NCAA gives Louisville men permission to attend women’s title game, but it’s too little, too late

Kevin Kaduk
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Should the Louisville women's basketball team win Tuesday night's NCAA title game, the Cardinals will become just the second school in history to win both the men and women's championship in the same year.

That's a pretty big deal, but the Louisville women will be short a few supporters at New Orleans Arena when they take on UConn. That's because the Louisville men's team was originally denied a waiver by the NCAA to go see their classmates try and make history for the first time since both UConn teams won titles in 2004.

Something about an "improper benefit" if the Cardinal men were to board a plane for the short flight from Atlanta to the Big Easy.

Perhaps realizing the silliness of their initial ruling, the NCAA reportedly reversed course on Tuesday morning and said the Louisville men could make the trip. But the permission slip was a day late and a dollar short as Brett McMurphy of ESPN reports the school had already gone forward with plans to bring the team back to Kentucky.

It's silly that the NCAA couldn't have been flexible in the moment on Monday night and approved the request as Louisville celebrated its big win over Michigan at the Georgia Dome. After all, these guys have flown around the country playing for free all season long, the least the ruling body could have done is let them enjoy their wild ride for 24 more hours while also supporting the journey of the women's team.

But let's take the "doing something nice for the kids" angle out of this. Wouldn't it have been a great marketing angle for the NCAA to have the nation's highest-profile team in the stands for its crown women's event? It might not have altered the ratings that much, but it would have made for a cool scene of support and one the NCAA could have been proud of.

Instead, the Louisville men will have to watch the game on television while their coach Rick Pitino heads to New Orleans by himself. That's a shame.

h/t: The Big Lead

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