You want to know why some people just cannot stop themselves from beating a dead horse? Because it is so easy… Indulge me for a moment today; I am going to flog a dead carcass that is tainting the sporting landscape. Naturally, I speak of the over-abundance of college football bowl games. These meaningless events serve only 2 purposes and neither is noble:
- They provide ESPN and other sports networks with programming which provides a revenue stream to schools/conferences.
- They provide a “tourism attraction” to host cities thereby bringing revenue from outside that city to that city.
That’s it; that’s the list.
Once we recognize that 40 college bowl games are nothing more than a bald-faced money-grab, we can point out what it is and try to ignore the games that mean nothing. Believe me; that is what I try to do – until hypocrisy gets heaped on top of the money-grab and then I am drawn back to the thinking about the whole mess. If I allege that there is hypocrisy associated with the college bowl games, it should not take a Stephen Hawking-level intellect to figure out from where said hypocrisy might emanate. Indeed, you are correct; it comes from the NCAA.
We have had to tolerate the NCAA’s unfounded assertion that college athletes are amateurs; they are student-athletes. Moreover, to protect college athletes from corrupting influences, the NCAA writes and enforces a ton of rules; one of the foundation pieces of that entire rule book is this principle:
- Student-athletes should not have any access to any privilege or any stature or any element of college life that is not also available to the student body at large.
Forget about the obvious violations of that principle like athletic dorms and the like. The topic here is how does this apply to bowl games? Here is a link to a table published at sportsbusinessdaily.com. Let me quote the heading for the table:
“Welcome to SportsBusiness Journal’s 11th annual rundown of the gift packages provided by college football’s bowl game organizing committees. Click here to read more about the stories behind some of the gifts and gift suites — private shopping events for game participants — and here to learn how much money in gifts the CFP champion could take home.”
These “gift packages” are approved and sanctioned by the NCAA as the overseeing body for college athletics. Please note that these “gift packages” are not available to the student bodies at the participating schools. But these “tokens of appreciation” from the organizers of the bowl games – that generate revenue streams – are perfectly all right because the NCAA says so.
I do not mean to imply in any way that the players should not receive their “gift packages”. I hope they all enjoy whatever they get from the organizing committees. And along with that wish, I hope that at least someone who writes or enforces the NCAA rules develops a case of agita bad enough that he/she cannot sleep for a week.
Moving on … Yesterday (December 8th), there was an article at CBSsports.com with this headline:
Top 10 NCAA Tournament Résumés
The picture associated with this article made it clear that the “NCAA Tournament” involved here was the men’s basketball tournament in March. This is “bracketology” under a different name and changing the name does not make it smell any less fetid. At this point in the college basketball season, a large fraction of the 350-or-so Division 1 basketball schools have yet to play a meaningful game let alone an important one.
Fifty years ago, The Byrds sang:
“To everything – Turn! Turn! Turn
There is a season – Turn! Turn! Turn! …”
Let me take a deep breath and say this slowly and calmly:
- Early December is not the “season” to be examining college basketball résumés. There are not enough useful entries there yet.
Examining a basketball résumé about now is sort of like reading a memoir written by a teenager. My guess is that if you were given such an oeuvre, you would not pay a whole lot of attention to it for very long. There is a simple reason for that; it is highly unlikely that a typical teenager’s memoir would contain anything worth serious consideration. That is the state of affairs for college basketball teams as of this morning…
A couple of weeks ago, Bob Molinaro had this item in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot. It happens to speak to women’s college basketball but it also is relevant to the current “state of play” in the men’s game in early December:
“Coachspeak: What would you call a women’s exhibition basketball game between highly ranked Maryland and Division II Bluefield State College which ended 146-17 after Maryland outscored their victims 72-0 in the second half? Maryland coach Brenda Frese called it a “good tune-up.” Not the first words that leap to my mind.”
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Rock of the Deseret News earlier this week:
“Big Mac creator Jim Delligatti died at 98, last week.
“Here’s to the man who provided countless lunches to countless teams on countless bus trips.
“He deserves a break today.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………