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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Whitworth headed on the road again


Why are the Whitworth Pirates hated by the NCAA?

No, why are West Coast teams hated by the NCAA Division III?

The answers to both of those questions come down to one word: money.

The NCAA hates spending it, but when the Pirates – or any West Coast team for that matter – make the postseason, the organization is forced to open its wallet.

Of the 59 teams in this year's NCAA Division III mens' basketball tournament, two are from the West Coast: Whitworth and Occidental, from Southern California.

The rest are from the Rockies east.

(Here is the NCAA bracket)

So why does the West get hosed so often?

Because this isn't the Division I tournament, which brings in millions upon millions for the NCAA. The Division III tournament costs the organization a dime or two.

It's cheaper to spend $15,000 and send Whitworth to St. Louis (where the Pirates will play DePauw on Friday) than to spend $45,000 and bring three teams to Spokane, or Los Angeles. Money talks and the Whits have to walk.

We've noted this before, but the same formula applies when the NCAA hands out at-large berths. A Northwest Conference team may be more deserving of a spot, but a team in Massachusetts or Wisconsin will get it, just because the NCAA's bill for sending schools from those regions to the tournament is around $1,500, not 10 times that amount.

But there really isn't anything the Whitworths of the world can do about it. There are no viable options. NAIA? The Pirates have been there and the overall athletic costs are just too prohibitive. The same can be said for the Division II ranks, home of Central and Western Washington. So Division III it is.

Just make sure you have good luggage.

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