College Uncategorized

Rip Off! Academic College Students Forced to Subsidize Big-Time Athletic Programs

By Diane M. Grassi

The term “redistribution of wealth” has become a well-known and familiar phrase bandied about amongst political elite and used as a wedge issue to conveniently spin U.S. federal and state economic policy. And yet implementation of such policies stretches well beyond the Beltway or state houses.

To wit, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) brings new meaning to redistributing wealth, that might surprise many a passionate fan of big-time Division I college and university football and basketball.

College Football

Indianapolis, We Have a Problem

Indianapolis, We Have a Problem

We are in desperate need of a College Football Playoff System and I think everybody is aware of this fact sans the people who actually make these kinds of decisions—-I’m talking to you [NCAA]. Since 2004 there has been a volcanic ripple throughout the Continental US about the need for a playoff system in College Football. Hell, since 2003 actually. Let’s just take a generic look back: In 2003, LSU (a 1 loss team) played Oklahoma, a one loss team (who had just lost to Kansas State in the Big XII Championship Game) in the National Championship, leaving Southern California (USC) out of the mix. LSU dominated and won the game……THE Game to decide the BEST team in the country and still…..USC garnered enough AP votes to grant them a share of the Championship even though they did not play in it. So, to get this straight, LSU won the BCS Title Game but…..did not actually win it? USC did? This is at the baseline of why we need a Playoff System. More proof you ask?

In 2004, USC and Oklahoma were preseason ranked #1 and #2, respectively (and both fought for the Championship that year, OU lost again…Big…AGAIN) but what some forget is that Auburn, which started the year #17 went through the Gauntlet which is the SEC, undefeated: a beautiful, black-eyed and bloodied 13-0 and settled for less than they deserved. They DESERVED to be in the BCS Game, regardless. And Utah that year, Urban Meyer’s last before his Swamp’s tenure was undefeated as well. And how about 2006? Boise State left the loss column unblemished….and 2009? Boise State again did the same. Maybe the answer is (PSR) Preseason Rankings, which always leads to trouble. Take last year for example: Where was Texas ranked before last season even started? #4. Where did they end up? With one of the most successful college coaches to date on the Hot Seat. Offensive Coordinator: Fired. Defensive Coordinator: Fired. Strength & Conditioning Coach: Fired. Final Record for the #4 Preseason Ranked Longhorns? 5-7.

And how about this year? Let’s take Jimbo’s Juggernauts (I use that term loosely and for comedic effect only) as they started the year at a lofty #5. And what did they do? Lose to Oklahoma at home, lose to Clemson, Auburn and most recently Wake Forest. So again, what does that really tell us? It implies that we should denounce the Sacred Preseason Rankings as we know them.

Granted, PSR gives us, analysts and teams something to talk, brag and gloat about, but usually on Week [1 or 2] somebody has shut their mouth (2007 Michigan team) due to obvious over-rankings. We need—and should hold these rankings with a grain of salt but like the college football fanatics we are, we don’t. We fight for them. We dissolve every bit of logic in our minds for them. “Our team is ranked #5…..your team is not even ranked, ha!” And what happens? That unranked team whoops that pampered Top Team like a silly stepchild not really welcome in the family. PSR’s are nothing more than comic relief for the masses; they shuffle more swiftly than a Caesar’s Palace Blackjack Dealer. We need a fair& balanced start—-carte blanche for everybody; a ranking system similar to the BCS which does not come out until Week 7. Where tangible efforts can be calculated and measured versus “hype” and incoming Blue Chip promises.

The football landscape needs a transparent vehicle for reaching the Title Game, not a series of computers telling us who should play. There are mountainous roadblocks shouldering that outlook but if we can’t negotiate the terrain I suggest we dynamite our way through. You hear things such as, “The [BCS] system works”, “A playoff system is bad for the sport” but whose mouths utter those phrases are the Brass of Conferences and the crooked inept and in serious need of change itself, NCAA. As if they have not witnessed the sort of chaotic conclusion I’ve been talking about before, this year might pave the way for a Playoff System like never before. Take the Top 8 AP ranking teams as an example:

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Boise State
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Stanford
  8. Clemson

While history is not on my theoretical side, of these 8 (undefeated) teams, two will have at least one loss: Alabama plays host to LSU [Nov. 5] and Oklahoma visits OK State on Dec. 3. So, in taking that in, we could easily have 6 undefeated teams by seasons end. But only two will vie for the Title Game. Is it really fair that either LSU or Alabama, by far the best two teams in the country, may have to settle for the Cotton Bowl? To me, the disparity between them and everybody else is as vast as Chris Christie’s waistline. Take this scenario: They play each other in less than a month and one will lose, and will probably not have the chance to play in the SEC Championship. So say Alabama wins and heads to Atlanta to play their SEC East counterpart and loses, that SEC East team will automatically head to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl. That leaves the BCS committee to take only one other SEC team—Alabama, to play in the Fiesta Bowl lets say….that would leave LSU to play in the Cotton Bowl. And you could play the same scenario with OU and OKST which play on the last week.

And not trying to forget the others (Stanford and Boise State jumping up and down, waving their hands, “What about us!?”) but a team like Clemson, should they not have a sporting chance at the Title with what they’ve done thus far? And even with their Candyland-ish schedule Boise would now have 3 undefeated seasons in the last 6 years and one year removed from that heartbreaking one-loss season. Should they not have a shot to finally hoist the Coaches’ Trophy?

