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NCAA championships: Now featuring booze

No surprise this change has our support.

FloSports: Beer Mile World Championships Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA made a few bigger changes on Wednesday. We’ll get to all of them shortly, though the most important for our purposes is this seemingly throwaway note on alcohol sales at championship events.

After a trial period at select events these past two years, restrictions on booze sales are now gone. As the NCAA probably figured out at these trial events, alcohol makes quite a bit of money (the Syracuse Orange already know this). And since college sports is all about free things — money, labor, etc. -- it makes sense that they’d eventually embrace this easy payday.

So the next time you casually show up to a Sweet 16 game at the Carrier Dome, or a Syracuse NCAA Tournament game, you’ll be happy to know that beer is now an option.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Syracuse vs Duke Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The other decisions:

  • Official visits start junior year of high school (for sports that hadn’t already updated that)
  • Previous athletes cannot participate in practice anymore
  • Schools can’t limit transfer destinations (see yesterday’s conversation)

They also tabled an idea to let football players participate in as many as four games in a given season without it impacting eligibility. So it’s far from dead, but it’s going to be at least another year before it’s enacted. A rule change like this would be great for teams out of bowl contention (as Syracuse has been frequently in recent years). Rather than burning redshirts to see what talent is on the roster, teams would be able to give young players a shot and assist with their own evaluations. Given the way last year ended for the Orange, the ability to play Tommy DeVito a little could’ve been valuable now that he’s sitting second on the depth chart and is one Eric Dungey injury from being thrust into action.

We talked about the transfer destinations note yesterday, and it’s worth repeating that it’s a step in the right direction to be more fair to players. As mentioned, the conferences can still limit movement within leagues.

There’s also the underrated change around previous athletes participating in practice. This one might as well be called the “Alabama Rule,” referring to the Crimson Tide’s infamous use of former stars to help game prep. Extended access to playing against NFL-level talent can be perceived as an extra benefit for the best programs, so as a fan of a program that’s not considered among the “best” in the country, I’m a fan of this move.

Anything else interesting here? Hopefully that redshirt rule gets changed soon.