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July 14, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
According to a report in the Miami Herald, longtime CBS NCAA basketball announcer, Billy Packer, has called his last game. Packer, who has been breaking down Final Four games for the past 34 seasons, will be replaced by Clark Kellogg beginning this year.
''No one has ever loved the game of college basketball more than Billy Packer,'' Jim Nantz said recently. "He protects the heart and soul of the sport. Fans don't realize they owe Billy a thank-you."
Unfortunately, in the mind's of college basketball fans, they'll probably be glad to see Packer on his way out, who was never without his fair share of controversy.
In 1996, he called then-Georgetown guard Allen Iverson ''a tough monkey'' but later apologized and said he was trying to praise Iverson's relentless play.
In 2000, Packer publicly apologized to two Duke University students for sexist comments he allegedly made before a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. When students asked Packer to show his press pass, he reportedly said, ``Since when do we let women control who gets into a men's basketball game? Why don't you go find a women's game to let people into?''
Packer created a stir in 2006 when he blasted the inclusion of mid-majors in the NCAA Tournament. He repeatedly questioned the accuracy of Nielsen ratings and also blamed the NBA for raiding the sport of its young stars, which drew the ire of commissioner David Stern.
Despite all of the negativity directed his way (a majority of it well deserved), Packer, for the most part, understood the game, and his love for the sport found its way through the TV-screen (well, most of the time
). At the very least, it was probably about time for a new voice at the Final Four. Although, my vote would have been for Bill Raftery