Virginia and Maryland are long-standing rivals. The teams don't like each other. And they are just days from squaring off in the Super Regionals with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha on the line.
But before they do, they'll spend the next 5 hours or so in a small enclosed space together. Because the NCAA, which arranges transportation, has put everyone in the strangest position imaginable, pairing the teams together on a charter flight from LA to DC:
After a bunch of delays, charter flight back to DC is ready: Maryland on right, UVa on left. pic.twitter.com/dsRaSEOPDv
— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) June 3, 2015
To make things worse, the plane was delayed because of mechanical issues; the team won't arrive in Charlottesville until 4:30 AM. (The good news is that at 4:30 AM two days prior, UVA had just finished a baseball game.)
A few thoughts:
1) On the surface, we can understand the NCAA's rationale. Virginia planned to stay in California until after the Maryland-UCLA regional was decided, so the teams were heading from the same area to the same area at the same time. Flights cost money.
2) Then again, maybe this should be a special case. The NCAA makes a lot of money from tournaments like this one, so ponying up to ensure situations like this one don't crop up seems reasonable.
3) WHY ARE THE TEAMS SPLIT LEFT AND RIGHT?! At least if UVA sat in the front and Maryland in the back, teams would be largely separated (except for the player at the back of the Virginia section whose seat would keep getting kicked). But in this configuration, literally every player is sitting next to an opponent. I guess deciding which team gets the front would be awkward. Would they bid for it, as Super Regional hosts were decided?