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March Madness gone wild

College basketball is great entertainment but needs reform

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Hurrah for the city of Detroit: The beleaguered car capital gets to polish up its chrome for a national TV audience this weekend as it hosts college basketball's Final Four and the national championship game.

Detroit could use a "glam-dunk" event about now. Ford Field, at 70,000 seats, should set an attendance record for the NCAA basketball tourney.

In many respects, big-time college basketball is experiencing a golden age. The NCAA, which runs the college basketball tournament, is in the midst of an 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS to televise the games. The tournament, popularly known as March Madness, features athletes from all over the world who come to play American college basketball, such as University of Connecticut's 7-foot-3-inch center Hasheem Thabeet.

But the excitement about which Final Four team – Connecticut, Michigan State, Villanova, or North Carolina – will prevail belies a system rife with problems and overdue for reform.

The very best players are using college basketball as a one-year stopover, passing time until they become 19 years old and a year out of high school in order to be eligible for the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft.

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