I t was once said that sports not only builds character but that it reveals it as well. Does this lead in sound familiar? What was left out was the fact that sports also reflects society and what is held important by that society. This country claims to desire equity, fairness, and a level playing field. Are you hearing echoes of the past? Well things change from here.
Let’s get things rolling with college realignment. From regional grouping to highlight competition and rivalries to super conference money grabbing rule bending centers of greed, corruption, and hypocrisy. Dissolve the South West Conference and form the Big Twelve. A realignment for profit move if ever there was one. Yet there was a kind of regional grouping involved. Now there is a race to grow conferences from coast to coast to coast, and border to border. Forget the old rivalries, forget the fans, forget the traditions, and just grab the money. If we must travel down the road of super conferences then make and keep them regional, even, and equal. Divide the country into sixteen geographical regions and go from there. The universities could be further broken down as Texas does into groupings based on size.
Next, look at the coddling and enabling of athletes at all levels. From Pop Warner football to professional sports and all levels in between. Bounty gates have risen at every level of sports. In addition look at athletes who take the simplest of classes instead of a challenging, demanding, and rigorous curriculum. Athletes who’s failings are often excused by the phrase yes, but have you seen them play? From middle school on star athletes are held to both a different and lesser standard than the general student. Consider the many fans and boosters that break the letter as well as the spirit of rules and laws. Time after time the NCAA launches post infraction investigations that are apparently biased, spotty, and inconsistent. There are two paths to fix this problem one would be a federal/state investigation that results in criminal and civil penalties, or two for the NCAA to enlarge its investigative ability and hold all of its members to a higher standard along with this, more penalties for questionable actions and behaviors.
Collegiate sports under the NCAA has a playoff system in place for many sports, it should be for all of them. The beauty pageant system of deciding who plays for the football title is unacceptable. And speaking of unacceptable the arcane and mystical ways the NCAA determines some of the rewards and accolades is flawed. There needs to be a set of rules to follow to allow for consistent and logical choices to be made. Take the last two Heisman trophy winners. Yes RG3 is great but by what standard was he better than Case Keenum? Please excuse the spelling if I’m off. How was Johnny football better than the linebacker for Notre Dame? I’m not even going to try to spell his name. If this is an offensive reward then say so and publish a set of guidelines. If not then publish an objective set of rules to determine a fair winner. Or if it is in fact an offensive reward say so and again publish the guidelines to be used.
These seem like trivial things to worry over but there is another old saying if you take care of the small things the big ones take care of themselves. If we watch out for, argue about, and fix the minor then hopefully the major will never arise. I hope your Christmas was blessed and the New Year will find you well. Talk to you again in 2013, sounds ominous doesn’t it?
ROY POKLADNIK, a teacher and problem solver welcomes comments and suggestions for topics . may be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org.