Today, after thinking about everything that has happened in college football this year, I posted this on my blog. I thought I would share it with my Bama brethren. I think a lot of you feel this way as well. Roll Tide.
College Football has a come to Jesus Talk With the Bandit Ref
Hey College Football. How was your thanksgiving? Great. Listen, we need to talk. This season has done a lot of damage to our sport. A lot of fans are really upset. And I am not talking about the usual getting upset because their team lost. Fans are angry with the sport. There are some big problems that we need to talk about and deal with.
First, what happened to our moral compass? We know college football is big money. We understand that making that big money is very important to a lot, if not all, the big heads of this sport. But is money the most important thing? We live in a culture that is more than happy to mortgage its future for its present. Look at the debt the average American has. And we also live in a world of instant gratification. Having what you want now is all that matters. However, when we watch schools give away everything that makes them who they are just for a win its disgusting. Just look at USC (the one in Cali). We spoke with a USC alum and long time football supporter and he said this about the Reggie Bush fiasco: "Well, I remember us winning that National Championship and Heisman; As long as we have the memories it was worth it. The bowl ban is already half over." USC is an honored place of learning. It prepares young people to go out into the world and succeed in life. It is supposed to give not only knowledge, but a moral compass. This is the opinion of one man we understand. After talking to many Auburn fans over the last few days we can tell you though it's an opinion running rampant. Also, we would argue that having Lane Kiffin as head coach is the worst part of the punishment. Why would an Alum or fan of any school want to give up on their great tradition of being an institution of learning for football?
College football is important. We love college football. That is why we write about it everyday during the fall. Football, however, is still a game. And it always will be a game no matter how much money it makes. Too many institutions are putting this game before the real work of the university. Too many institutions are hanging their hat on athletic accomplishments. What a strange thing to be said in a sports blog, we know. Here is the key though: what made college football so great is the our school vs your school. The place that prepared me for the world vs the place that got you ready. When you take away the school, your just left with minor league football. And that is a problem that will affect the health of the sport.
College football could be said to be more popular now than ever before. And in many ways that is true. It also faces more competition from other forms of entertainment now than ever before. We are not saying that college football faces a certain doom. Of course not, it's not going to go away anytime soon. But it does face losing fans. If you take away the amateurism of college football it will lose something. It will lose its identity.
Now we know that the NCAA or SEC, Big 10, PAC 12 or any other group hasn't come out and said we are allowing players to be paid. By allowing things like Auburn's championship run this year; that is what you are saying. You are setting up a precedent by which a school will say "The win is worth a couple years of sanctions." If schools are making that choice--and to us its hard to argue that Auburn has not made that choice this year (see our Cam Newton Text Timeline)--then maybe its time to take the decision out of the schools' hands. We know that North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia sat players this year. This isn't happening at every school, but if you were North Carolina and you saw Auburn this year, what would you do if given a do-over? Will this be the last year we see schools act with institutional control? If you don't draw the line here, where do you draw it? When players make millions? If you don't respond to all broken rules equally what are your standards?
This is about more than just having teams that are cheating win. And lets not kid ourselves that's what it is --cheating. Think about the smaller schools. Can Baylor afford to keep up with a Texas if they start being "allowed" to buy players? This of course is just an example. There is no evidence or allegations that Texas bought any players (and if they did that was a piss poor investment). Of course Baylor can't. If this slippery slope is followed, the big kids on the block are only going to get bigger. And the little kids, well, they are going to fade away.
So what do we do about it? We have a few suggestions. First, go ahead and create some sort of playoff system. We all know that it's going to happen eventually. It's only a matter of when the BCS finally gives in. We aren't going to argue all the merits here. Simply put, it would create a more fair environment in college football. It doesn't have to be March Madness with 18,560 teams. We are particular fans of the Mandel Plan. And any argument that money would drop from this is just foolishness. March Madness brackets alone add so many viewers to the games. It would be huge. Next, let's tie the conferences to their college accreditation counterparts. For exapmle the SEC would be tied to the SACS. If the moral actions and academic standards of your athletic program were tied to your accreditation; following the rules would be much more important. Finally the NCAA needs unbiased regional directors, with the power to make decisions on eligibility immediately. The director for each region should be from another part of the country and not have any ties to the schools in his region. He would not be the judge that sentences you, but he could revoke your bail.
After all is said and done are we going to watch the bowls? Of course we are. And are we excited to see where our teams go. Again, of course we are. And will we watch a national championship between Auburn and Oregon. Bring it on. On a side note we would predict a combined score of around 200 for that game. (don't bet on the under) And there is always hope that an Auburn national championship would be the straw that blows up the BCS. But, there is a dark shadow this year. If you don't change, it may consume you.