Opinion: Baylor-Gonzaga men’s title game shows why NCAA Tournament must be preserved at all costs

INDIANAPOLIS — If criticizing the NCAA were a sport, it would be every bit as intensely competitive as the last three weeks of basketball leading into Monday night’s men's national championship between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor. 

From missteps at the women’s tournament that brought a fresh wave of questions about the NCAA’s investment in gender equity, to participants in the men’s tournament wearing shirts that read #NotNCAAProperty, to Supreme Court justices last week launching a string of missives about the absurdity of its business model, rarely has the NCAA been under such siege from outside and within.

For the first time in at least a generation, it feels like the NCAA is truly in the midst of an existential crisis. Over the next several months, its entire existence as a self-governing body that largely preserves its amateur system is going to be tested by a key court ruling and potential Congressional action. While there’s no formal movement to chuck the entire structure of college sports and start over with the biggest football schools leading a breakaway from the NCAA, it's not nearly as far-fetched a notion as it once seemed. 

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