The 3 biggest off-the-court stories of the 2023-24 college basketball season.

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( It’s the time for March Madness now as several men’s and women’s college basketball teams are competing in the NCAA Tournament during one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. While millions of people create and rip up their brackets as teams win, lose, and are upset by small-school teams, the end of the 2023-24 college basketball season is drawing to a close. This was a very interesting college basketball regular season on a lot of levels including multiple upsets of highly ranked teams and the return of the Houston Cougars to national prominence. Here are the three biggest stories of the 2023-24 college basketball season that have nothing to do with who goes to the Final Four on the court:

The 3 biggest off-the-court stories of the 2023-24 college basketball season.

  1. The lawsuit and lost season of the Bewley twins

There are several options for today’s basketball players prior to pursuing dreams of playing in the NBA including college, G-League, playing overseas, or Overtime Elite developmental league. Twin brothers Matt and Ryan Bewley were highly ranked prospects in the high school class of 2023 before they decided to take their talents to Overtime Elite Academy. They planned on playing for Chicago State for the 2023-24 college basketball season. Unfortunately, the NCAA denied their eligibility for receiving money generated from their name, image and likeness while competing for Overtime Elite Academy. They never played this season despite many legal battles and their story reminds people of how much things have changed and will continue to change in college sports over the years.

  1. The death of Bob Knight

One of the most accomplished head coaches in college basketball history, Bob Knight, died in November of 2023 during the college basketball season. Although not an active coach, his shadow still looms over Indiana University, where Knight had his most success. He was also one of the most controversial head coaches in sports history for his extremely fiery and ornery personality that extended to his players and to referees. In a lot of ways, there is unlikely to be another Bob Knight due to the player empowerment of today’s players having NIL and transfer portal opportunities but also the ultra-angry, taskmaster head coach archetype that Knight embodies is also outdated. His behavior as a head coach very nearly supersedes his successes as a head coach, which explains his legacy.

  1. Dartmouth’s historic unionization

Given NIL and the transfer portal being major parts of today’s college sports landscape, it seems a matter of time until all college athletes are considered employees. Last month, a National Labor Relations Board regional official ruled that Dartmouth basketball players are employees of the school, which led to athletes on the men’s basketball team at Dartmouth College voting by a majority to join Service Employees International Union Local 560 based out of Hanover, New Hampshire. This decision to unionize by the Dartmouth men’s basketball team mirrors a lot of the unionization efforts that can be seen throughout the U.S. in recent years to give power to the workers.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines