I know for a fact teams that choose to play the conference it's just as good as it was back in the day if not better. The talent level is unreal, we can witch about the amount of teams but at the end of the day the 16 Major berths tourneys with cannon fodder in them back then too.
Its the other 99% of the teams that play throughout the country including local A/B/C teams that just don't have the money to play the conference.
Gone are the days that tournaments that really matter February through August. all a team has to do is just finish their season and pay their entries to worlds.
Whereas back in the day each tournament that you played during the year actually meant something.
If you were not chasing a NIT that was in your region you actually had to earn a berth by taking 1/2 place to get to labor day regionals.
Those NIT's were intense as @@@@ cuz they were far and few between from B to D and if you didn't qualify then you had to get your berth at Regionals and that was borderline impossible.
Well I'll go back to being that old man on the lawn.