Put yourself in the shoes of Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander this weekend.
The biggest event on the conference's yearly to-do list, the Big South Conference's men's basketball tournament, begins Tuesday. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games span five days and generate welcomed publicity for the league.
Televised games. Lights. Cameras. Action!
Kallander says early March is a time to celebrate. The last week has been less than celebratory, though.
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The NCAA's investigation of conference member Coastal Carolina and its men's basketball program has cast a cloud over the final weekend of the regular season.
The NCAA is looking into whether junior guard Desmond Holloway, a transfer from Wabash (Ill.) Valley College, received impermissible benefits during his recruitment. Holloway was indefinitely suspended from the team last week.
Coastal Carolina (25-4) had the nation's longest winning streak at 22 games before Holloway's suspension. The Chants have lost two straight since and play at Charleston Southern today.
The New York Times broke the story wide open on Thursday.
The Times reported that former Coastal Carolina basketball player Marcus Macellari, who had his scholarship revoked, filed a formal complaint with the university alleging that other players had received impermissible benefits.
Macellari told the Times he spoke with an NCAA enforcement official before Thanksgiving and is quoted in the story as saying Holloway received a "care package full of stuff," including clothing.
If that allegation proves true, it would be a serious NCAA violation for coach Dale Ellis, his team and the school. It's the sort of charge that leads to games in which Holloway participated being forfeited. He played in 26 of CCU's 29 games.
Holloway made three huge shots at the Winthrop Coliseum to help Coastal Carolina beat the Eagles on Feb. 15, Holloway's last game before being suspended.
"Coach Ellis has a reputation for giving money, and I really honestly don't think Des would have come here if he wasn't getting special stuff," Macellari told the Times.
The story also reported that Kallander said members of the league had complained to him about Ellis' recruiting philosophy.
Kallander told The Herald on Friday that he has heard, for some time, from Big South administrators that they'd like a resolution to the Coastal Carolina situation as quickly as possible. As in, prior to the tournament.
"If there is a way to get a resolution, we'd like to do that," Kallander said. "If we are in a position to make a decision, we will. I have to be fair to everyone, including Coastal Carolina University. We have to see all sides."
Timing is a big concern. The NCAA has to do its job investigating the allegations. Kallander and the Big South cannot make any decisions on CCU's tournament seeding until the NCAA has completed its investigation.
As it stands, Coastal is the league's No. 1 seed.
What if the allegations are found to be true, say, in two weeks or a month from now? Is it fair that the Chanticleers would have kept the No. 1 seed, and the home court advantage in the tournament that comes with that seed? Wouldn't that be a black eye for the league?
Kallander, in his 15th year as conference commissioner, finds himself in a dilemma. He is caught in the middle. The NCAA trumps his authority. It appears Big South administrators would like to have Kallander push the NCAA's handling of the matter. As commissioner, he has to be fair to all.
"I can sympathize with Kyle's position," Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman said.
Hickman read the Times article. He said it clarified why Coastal Carolina declared Holloway ineligible.
"I kind of think the Big South's hands are tied, at least in terms of handling the upcoming tournament," Hickman said. "Kyle sent an e-mail out to all Big South ADs and presidents on Tuesday more or less letting everyone know that the league was working on the issues. I just think (the Big South) is in a hard spot."
Kallander has dealt with a few issues like this in his time with the conference. This one is different. This one is tougher.
"From a timing standpoint there is nothing that equates to this," he said. "It's the end of season and leading up to the tournament. I wish there was some clarity to the situation and how it is going to be resolved. I'd like to focus on the event and the achievements of student athletes. I want to go into the week to celebrate. We hope, once we get into the tournament, we can do that."
There is no timetable from NCAA on when they expect to wrap things up in Conway and only a change in the conference standings will affect the tournament seedings.
"Seedings are what they are, until something changes them," Hickman said.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press said on Friday afternoon that Coastal Carolina reported violations regarding its men's basketball team to the NCAA last summer. A statement from the university to The Associated Press on Friday said the allegations were brought to the school's attention before the season began and President David DeCenzo ordered them turned over to the NCAA.
Why did it take so long for an investigation to commence?