The Duke basketball program gets its season started with another power conference foe.
The Duke basketball program seems as if it is in a good place after a season full of disappointments and an offseason full of shock and chaos.
Likewise, college basketball also seems as if it is in a good place with student-athletes having the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness.
However, one rule in the sport seems like it needs to be adjusted.
Duke will play Villanova in a scrimmage this preseason, but because of NCAA Division I rules, no one can attend the game, televise the game, broadcast the game, or speak about the game.
How does this benefit college basketball?
It is like if reporters were not allowed at NFL training camp practices or preseason games. Or NBA preseason events, or MLB, or NHL, etc.
Preseason games create buzz, conversation, and anticipation for the season.
It feels especially necessary to promote college basketball when the sport is about to embark on a season where most buildings will be back at full capacity after a year where many people were not allowed to attend games.
Duke and Villanova squaring off in a preseason game certainly creates more buzz around the sport than the Blue Devils scrimmaging Winston-Salem State or the Wildcats playing a local Division II or III school, which are allowed to be broadcasted and talked about according to NCAA rules.
If this were a regular season non-conference game, it would be one of the most anticipated games of the year, but now it is just a blip on the radar with no one allowed to speak of the game.
Duke basketball and college basketball fans deserve great games this season
Why not give fans an early taste of college basketball with spectators allowed in the gym to watch the game, or create some type of telethon event for the game, and all proceeds to go a charity?
It should be a preseason event that benefits all parties, regardless of the final score.
A narrative can be created for any type of final score: Duke wins via a blowout; are the Blue Devils back, trouble looming for Villanova? Villanova wins via blowout; could Duke miss the NCAA Tournament for a second year in a row? The game goes down to the wire; was that a National Championship preview?
The storylines write themselves.
Having high profile Division I teams scrimmage each other with media available to broadcast and report on the game generates buzz for college basketball, which typically does not draw many eyeballs until the NFL season is over, unless you a diehard fan.
Now, there will be a final score reported from an anonymous source from the Duke and Villanova scrimmage, but what is the fun in that?
Let the fans see the game.