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No Bull: Sports Lingo Explained

Victor E. Bull

Major vs. mid-major

Throughout basketball season and heading into the madness of March, the terms “major” and “mid-major” are often bandied about by the media, with little clarification on the exact difference between the two.

One gauge of a major conference is whether the conference is affiliated with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). Also, major con-ferences have teams that are nationally recognized, dominate the competition on an annual basis and typically receive the most tele-vised games. Examples of major teams are Duke, Syracuse and the University of Connecticut.

The definition of mid-major conferences (and the teams within them), varies but typically it is a conference that is not part of the BCS, yet garners at least one at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Mid-major teams do not receive the same national attention and tele-vision time as do major teams. UB has been recognized as a mid-major team, and Bulls men’s basketball head coach Reggie Witherspoon was named the “Mid-Major Coach of the Year” following the 2003–2004 season.

However, teams such as Gonzaga and Creighton challenge the traditional definition of mid-major with the television time and national success they have enjoyed in recent years.