clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Open Game Thread: Force Majeure Strikes the SEC Tournament

New, comments

Many of you who have dealt with business and contracts undoubtedly know what force majeure means -- it essentially means an act of God, overthrow of the government or other political unrest, or any other overpowering force with overwhelms the reasonable ability of one to perform their obligations.  Force majeure is what we have in Catlanta this morning, and unfortunately, this destiny-blasted Kentucky team along with Dennis Felton's Georgia Bulldogs are the recipient of the brunt of the abuse.

First of all, let us all thank God that nobody on any teams, or fans as far as I know, were hurt.  This could have been a catastrophe that would have dwarfed the World Trade Center collapse in terms of the casualties that could have occurred in a worst-case scenario.  Everyone involved was fortunate, and despite the hardship that has been inflicted upon the SEC tournament, it is miraculous that they don't have to also deal with loss of life, potentially on an incredible scale.  Despite the comments I will make later, that is the most important, and most assuredly fortunate thing.

Moving on to the basketball.  The SEC, clearly driven by an unconcerned NCAA tournament committee, has decided to play the last quarterfinal game today at noon, and the winner will play again tonight at 8:30.  Apparently, having their traditional Sunday selection show is just more important than the fair resolution of our pathetic little tournament with respect to the fans and the players.   So when the SEC suggested co-champions or moving the championship to Monday, the NCAA tournament officials informed the SEC that their automatic bid would be forfeit in any scenario in which the SEC tournament champion was not decided by Sunday at 6:00 pm.

In a way, it is almost fitting.  The Wildcats have had obstacle after obstacle thrown at them this year in the form of injuries, adjustment difficulties and just plain bad luck.  Apparently, there are forces that felt those trials were simply not convincing enough, and more is needed.  In order to win the SEC championship now, Kentucky must not only win twice today, but a third time just 16 hours later.

Then, if that weren't tough enough, either one of those two successful teams could wind up playing as early as Thursday at 1:00 PM in the NCAA tournament.  Take Monday and Wednesday as travel days, and you have demands on a team that I have frankly never heard of before.  It's one thing to play four games in three days.  It is a completely different animal to play three games in 27 hours.  But that is the lot that either UK or Georgia has drawn, and most likely, neither of them will survive the first step, which is the second game in 8 hours.

So first of all, it's time to place the blame where it belongs -- with the NCAA tournament committee.  They were uninterested in accommodating the SEC in any way whatsoever, and left the SEC with no choice.  I can't confirm this, but reading between the lines of reports I have read, it appears that the NCAA would not allow the SEC to cancel the tournament and declare a champion.  If the SEC is to retain it's automatic bid to the tournament, there must be a tournament champion, and it must be delivered to the NCAA by their deadline, or the auto bid becomes an at-large bid.  Given the constraints of that scenario, I cannot blame the SEC whatsoever.  They are victims of force majeure, and the NCAA appears to be unwilling to make any accommodation whatsoever.

As for the venue, what choice does the SEC have?  It is far to late to institute some sort of lottery system to select fans to attend the comparatively tiny Alexander Memorial Gymnasium at Georgia Tech.  The logistics of such a system take planning, and 10 hours simply isn't enough to make a plan.  They will simply have to refund tickets and quite possibly pay damages resulting from lawsuits arising out of this scenario.  This will hurt all the schools involved and the SEC, but unfortunately, God has seen fit to throw another stick in the way of our league.  Many people may complain about the SEC's decision, but from what limited information available to the public at this point, they have done the best they could under the pressure of a relentless, NCAA enforced clock and the devastation of a powerful weather system.

I have seen much fan anger directed at the SEC, and i have concluded it is pointed in the wrong direction.  I think we should turn our heads to Indianapolis, as JL has discussed below.  I don't have a pitchfork, but I have a brand-new maul I built bought for splitting would wood ([editor's note, by Truzenzuzex]  Jeez, I am not nearly caffeinated enough) that should serve very well, and I am undaunted by a march north.

But for now, let's cheer for the Wildcats.  In the unlikely event you want to review the comments of my earlier Open Game Thread, you may follow the link.  My heart goes out to both Georgia and Kentucky, and I hope both teams acquit themselves well.  Whether we win or not, I will have a lot more to say about this later. 

So leave your comments below, and let's take this one game at a time.  Fate has provided yet another opportunity for Kentucky to excel, and let's cheer our Cats on to victory!

GO BIG BLUE!

Update [2008-3-15 13:12:44 by Truzenzuzex]:  Not to beat my chest too much, but it looks like I read between the lines pretty well.