, I feel like this whole thing is trending towards a rev-share model, in which these student-athletes will inevitably have to become employees. And when you think about how rev-share works, if there is a pot of gold, every conference, every team, who gets a chance, to participate, in that pot of gold, should share in that economic value, through and through.
WALLACE: Guys, I got a couple of minutes left. For all of the serious talk, I know that most of our viewers really want help with their brackets.
So, let me go from left to right, on the screen that starts with you, Kenny.
Give me a sleeper pick, a high-seated team that you think might have a chance to go deeper, in the tournament than people think? SMITH: For me, the UConn Huskies.
I think, early in the year, they played extremely well. They had an opportunity to be at the top spot. They were playing their best basketball. They kind of fell off, during the middle of the season. And towards the end, they just kind of fizzled.
They didn't - but if they could kind of get that energy back that they've had, early in the season? I think that's one of the sleeper teams you could have.
WALLACE: Jay Bilas, you got a long shot special for us?
BILAS: Yes, I would say, Chris, that Creighton has a great opportunity, to do that, out of the Big East. They were a Final Four favorite. At least I thought they were, at the start of the year. But they ran into some difficulties, and had a rough patch, in the middle of the season.
But they've got a shot-blocker, in Ryan Kalkbrenner. They've got an outstanding point guard, in Ryan Nembhard, is Andrew Nembhard's younger brother. I wouldn't be surprised to see Creighton make a move.
WALLACE: And Jay Well, less than a minute left. You got a long shot?
WILLIAMS: There are 3 seeds (ph), but I think they got beat up in the Big 12.
I love guards, when it comes to tournament play. I'm going to go with Baylor. Scott Drew, and his team, has national championship pedigree.
They have a league guard, in Adam Flagler. They have two other guards, LJ Cryer, who's talented, and could knock down shots, and everyone, the best freshman, in the country, in Keyonte George. He's going to be a Top 10 - Top 15 pick, a lottery pick. So, that's a trio of guards that I think can cause a lot of havoc, in NCAA Tournament.
WALLACE: Kenny, and the two Jays, sounds like a rock band! Thank you guys so much. It's a busy week. We appreciate your taking the time.
Coming up, we turn to the women's game, and the NCAA's continuing struggle, to level the playing field, with the men. And what about transgender women athletes?
Retired Hall of Fame women's basketball coach, Muffet McGraw, joins me, here, in studio. That's next.
WALLACE: The women's college basketball tournament has been around, for four decades. But the NCAA has long treated it as something of an afterthought.
For instance, the TV contract, for the men's tournament, is worth $1.1 billion a year.
But the NCAA values broadcast rights for the women? Look at that little line at about $6 million a year!
Joining me now is Hall of Fame coach, Muffet McGraw, who won two national titles, at Notre Dame, during her 33 years, leading the Irish.
Coach, thanks for coming in.
MUFFET MCGRAW, FORMER NOTRE DAME BASKETBALL COACH: My pleasure.
WALLACE: I think that most people will be surprised, I know I was, to find out that women were not allowed to use the "March Madness" branding, until last year. 2022 was the first time you could call your tournament, "March Madness." And it didn't cost the NCAA a cent! So, why did it take so long?
MCGRAW: Well, that's one of the things that you saw with the debacle you talked about, a few years ago, when the men's and women's tournament were held, at the same place, and completely different.
The women's on-the-court branding was non-existent, really, it would say women's tournament. We weren't allowed to use "March Madness" for whatever reason, I'm not sure. But we've never really been valued the way we should.
WALLACE: I showed Governor Baker that infamous video that was taken in the 2021 tournament, showing the facilities for the men, versus the facilities for the women. Governor Baker said, since then, and March Madness is one example that there have been efforts, to move somewhat more to a level playing field.
How big a disparity though, is there still, in between the men's game and the women's game?
MCGRAW: Well, it's huge.
And I think if you want to know how we are valued, for the NCAA, the Women's Vice President of Basketball reports to the Men's Vice President of Basketball. So, that shows you exactly how important they think the women's tournament is, because we don't even report to the President of the NCAA.
At the end of the year, when you win a national championship, do you know how much the women make? We get zero! And the men, of course, are making millions and millions of dollars. So, if there's a way that they can get some of those units, over to the women's side, I think that will be something that would really help the gender equity.
And you mentioned that TV. We are lumped in with a lot of other championships. So, it's not just women's basketball. We're in with every other championship that they have. They need to take us out, and sell and market and promote us, for what we're worth.
[21:50:00] WALLACE: So, you heard Governor Baker, the new head of the NCAA. What do you think of what he had to say on this issue? And as he begins his new term, what is the single biggest thing that you would like to see him do, to try to deal with the disparity, between the men's and women's game?
MCGRAW: I think I'm excited that we have a politician in there, because I think that's what we're going to need, somebody that's willing to compromise, negotiate, and understands the value, of what the women can bring, to the NCAA, and to the tournament.
I think he's got a lot of things on his plate, between the Transfer Portal, the NIL, and really just valuing women, and making our tournament equal to the men.
WALLACE: We've been talking a lot tonight about those specific issues, the Portal, the Name, Image, Likeness. There's not as much money that is spent on women players, as men's players. Whether that's right or wrong, it just is a fact. Does it have though those rules, does it have the same possibility of changing the game, as much as it does on the men's side?
MCGRAW: I absolutely think it does. And I think that the Transfer Portal, and Charlie mentioned, it's called the one-time transfer. And yet you see that there are women who have played in two, three, and even four schools.
