I want to circle back to a couple of my previous comments to provide an update. Earlier this week, I mentioned that the Prosper, TX Independent School Distract had a referendum item on the ballot yesterday. Folks there sought voter approval to issue about $104M worth of bonds and to use $94M of that total to build a new football stadium for the high school team there. Well, the people of Prosper, TX have spoken; there were four bond items on the ballot and the stadium proposal was “Proposition C”:
- Proposition C was voted down yesterday – – 5,533 voted NO and 4,767 voted YES.
- The other three propositions all passed handily – – to upgrade school technology, to build new school buildings and to build a performing arts center.
It seems that sanity prevailed yesterday in Prosper, TX …
Next, I said recently in one of my Football Friday rants that James Madison University was not eligible to play in a bowl game this year for reasons that I did not understand at the time. Well, as of this morning, there are seven Division 1-A teams that are undefeated in 2023. Five of those seven are the ones ranked in various orders between #1 and #5 in the various national polls we all glance at. The other two are:
- Liberty (9-0)
- James Madison (9-0)
I think it is a bit snobbish – – yet understandable – – for the college football overlords to declare that neither of these two schools has played a sufficiently vigorous schedule to grant them access to a New Year’s Day Bowl Game.
- Liberty has dominated Conference-USA which has 9 teams – – four of which have lost 7 or more games so far in 2023. Liberty’s out of conference games have mainly been MAC teams. Liberty is clearly the best of that lot and should earn Liberty a bowl bid outside the major games on New Year’s Day.
- James Madison is dominating the Sun Belt Conference which is not nearly a Power-5 conference but seems to me to be a step up from Conference-USA in “difficulty”. JMU is not bowl-eligible in 2023 because of an obscure NCAA rule.
Supposedly as a deterrent to schools seeking to move up from Division 1-AA to Division 1-A (tougher competition and bigger revenues), the NCAA has in its massive rulebook that any team that “moves up” shall be ineligible for bowl games in its first two years at the Division 1-A level. In most cases, that rule never needs to be invoked because as results for this year demonstrate, teams that step up in the first year or two never come close to winning 6 games to make themselves bowl eligible. This year, the only school “stepping up” so to speak is Sam Houston St. as of this morning Sam Houston St. has a record of 1-8 playing in Conference-USA.
James Madison left Division 1-AA and joined Division 1-A last year in 2022. In its first year of tougher competition, JMU finished with a record of 8-3 and sat out the bowl game season while other teams with records of 6-6 played on. So, it would seem to me as if JMU has already paid some penance for exhibiting the audacity of trying to compete with the “big boys”. And now in 2023, they need to do more penance? To what end?
This inequity seems so simple to resolve; the new NCAA president, Charlie Baker, could simply declare that he was issuing a one-time waiver for that rule and that he declares JMU eligible for bowl invitations from any bowl that might want them to participate. I am not a consumer of minor bowl games on TV – – but I would find a way to watch JMU play one of the “middle-of-the-pack Power-5 teams” just to see how good these upstarts are with their 9-0 record. How about:
- JMU (9-0) versus West Virginia (6-3) in the Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit. MI) on Dec. 26th.
- The two schools are less than 200 miles apart.
- Fans of both teams can get to Detroit on short-hop flights.
So let it be written … so let it be done!
One last circle-back today … I mentioned that Michigan St. basketball got off to an unexpectedly rocky start earlier this week losing to James Madison in OT. Well, just to assure you that much of the rest of the early-season college basketball world is functioning normally, consider this result from out west:
- St. Mary’s CA 107
- Stanislaw St. 28
St Mary’s made the NCAA Tournament last March, won its first-round game and was eliminated in the second round by the eventual National Champion UConn Huskies.
Stanislaw St. – – more fully, California State University – Stanislaw – – is a Division 2 basketball team that plays in the CCAA – – more fully, the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Stanislaw St. has a schedule with entries such as:
- Cal State – Dominguez Hills
- Sonoma State
- Chico State
- Cal Poly – Humboldt
In that 79-point debacle against St. Mary’s, Stanislaw St. shot 9 for 58 from the field (that is 15.5% in case your calculator is not handy) and were outrebounded by St. Mary’s 58-16. Why was this “game” allowed to happen?
Finally, the JMU situation as described here is an injustice as was that basketball game on the St. Mary’s schedule; so, let me close today with the definition if “injustice” from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Injustice: A wrong characterized by a lack of fairness or equity. For example, the fact that a person named Kevin Federline was ever famous for one single day is an injustice of the highest order.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………