April 5. 2008
SPORTSMANSHIP IS DEAD
Recently I sent a letter to my local newspaper’s Letters to the Editor website and waited to see if they would publish my concerns. Silly me…I should have known better, because the content of my remarks addressed a subject that many institutions do not want to hear.
After viewing many football games, I became convinced that SPORTSMANSHIP IS DEAD. When is the all-powerful pompous emperor of the NCAA going to address flips into the end zone, taunting, late hits out of bounds, and vicious hits to the head that will surely result in death or permanent injury of some innocent athletes? During several games I saw blatant examples of poor sportsmanship that only resulted in merely a 15 yard penalty and then team members were patting the offender on the back when they returned to the sidelines. Why are the violators of vicious rule violations of good sportsmanship not thrown out of the game?
In my opinion, the over-paid, all-knowing leader of the NCAA, Miles Brand, continues to ignore the obvious need for prompt action. All of the money that the NCAA sports generate for the educational institutions and their overpaid coaches has frozen the NCAA into a state of inaction. The NCAA airs their self-congratulating ads about good sportsmanship and yet they let thugs run rampant on the football field. This problem is clearly caused by a few under-coached, self-absorbed individuals and fortunately does not represent the thousands of honest, play-by-the rules athletes.
Where are Miles Brand and the NCAA in addressing the obvious violations to the NCAA rules when student athletes live in expensive off-campus housing and are seen driving expensive luxury automobiles? Wake-up Miles! Ignoring the abuse of the NCAA rules only promotes the growth of infractions by young, irresponsible individuals. I suspect Miles Brand is too busy cashing his inflated monthly check to address the hard issues and instead places his misguided ethical edict in demanding the elimination of harmless team mascot names.
The same concerns expressed about college sports can also be said about the National Football League. Unpunished criminals roam the fields every Sunday and ex-players suffer permanent untreated injuries, while the League’s bank account swells. You will not see anyone addressing these problems when you keep paying the ever increasing outrageous ticket prices. I predict that you will see prompt indignant government action when some poor player gets killed.
The recent decision by basketball Coach Tom Crean to join Indiana University is troubling when he announced his decision was based upon his ability to join a basketball program of great integrity. Where has Tom Crean been the last two years when Kelvin Sampson was accused of numerous NCAA recruiting violations and player mutiny? Yes, Indiana basketball has a great history of being a basketball powerhouse, but it has been a place of turmoil for years since the long overdue firing of erratic, legendary Bobby Knight. I wonder if Tom Crean told the young impressionable Marquette players he recruited that he was leaving to accept tens of millions of dollars with a program in total disarray? The young Marquette player’s played their hearts out for Tom and he kissed them off to satisfy his greed. Believe me; Tom was not starving in the Marquette pay line.
It will be interesting to see how IU’s new head coach addresses the issue of the two players that were recently thrown off the team by the then interim coach (Dan Dakrich). Will greed or sportsmanship prevail?
While I am on my soap-box…The current steroid scandal impacting Major League Baseball is a total joke. Where have Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the team owner’s, and baseball’s labor union leader’s been sticking their heads? The matter is now out into the open and they must quickly set some firm rules to reestablish the integrity of the game. Any further violation of the new rules should result in prompt suspension of playing time and salary, or a permanent life-time ban. Only when the players are hit firmly in their over-stuffed pocketbooks will we see a return to Sportsmanship on the playing field.
The Washington political hearings were a total farce and accomplished nothing, but provided the politicians a platform to pontificate their deep and abiding concern for the purity of baseball. Where was their concern when the unusual increase in home runs began to take place? Don’t we know that politicians only get involved after the fact or just before an election, and their solutions are always totally deluded in compromise?
I am certain that many heroes of my youth are turning over in their graves. Permitting money and greed to dominate all sports is the sin being perpetrated on today’s fan. This problem will continue to prevail until the fan stands-up and stops paying exorbitant ticket prices.