Losing The Heart

The latest allegations of wrongdoing by a college athletics program involving the University of Miami has been just about completely losing the heart for college football.  It is quite possibly the last straw in a pile of muck covered straws and for me it may be the end of the road.

I have always been a rules traditionalist.  In baseball, in college sports, in all sports really.  The rules are there and the rules should be followed and enforced.  End of story.  But that’s not the end of the story.  So many are now violating the rules.  So many are turning a blind eye.  So many want the rules done away with.  So many don’t think that rules matter at all.  I am in the minority.  Because of the culture of our society where superstars are allowed to do just about anything and not suffer the consequences of their actions and in some cases are even celebrated for their rule breaking, law breaking behavior, somebody breaking some NCAA rules is not even given a second thought.  In our “gangster” society where thugs have become idols of worship, getting money or prostitutes from a college football booster is something to be proud of in many quarters of our society.  Just not in mine.

I have long struggled with what to do about the rules in the NCAA.  Just like everything else, PEDs, etc.  there will always ALWAYS be those who are willing to provide the means to break the rules and there will ALWAYS be those willing to take what is offered.  That is never going to change.  So, do you enforce the rules even harder?  Do you make it where the athletes getting these rules breaking things actually suffer real and meaningful consequences?  I think if you are going to keep the rules that is the only thing that will even slightly curtail what is going on.  The current punishments against the schools, programs, coaches are doing nothing to curtail these activities.  The players get away with whatever they are doing unless they get caught IN THE ACT.  Then they lose their college eligibility.  But if they are stars and can go to the NFL, it does not matter.  The NFL does not care about a college athlete’s rules breaking.  They don’t care about the felons they have in their own league.

You can’t do as Mike Greenberg suggests and relax SOME of the rules.  What rules then do you do away with?  And if you’re going to do away with some, do away with them all.  There is no incentive for anyone to follow rules if some of the rules are gone.  If getting money is okay then getting a car is okay.  If getting a house is okay then getting a prostitute is okay.  You can’t have rules for some things and not others.  If you believe that the rules cannot be enforced and there is plenty of evidence to support that theory, then do away with ALL the rules.  Then, you end up with NFL type superstars in the college programs who are getting paid, getting houses, getting cars, getting women  – doing anything they want as long as they are playing and winning.  Character, ethics, rules, teaching anything of worth to these athletes becomes a nonissue.

I don’t know the answer.  I personally would like to see the rules actually enforced in a timely manner and enforced all the way to the players themselves with penalties that actually make people think twice about doing these things.  And it’s not for college athletics that I would like to see this.  It is for the athletes.  So that the schools aren’t turning out entitled, possibly criminal, and characterless people.   But again, I am in the minority.  Most people think that rules are just old fashioned and do nothing but cause trouble.  These same people think that rules in any sport or any area are something to just be overlooked.

For me, it may be the last straw.  I’ve just about lost all the heart for college football.  I know that not EVERY school does this….or maybe that’s naive as well.  I do know that winning has taken the place of character.  That money has taken the place of ethics.  That it is more acceptable to be a gangster than someone who does the right thing.  That rules are just words on a piece of paper instead of a way to teach young athletes how society should work.  That I can no longer watch the college football teams I’ve loved for most all my life without a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and losing my heart.

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