Smerls31’s Quick Hitters

  • The NCAA as we have known it is going away, traditionalists be damned. College athletics has a system that has long outgrown its funtionality and it’s time for a change. Everything about college athletics has changed. The requirements to earn a scholarship have changed, the number of student athletes has increased, the age kids get recruited has gottten younger, the money the universities and the NCAA make has increased, the hours the athletes put in have increased…but the antiquated NCAA Rule Book remains the same. The recent ruling by the NLRB agreeing that athletes are employees, suggests that certain other things will be changing soon…like that rule book.
  • If you defended the character assassination of Richard Sherman by the media, then you should defend Johnny Manziel as well. He’s suffering from the same misguided character assassination by the media albeit for different reasons. I guess to the media everyone they don’t like is a punk.
  •  A lot of time is spent lauding the benefits of a college education when it applies to college basketbal players. I never hear this discussed much amongst the other major sports. The NFL is understandable because players cannot exit before their 3rd year out of high school. Approximately 47% of NFL players have 4 year degrees. Much to my surprise 21% of NBA players have 4 year degrees as of 2012 according to the New York Times. That brings me to MLB. According to STATS LLC. In 2012 out of 917 players on baseball rosters, only 39 had 4 year degrees. That’s 4%. I wonder why we don’t hear more about that.
  • Carmelo Anthony? Why not? All he’s done is lead his team to the playoffs every year in his career (2003-Current) except this one with the disfunctional Knicks including a 54 win season just last year. Oh and he averages 25ppg for his career. You don’t find guys like that everyday.

Top 5 Things We Know About NCAA Sports

1. March Madness is the most exciting time of the year.

People who don’t watch college basketball or sports in general, show up at tournament time. Brackets are filled out in offices around the country and every underdog in the country takes center stage. This time of year puts a dollar value on the term “longshot”.

2. College baseball and college hockey don’t matter.

ESPN can televise the College World Series and the Frozen Four til the cows come home. No one cares. That is all.

3. The Fighting Irish will be overrated.

I’m an Irish fan and even I know the football team won’t be at the top consistently ever again. Other schools have more to offer now than just tradition. TV deals, elaborate facilities,  fancy uniforms…and better weather for starters.

4.  The head coach will leave.

Why wouldn’t he? Millions of dollars being thrown at you to upgrade. No penalty for lying to recruits. Integrity not a requirement for the job. There’s always someone better lookin than the one you’re with I guess.

5. The NCAA will NEVER be about the student athlete.

So much to say here. But look, just a few things Mark Emmert and the NCAA could do to give the impression that they care about kids.
– lift the transfer requirement that scholarship athletes must sit out a year.
– pay lifetime medical if an athlete is injured in sport.
– allow scholarship athletes to work
– make conferences align regionally to cut down travel time.
– let all athletes return to scholarship play if they declare and enter the draft….even if they get drafted. (As baseball does)

How Football Is Shaping American Culture

Football is now by far the most popular sport in our country. As Howie Long said, “Baseball is America’s past time but football is America’s passion”. In my mind this has never been more true than it is today. The NFL ratings are topping the all time viewing marks on a weekly basis.  There’s an NFL Network, an NFL Mobile App, and each Super Bowl is the most watched show of all time. College football ratings and attendance are at an all time high, college bowls are paying out incredible amounts and college coaches can retire after one contract.  Even high school recruiting is a business and signing day is covered like the NFL Draft.  So it stands to reason that the football consuming public would follow daily football stories like soap operas. And these stories, football stories, are beginning to define our culture. 

Take for example the most recent stories.  Richard Sherman’s rant after the NFC Championship Game that garnered so much attention and now the story that Co SEC Defensive Player of the Year and certain NFL draft pick Michael Sam, is gay. These stories matter to us, but why?  Because the responses to these stories represent how America feels about on going controversial issues, like bigoted perceptions of black men/athletes and gay rights.   Bingo, just like that these issues become national topics of discussions and the delivery system; football.

Let’s dig a little deeper. The NFL concussion issue.  This issue of the long term brain damage that occurs based of repeated concussions is a big enough deal that the NFL actually settled a law suit with former players (currently being reviewed by appellate court) for several hundred milliions. But for the rest of the country at issue is youth football and whether or not we are putting our kids at future risk by allowing them to play football. With hundreds of thousands of kids participating in youth and high school football, this is a huge parenting concern.  And the new show on cable called Friday Night Tykes shines a spotlight on how parents push their kids in sport.  Parenting is always a concern for our country and for these two particular parenting issues, the delivery system; football.

There are many issues that football has highlighted for us in the recent past including, gun ownership, marijuana use, mental health issues, drunk driving, and the need for labor unions…to name a few. All major topics of discussion for our country right now brought to you in football context, every week during the NFL season and beyond.  Each of these topics makes America think about, discuss and then choose a side based on these things affect us. Our responses are real actionable responses because a lot of the issues are real issues we face daily.   A reality show in the truest sense. And it really hits home.