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Marques Pfaff
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Autonomy for the Big 5: College Athletics Shifting Closer to Massive Overhaul

Thursday, Aug, 7 2014

It’s no secret the almighty dollar ultimately governs everything in this world and amateur athletics is no exception. On the show today I brought up the issue of autonomy for the big five conferences (i.e. ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 & SEC)  in college football and whether it’s ultimately a good thing for all parties involved. While there will almost certainly be some good that comes from this vote today – in particular for student-athletes at major athletic institutions – I hesitate to say it will extend to all NCAA Division I members.

If you missed the story don’t worry, you’re not alone. Given the potential impact of this decision on college athletics, it received very little in the way of publicity. Here’s a brief synopsis; the NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted in favor of allowing the power conferences to create and implement their own rules such as additional stipends and insurance benefits not currently covered by a scholarship. The vote will also allow these conferences some additional freedom in recruiting rules. This is a watered down explanation and I encourage everyone to check out Stewart Mandel’s article explaining things better (link below).

On the surface, this might sound great for a select number of athletes at what I’ll call the power institutions … and quite frankly it is. The problem arises in that you’ve effectively created a new level of football within the FBS. The smaller schools can’t keep up. Even if given the opportunity, there is absolutely NO WAY a school from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) or Mountain West can offer that same type of package to a potential student-athlete given the budgets these schools work with. The rich get richer and the college landscape continues to inch towards a change of massive proportion. In a system that favors a select number of schools – and all because of money – how can the current model of amateurism hold up? It can’t … and it won’t.

Consider a prospective football student-athlete choosing between a MAC school in which he could start right away, or an ACC school in which he’ll likely need to ride the bench for two years before seeing any kind of action. In the past, this individual may have chosen the MAC school simply to get on the field sooner … but how can anyone reasonably do that now given all the financial benefits associated with attending a power five conference. Now this rule won’t be applicable to many student-athletes whose only real chance to play comes outside the power conferences … but it will have a major effect on the many who are borderline. So while this decision will almost certainly have a positive effect on athletes at power schools, it also further solidifies the fact that money rules college athletics and the rich get richer.

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/ncaa-division-i-autonomy-vote-sec-mike-slive-power-5-080514

posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 1 month ago Comment On This Post


NFL's Explanation of Rice Penalty Fails Miserably

Monday, Jul, 28 2014

I think the majority of people in this country last week were taken aback when Roger Goodell and the NFL issued what amounted to a slap on the wrist for Ravens running back Ray Rice. You’ll recall Rice is the man caught on video literally dragging his unconscious fiancé from an Atlantic City elevator in February of this year after a bout of domestic violence. The story and video itself are enough to make most of us cringe but the NFL’s subsequent two-game suspension of the star was an absolute joke and the public outcry was loud and boisterous. That all being said, I’m not sure the NFL has ever looked as foolish as they did today upon sending NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch to the ESPN airwaves today in an effort to justify the suspension. Where to begin with this ridiculousness …

First of all, why are we hearing from Adolpho Birch and not Roger Goodell on this matter? It’s clear that since he took office in 2006, Goodell has been the face of this league and has final say on all disciplinary matters. His failure to address the matter personally illustrates a complete lack of respect for the public outrage and the issue at hand. Add Goodell’s absence to the absurd explanation provided by Birch and you have, for the first time in recent memory, an actual black eye for all-powerful National Football League.

“So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we’ve done that,” said Birch.

Oh really? In Birch’s eye, it appears that even the smallest of penalties for the most severe of crimes is enough to send a message. Look, I realize it’s an extreme example but you wouldn’t sentence someone convicted of murder to two weeks in the state penitentiary and you can’t issue a two game suspension to someone involved in domestic violence – it just doesn’t fit.

Birch continued, “It is multiple games and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think that’s fair to say that doesn’t reflect that you condone the behavior. I think we can put that to rest.”

No, we can’t put it to rest. Until an appropriate punishment is handed down, the public should continue to look upon the NFL as a league that just doesn’t care. Sure, they’ll deck the halls in pink for October’s breast cancer awareness month but that ultimately amounts to another opportunity to line their pockets with alternative merchandise sales. The bottom line is this, when repeat drug offenders in the NFL receive a four-game suspension while “targeting” on the field of play can earn you one, a two-game suspension for someone guilty of domestic violence is downright wrong. I’m not sure I have an answer for what an appropriate penalty would be but I will suggest it should more than either of these offenses. And the fact the NFL can’t see that and would go so far as to defend the punishment is disheartening to say the least. Until we receive more information to justify the NFL’s position, I will continue to be appalled by what has transpired in this case. It’s an absolute joke.

posted by: The Big One with Marques Pfaff 1 month ago Comment On This Post


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