Posted: Thursday April 28, 2005 3:03PM; Updated: Thursday April 28, 2005 3:03PM
Ask the 2004 Auburn Tigers if the BCS is fair.
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If you're going to list the more incongruous pairings out there these days, one must include Jane Fonda's autobiography and the Marine Corps Book Club; Britney Spears and good taste; and the Washington Redskins and savvy personnel decisions.
Don't forget the American Football Coaches Association and the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics, a faculty group. Football coaches and professors have always been sworn enemies on the collegiate battleground. Or so we thought. Dr. Pointyhead won't pass Star Quarterback in his Comparative Video Game Systems course. Coach Billy Bob gets steamed. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
But the two sides have been brought together by the specter of a 12th Division I (both I-A and I-AA sectors will be eligible) regular-season football game, which is likely to be approved Thursday by the NC2A Board of Directors. Thanks to substantial cheerleading by the nation's athletic directors, the Board has been convinced that the chance to add a seventh home game will allow schools to get new uniforms for the field hockey squad and pay for those gridiron necessities like hotel stays for teams the night before home games. The ADs love the extra contest. The coaches don't. Neither do the profs. And if anybody bothered to ask the players, they wouldn't be too thrilled by it, either -- who wants to do more work for the same non-existent wages?
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The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics weighed in against the concept, too, arguing that the NC2A's new academic reforms need time to take hold and force some institutional changes before players are put at further risk of not graduating by athletic departments which give lip service to education. "The coaches and the people who are closest to the players know that each one of these games is a huge psychological and physical ordeal," says Knight Commission chairman (and president of Wake Forest), Dr. Thomas K. Hearn. "We believe that enhancing the number of games enhances the ordeal."
It's one thing if the NFL wants to go to 18 games. Or 20. That's a business decision by a sporting corporation. But when the NC2A raises the regular-season ante, after years of telling us how instituting a playoff is impossible because it would put too much strain on the players, something must be done. College football is spinning out of control, with several selfish interests conspiring to drown it in excess.
It's time for reform. And it's up to Myles Brand to do it.