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Eastern Washington’s Shantay Legans says mid-major upsets might become more rare with new college basketball reforms

Is March about to lose some of its Madness?

Eastern Washington basketball coach Shantay Legans agrees with most of the recommendations made Wednesday by the Commission on College Basketball.

Curtailing one-and-dones, approving independent investigations of possible wrongdoing and mandating stiffer penalties for offenses “make sense,” Legans said Wednesday.

However, Legans points out that that mid-major schools such as Eastern might find the upsets harder to come by if top-tier players aren’t allowed faster access to the NBA.

As Legans sees it, “when you see all those upsets, it’s usually the mid-majors who have the upperclassmen, beating up on the underclassmen” on a big-time school whose roster has been depleted by early departures.

Eastern has enjoyed a few of those upsets, notably at Indiana in 2014 and at Stanford this season.

If one-and-dones are eliminated, power schools will retain top-level talent for several seasons. That will mean more chemistry for the elite programs and possibly fewer bracket-busters in March.

Legans said he was pleased that the NCAA may get tougher on major offenses, including five-year postseason bans on programs and lifetime bans for coaches.

“I like the fact that if you cheat, it’s not going to be a slap on the wrist,” Legans said.

“(Currently) if you’re a head coach and you get fired for breaking the rules, another head coach will hire you because you have contacts,” Legans said.

In those cases, a demoted coach may see a salary drop from perhaps $1.5 million down to maybe half as much as an assistant. That’s a big cut, but Legans feels that some coaches will still take that chance.

The possibility of a lifetime ban “is going to weigh on people,” Legans said.

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