From 1961: the SoCon rejects a radical hoops idea, and a baseball schedule

Very quick and pointless post…

For reasons not worth mentioning, I delved into some newspapers (circa 1961) from what was then called The News and Courier. While doing some research, I happened upon this story: Link

To sum up the article (remember, this is from 1961), Davidson director of athletics Tom Scott proposed that the Southern Conference change the way it awarded its automatic invite to the NCAA basketball tournament. Just as it does today, at that time the league awarded its conference tournament champion the auto-bid.

What Scott suggested was that the regular-season champion should basically get a mulligan if it didn’t win the league tourney. Under his proposal, if the team that finished first in the regular season was knocked out of the conference tournament, it would then play the team that did win the tourney in a subsequent game for all the auto-bid marbles.

The impetus for Scott’s idea came from the year before, when George Washington (at that time a SoCon school) went 6-16 during the regular season, then won three straight conference tourney games and advanced to the NCAAs.

Davidson’s Scott suggested a “playoff” between regular-season and league tourney titlists would be a big money-maker for the SoCon, but his proposal was rejected after only thirty minutes of discussion.

I found his idea very interesting. I’m not sure it could work today, but it might be a potential solution to the problem of teams in smaller conferences with great regular seasons getting knocked out of league tourneys and having to settle for the NIT.

As with all things, it would come down to TV. I don’t think ESPN would go for it, to be honest. Still, it’s something worthy of consideration. It should have been more worthy of consideration back in 1961 than a 30-minute discussion, in my opinion.

The Citadel’s baseball media guide is generally very solid. I particularly like some of the old-school pictures of baseball teams from past decades. There are some gaps, however (understandably so). For example, the 1961 baseball season lists an overall record of 11-8, which is correct, but does not have all the individual games listed.

I was going through newspaper accounts in an effort to find out whether The Citadel’s two games against Georgia Southern that year were at home or on the road. They were played at WLI Field, as it turned out. While doing that, I decided to see if I could “complete” the schedule. I think I succeeded. Here, for posterity’s sake if nothing else, are the results from the 1961 campaign.

Two quick notes: The Citadel had a home game against George Washington rained out (it had been scheduled for 3/31). Also, from what I could tell, the majority of the home games were played at WLI Field, as The Citadel shared College Park at that time with a local minor league team (a White Sox affiliate).

1961 The Citadel Baseball (11-8 overall, 5-6 SoCon)

3/24 Clemson — W, 6-4 (Home)
3/25 Clemson — L, 4-6 (Home)
4/1 West Virginia — W, 6-5 (Home) *
4/7 William & Mary — W, 6-5 (Away) [Game 1 of doubleheader] *
4/7 William & Mary — W, 1-0 (Away) [Game 2 of doubleheader] *
4/8 Richmond — L, 3-4 (Away) *
4/17 VMI — L, 1-3 (Home) [Game 1 of doubleheader] *
4/17 VMI — W, 9-3 (Home) [Game 2 of doubleheader] *
4/22 Virginia Tech — L, 2-5 (Home) *
4/26 South Carolina — W, 13-2 (Home)
4/28 Furman — W, 6-5 (Away) *
4/29 Furman — L, 14-15 (Away) *
5/2 Davidson — L, 19-20 (Away) *
5/3 Davidson — L, 2-7 (Away) *
5/6 Georgia Southern — W, 3-2 11 innings (Home) [Game 1 of doubleheader]
5/6 Georgia Southern — L, 1-5 (Home) [Game 2 of doubleheader]
5/9 South Carolina — W, 3-2 (Away)
5/13 Oglethorpe — W, 14-2 (Away) [Game 1 of doubleheader]
5/13 Oglethorpe — W, 7-0 (Away) [Game 2 of doubleheader]

* = Southern Conference game

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