Tomorrow, the NCAA's President, Mark Emmert, is going to announce "unprecedented" penalties against Penn State and their much vaunted football program. Experts are claiming that this will not include the death penalty, but that is not the point of this piece. The question here is thus. Would this have happened 20 years ago? Did the media force this on the NCAA, or has the NCAA developed a conscience? And if the NCAA was forced into this position by the media, does that make the media the governing body of college sports and not the NCAA?
I saw a column on Rick Pitino's Blog that was basically an infomercial for making Jay Bilas the next Big East commissioner. I like Jay Bilas, I think he is a great college basketball commentator. But what qualifications does he have for the position of Big East Commish? Do his positions as a commentator and his Law Degree from Duke qualify him for the position? Or do his various opinions which are aired non-stop on ESPN what makes Pitino think he is the man for the job?
If Pitino thinks that his opinions are what qualify him, then why does he not also think that a guy like Charles Barkley is qualified? If this statement, copied directly from the blog is true:
Here is what the commissioner must posses: *A presence that Presidents and Athletic Directors will respect. *A strong personality and creative thinker. *A television background and a total understanding of the diversity of its constituents. *An ability to bring football into the limelight
I think that Bilas comes up short on at least one of those qualities. He does NOT necesecarily have the ability to bring football into the limelight. So is his media background the real reason for the opinion? And if it is, has ESPN become the focal point for not only broadcasting college sports, but managing them as well?
Have we reached the point that the media is so entrenched in college sports that it can no longer be seperated from it? And if it has, does that make ESPN, the defacto king of all sports media, the new governing body of college athletics? We, as bloggers, have a myriad of opinions. I am one of the most vocal, even though I, admittedly, have an unabashed distaste for the NCAA and it's inner (and outer) workings. To me, rules must be even handed, understandable, and applicable to everyone to be a part of the NCAA's overall approach to running college athletics. I think that is just common sense. Common sense ought to still have a place in things like government, sports, and everyday life.
But television, the Internet, and the rest of the media threw common sense out the window decades ago. Otherwise, how do you explain the Internet? A place that anyone can say or write anything they want, with no real consequence, that can be seen by anyone else? Oh, wait, isn't that in the United states Constitution somewhere? So is this freedom? Is this what Thomas Jefferson and his band of outlaws had in mind in the very beginning? And did they have the foresight to see their ideals being implanted on the entire world? Could Benjamin Franklin have known all those years ago what was going to happen in the very state which the country's birth occurred that the state's school was going to get itself into a mess like they have now in an effort to maintain a successful sports program?
When Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" back in 1775 (yes, it was published in January of 1776, but "common sense" would dictate that he wrote it at least a few weeks prior to publication considering technology in those days), he tried to appeal to decency, order, and fair treatment of his fellow man. We all know how far those principles would have gotten him in today's media, so where does that leave us? I, for one, have no idea. But I do know this, I don't think I am going to like where we end up on this journey. It has all of the trademarks of a train wreck in progress.