MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Security is the hot topic at the Final Four.
Coaches say they worry about keeping their jobs when Tennessee can fire 20-game winner Jerry Green.
They worry, too, about the future of established preseason tournaments such as the Maui Invitational, Great Alaska Shootout and Preseason NIT.
Proposed NCAA legislation would eliminate preseason tournaments that do not count toward the 28-game limit, coaches said at the National Association of Basketball Coaches news conference Thursday.
Money, of course, is at the root of each concern.
The coaches fear it no longer is enough to win 20 games, reach the NCAA tournament and graduate players. But their NBA-level salaries give athletic directors and alumni reason to demand more from them.
"The bar of success or failure has been raised all the way to the last weekend," Kansas coach Roy Williams said.
Williams said "stunned" wasn't strong enough to describe his reaction to the firing of Green, his former assistant coach.
"I think you could use the word 'appalled,"' he said.
NCAA president Cedric Dempsey, in a separate news conference, expressed his concern about what he called an "arms race" in coaching salaries. Yet he admitted playing a part in it when he was athletic director at Arizona.
"I hired a coach for well over half a million," said Dempsey, referring to Final Four coach Lute Olson. "I was told to balance the budget and fill the stadium, and he's done a pretty good job.
"Is that right? I don't think so."
The coaches believe the need to generate revenue is behind a proposal that could eliminate most of the preseason tournaments in Hawaii and Alaska as soon as the 2002-03 season.
"I think it's the bottom line again," Purdue coach Gene Keady said. "One or two home games will make $200,000. That means making money rather than spending money to go to these tournaments."
The coaches said the tournament creates opportunities for schools from mid-major conferences to play elite programs on a neutral court that would not exist otherwise. They also played down the argument that the tournaments create missed class time, since most are played at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"We have never missed as much class going to Alaska or Maui as we do going to the NCAA tournament," Williams said.
The coaches also contend that the tournaments are a broad-based experience available to schools at all levels. Schools from all 31 conferences were represented in last season's tournaments.
Former Big Ten Conference commissioner Wayne Duke, director of the Maui Invitational, said it would be a "travesty" if the games are discontinued. He has tournament fields lined up through 2005.
"It's all about the zeros" at the end of contracts, Williams said. "Wayne Duke doesn't give enough zeros to get us to Maui."
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