And my concern is, what about the education? What about that degree? What are we teaching these kids? That they come in with one foot out the door, and they can go where they want, if it doesn't work out for them, if they don't like what they're doing? And--
WALLACE: Plus, and this - if they transfer a second time, then they have to sit out a year.
MCGRAW: But they haven't had to sit out. And that is the issue. They've been able to transfer numerous times, without that penalty. And that's been a real problem.
Because what are we teaching them about commitment and staying and fighting through adversity, and all the things that sports really teaches you, about life skills? What are we preparing them for?
WALLACE: And how do you feel about the whole idea that - and there are two sides to this argument. One is their - athletes are getting an education. The other is everybody else is benefiting off them, they're being used?
Where are you in the whole question of players being paid?
MCGRAW: Well, I don't think anybody is opposed to players making some money. But I don't believe in pay-for-play. I don't believe that you should make a million dollars, just because you're the quarterback. If somebody's Jersey sells, maybe they should make some money, from that.
But I think it's really ruining college sports, with where we are, because the team with the most money, is the one that's going to win. If I offer you $100,000, to play at Notre Dame, and somebody offers you $300,000, where are you going to go? It's not about the fit, and it's not about the degree, it's not about the education anymore. It's about the money.
WALLACE: Coach McGraw, thank you, thanks so much, for coming in, and talking with us, about this.
WALLACE: When we come back the science of bracketology, including the one matchup that may ruin your chances to win your office pool.
WALLACE: After everything you've heard tonight, it's now time, to finally get serious, and help you fill out your tournament brackets. And who better to do it than CNN's number-crunching guru, our Senior Data Reporter, Harry Enten.
Harry? No pressure.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: No pressure. And I like you sound - you sounded like you had a nice New York accent, when you said that.
WALLACE: There you go!
WALLACE: All right. So, what is the best strategy, to pick the bracket that's going to win your office pool?
ENTEN: All right, my big thing is just keep it simple, right? Because later rounds tend to count more in most contests. So, it's really important to just to pick the Final Four, and really pick the champion. That's the way to get the most points.
And keep in mind, despite the fact it's March Madness, and there are a lot of upsets, in fact, the number 1 seeds have won 60 percent of all tournaments since 1979. The 2 seeds have won 16 percent. The 3 seeds have won 11 percent. So, you really should pick a 1, 2 or 3 to win the title. Any other bet is probably a sucker's bet, Chris.
WALLACE: If you're going for an upset, and that's what March Madness is all about, although we're seeing not so much?
WALLACE: You're going for an upset, particularly the first week of the tournament, what are the matchups that give you the best odds of picking an upset?
ENTEN: Yes. So, if you're going to go for a first-round madness, a first-round upset, it's madness since 1985.
Look at how many, the percentage of times then the 11 is won over a 6. Look at that. It's 38 percent. How about a 12 over 5? Pretty equal to that at 36 percent. A 13 over 4? 21 percent.
Then it starts to become a little bit shakier, 14 over 3, just 15 percent, a 15 over 2, just 7 percent. Do not pick a 16 over 1. That's happened less than 1 percent of the time.
You really want to be 11 over a 6, or a 12 over 5. That gives you the best shot of picking an upset.
WALLACE: All right. Now, we're going to really help people, because you have picked your Final Four, and your ultimate champion. Let's see your picks.
ENTEN: OK. So, I am picking Houston. Houston, they're going to revenge the ghosts of Phi Slama Jama. Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, I got Houston win it all. I got a Final Four of Houston, UCLA, 2 seed here, this is not a 1 seed, Purdue and Alabama, and Alabama making it. But Houston, I have, is my ultimate chance.
WALLACE: This is ridiculous. This is pure chalk. You have three number 1 seeds, and one number 2 seed. You're the numbers guru, and you're picking chalk?
ENTEN: I am absolutely picking chalk, because remember what I told you earlier on. 1 seeds have won most brackets. So, I'm taking my own advice here.
ENTEN: That's what I'm doing.
WALLACE: So now, let's go to my picks.
ENTEN: Here we go.
WALLACE: Which are not pure chalk, because--
ENTEN: Good luck with this.
WALLACE: --I have two number 1s, and two number 3s. I have Houston and Purdue, number 1s, Baylor and Gonzaga, number 3s, seeded number 3, and Gonzaga wins the whole darn thing.
ENTEN: Revenge the ghosts of John Stockton, right? Look, I've picked Gonzaga way too many years. It never works out. I wish you good luck in this. But really, you're going to need a lot of luck, because I just don't think Gonzaga has it.
WALLACE: Well speaking of luck, how many perfect brackets have there been in history?
ENTEN: Zero, from our understanding. You - look how many zeros are here. There are 18 zeros, 1 in 9, and then 18 zeros, quintillion. That is way less than your chance of winning the Mega Millions, which is 1 in 303 million. How about getting a Royal Flush in Poker? It's 1 in 650,000.
Getting a perfect NCAA bracket, if you get that? You have done amazing stuff!
WALLACE: Well, Gonzaga, I'm telling you. There you go.
ENTEN: That's OK. Good luck.
WALLACE: All right. Harry, thank you.
ENTEN: Thank you, sir.
WALLACE: And if you're really smart folks, you will not take our advice anyway.
WALLACE: Harry, thank you for playing.
Thank you for watching. Be sure to catch all of the March Madness men's tournament action, on our sister networks, TBS, TNT, and truTV, as well as on CBS.
Good luck with your brackets. And good night.