The practical answer that we will have 6 zero loss teams at the end is No. Highly unlikely. But if we do? Rabid Badger, Cardinal, Bronco and every other avid college football fan in the country will rightly and justly have an anchored and documented assault for uprooting the BCS system while the “Brass” of College Football will most definitely be left in an unnerving and cataleptic state and hopefully….maybe….just maybe…..they will wake up and see things for [not] what they are but instead for how things need to be. I understand about the possibility of guaranteed revenue lost, slimming the regular season schedule, rivalry shredding and reshaping the Bowl itinerary but this is something that must be done. For the players that sweat and bleed day in day out. For the coaches’ 100 hour work week and rapidly graying hair because of it. For the fans that hold their team in higher regard than their mom’s home cooking. It must be accomplished for all of the above and more.

A College Football Playoff may be on the horizon but we just might need something that hurts our sport to get us there… 6 undefeated teams.

Much Sports Love,



Sports Chained to Big Business, Gambling & Corruption

By Diane M. Grassi

The title of this report may come as no revelation to avid sports fans, business movers and shakers, and the politically connected, but every once in a while, it is worth taking stock of those most prominent in a field ripe for deception, deniability, and its penchant for unaccountability.

While the names Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Derek Jeter need no introduction, even to non-sports fans, few people would ably recognize the name Ted Forstmann. Forstmann reigns over arguably the most powerful agency in all of sports and Hollywood and represents the individual interests of the likes of Messrs. Woods, Federer, Nadal, and Jeter.

College Football

Bullies like Jeff Tedford have no business in college athletics

Let me be clear about this: before Saturday night, I had nothing against California head coach Jeff Tedford. Nothing. I had nothing against his personality, his coaching, his demeanor. Nothing. So if you think I’m just biased against him or Cal for any reason, you’re wrong.

But after last night, after the press conference in which he called out his kicker, I do have something against coach Tedford, and this will be the last time I refer to Tedford as a coach. Because after Saturday, I don’t see any way anyone could possibly call his actions those of a coach.

College Football

College Football Week 6: HALF-Time!!!

First off, I’m sorry to the futile few who missed last week’s article which I obviously did not produce. I was extremely swamped with work and had zero time to compose a piece; hopefully this article will make up for that absence. On to more important things now! We are halfway through the regular season of CFB which is sad but it is what it is. Some transparent occurrences happened and some others that were less veiled. Bottom line: We can now predict this season about as accurately as we can predict Charlie Sheen’s drug and domestic abuse problems…..which is not saying much at all. There are still a ton of games that have influential value on this season’s BCS champion and we’ll get to the games that have the gavel effect later. In the meantime, let’s recap the weekend Minions!

College Football

Gold Isn’t Worth Its Weight In Gold

Maybe the irrelevance of the team shouldn’t bother me. Maybe their recent struggles shouldn’t impact my personal judgment of the program. Maybe the name should still scare me. Maybe they should still be a measuring stick. I mean, they have won “11” national championships (that number is debatable), have had 7 Heisman trophy winners and were a dominate force for about 80 years. Yeah they got history, tradition, pride and everything a major program could want. So maybe, I should give them more justice. The respective AP writers seem to, so why shouldn’t I?

College College Football

Long Live The BCS

You can thank the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. You can thank Don Myers. You can thank Sunkist. Hell, you can even thank Penn State and Miami. The highest rated game in the history of college football put the BCS on the map and controversy on the horizon.

For the past 6-8 years, teams from non-BCS conferences have started to make some noise: Utah, Boise State, BYU, Hawaii and TCU for the most part.  These teams have started to match the perennial powers of college football and even win against them. These teams are so intimidating that 2 teams from non-BCS conferences were ranked in the top 6 for the first time in BCS existence. Are they deserving of such a ranking? Perhaps.  And to a lot of college coaches, preseason rankings are irrelevant, and for the most part they are correct. The BCS conferences flux during the season; rarely do a handful of teams run the tables.

However, a non-BCS conference team such as this year’s Boise State and TCU are very likely to go undefeated. The competition of their respective conferences is somewhat pitiful. This means for these teams, preseason rankings are everything. Boise has a clear path to the national title game, as does TCU. No BCS conference team can say that.

College Football

Our Favorite Time of Year

And so it is upon us once again. College Football Season. Christmas come early for so many of us. What any one of us would do or give up — 2 weeks worth of vacation time / Christmas or birthday presents/ that new car we hoped to buy / the Vegas trip with the boys that our wives and girlfriends “promised” we could go on this year– for the chance for our Laundry Liaisons of the Gridiron to hoist that prestigious Crystal (foot) ball up in the air. And the great thing about this year is that there are no one or two teams that everybody loves.

There seems to be a hope and glitter in most every college football fan’s eyes for this season. We could easily have our first back-to-back national champs since USC did it in 2003-2004. (Or did they really since this whole scandal approached them — thanks Reggie! –and USC did not even really play for the championship in 2003. But I digress.) Or could we have the first Non-BCS conference team hoist that trophy? I’m sure some angry hillbilly from Norman is waiting for that with his hunting rifle so he can blow it to smithereens. “Damn you Statue of Liberty! I mean fake Statue of Liberty!”

College Football

Price Mike Locksley Paid Too Small for His Crime

I would have written this a few weeks ago if I anticipated its outcome correctly. Obviously, I did not.

I thought the University of New Mexico was suspending head coach Mike Locksley as a pretense to fully relieving him of his duties, the standard “We’re suspending you without pay until our lawyers tell us how to fire you the cheapest.”

But, on Sunday, Locksley returned to his office in Albuquerque, N.M., resuming his duties as if nothing had ever happened.

What happened, of course, was that Locksley attacked receivers’ coach J.B. Gerald, leaving Gerald with a split lip and the accusation that Locksley punched him.

College Football

Second Chances, Forgiveness, Not Applicable for Everyone

This is good news. Well, it’s bad news, but for me it’s good news.

I’ve never believed in second chances, at least not when you do something this unethical. Now I have a second story to back me up.