Eds. note: This article was originally published on April 1, 2015 as part of our April Fool's coverage.
The remainder of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, including the Final Four and Championship Game, has been cancelled, the NCAA announced in a press release early today, April 1st, 2015. After a regular season that featured frequent media criticism about college basketball's decline, the sport's governing body finally decided to pull the plug because of the lack of public interest in the season's conclusion.
Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis, who warned the public just weeks ago that "College basketball is facing a crisis," applauded the decision. "In 2002, teams averaged 69.9 possessions per game," Davis noted. "Now, it's 66.2 possessions. Basketball was great back then, but now that each team touches the ball one fewer time per ten minute span, the sport is basically unwatchable. For example, I'm paid to analyze college basketball and haven't watched a game all season," he admitted.
Yahoo's Pat Forde concurred. "As long as teams like Virginia and Kentucky, who use defense to attempt to keep the other team from scoring, are playing this sport, college basketball has no future."
The news comes just weeks after Virginia's second round loss ignited mass celebrations around the country; UVA's offensive sets, which last 2.5 seconds longer than the national average, have been blamed for the 3% stock market drop in March, the current Middle East tensions, and the spread of Ebola by the game's brightest minds.
While CBS, who paid $10.8 billion for a 14-year deal to air the NCAA Tournament, would seem to have reason to protest the move, Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, explained the network accepted the decision: "Though our numbers showed that viewership of March Madness is at a record high, the sports media quickly corrected us; for example, the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore let us know that 'television ratings plunged' this season - for real - so we decided we'd be better off airing 'Two and a Half Men' re-runs anyways."
With the NCAA Tournament concluded, fans will be free to focus on tomorrow's NIT Championship game between Miami and Stanford and the CBI Championship series between Louisiana - Monroe and Loyola tonight and tomorrow. The NCAA is testing a 30 second shot clock during what are now the league's premiere tournaments, making games vastly more exciting. The 30-second clock has been credited with soaring levels of popularity of the WNBA.
The NCAA hasn't announced whether the 2015-2016 college basketball season will go on as scheduled, noting that major changes are required to fix the sport - these are "unprecedented issues" after all, per Seth Davis. Proposals currently being evaluated include mandating teams remove a player from the court while on defense, adjusting the height of the rim to 6 feet, shortening the shot clock to 10 seconds, keeping cute puppies on a stage above the court in case boredom strikes, or all of those combined.