Flameouts And Questionable Decisions For C-USA Basketball

Ryne E. HancockCorrespondent IMay 21, 2010

On the final episode of my radio show for the school year, we decided to invite the president of the NPHC organization on campus.

While we thought that, for the most part, the invite wouldn’t create any problems on or off the air, we realized that was not the case.

Anytime a president makes snide comments via Facebook or Twitter about other organizations under the same umbrella they’re over, it shows that there needs to be change in leadership.

The same thing could be said about the leadership of Britton Banowsky, who has been commissioner since 2004 in Conference USA.

Aside from the fact that eight teams (Marquette, TCU, DePaul, Louisville, Charlotte, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and South Florida) departed for greener pastures in 2005, Banowsky has done very little as far as wise decisions are concerned.

Basketball-wise decisions that is.

Since 2006, which was the first year of the new-look conference, the only NCAA Tournament wins from this conference came from the Tigers.

Including the five wins in 2007-08 that later got vacated by the NCAA.

In 2009-10, in what was a down year for the Tigers, both the Tigers and UAB got the only wins in the postseason for the conference.

In the NIT.

Sorry, the CIT and the CBI tourney don’t count.

The conference tournament this year turned out to be a national joke, when Houston faced UTEP on Championship Saturday, in a mostly empty BOK Center in Tulsa.

And to make matters worse, both Houston and UTEP, the former making a spirited run to an improbable tournament title, would both be bounced in the first round.

What did the flameout say nationally about Conference USA basketball?

The same old song and dance about the conference.

Memphis and the 11 Dwarves.

To put in perspective, Conference USA has had more bids in the NCAA baseball tournament since 2006 than men’s basketball, even placing a couple of teams in the CWS.

Sad, right?

With the tournament being in El Paso this upcoming season, I want to believe that it can work there, that people will be willing to spend money in the city’s downtown district, take in the scenic views, and enjoy good basketball.

But should it fail badly, the blame should squarely fall on the shoulders of Banowsky.

And not only that, a change at the top would have to follow right away.

Maybe George Bush should be in charge.

Just a thought.