In case the proposal to expand the NCAA men's basketball tournament to 96 teams doesn't underscore the excesses of college sports, consider this:
It took the University of Connecticut only two years to rack up a record 78 straight wins in women's basketball, the most recent coming in the national-title game Tuesday night.
When the UCLA men won 88 in a row in the early '70s, the gap between losses was four days shy of three years.
In John Wooden's 27-year tenure with UCLA, which ended in 1975, the Bruins never played more than 31 games in a season.
The Duke men's team played 40 games this season, which isn't exactly a new development. The Blue Devils played the same number in 1985-'86, when Mike Krzyzewski coached them in his first national-title game, a loss to Louisville.
TV grew increasingly infatuated with the college game after the Magic-Bird final in 1979. But the schedules had already begun their upward creep. Indiana State played 34 games that year, Michigan State 32. (As Title IX took effect, the number of women's games had to keep pace, even if the TV interest levels didn't.)
In the early '90s, when the NCAA put a 20-hour limit on weekly practice time, there was a push to reduce the number of basketball games. The concern didn't hold up.
On the surface, neither Duke nor UConn players appear to be hurt academically by the long seasons. Their graduation rates are 93 percent and 100 percent.
But for athletes interested in achieving good grades and undertaking challenging classes, playing more than 30 regular-season and conference-tournament games constitutes an unnecessary obstacle.