Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Let's go bowling
With the onset of December the college football season draws to conclusion with only the "bowl games" remaining. For my non-USA friends the "bowl games" are -- post season, extra games played for money given to each participating team (to their conference actually except for Notre Dame which is an "independent" so they get to keep $18.3 million payout!!) , trips for fans to warm weather stadiums, and an attempt by the Bowl Championship Series to anoit a "national champion" of college football although this year looks more legitimate than past year's despite the lack of a true playoff system.
So you are probably wondering where my beloved Iowa State University (ISU) Cyclones, http://www.cyclones.com , ended up for bowl assignments right? ISU, with a regular season record of 7 and 4 is set to play Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs with a record of 10 and 1 in the "ev1.net Houston Bowl" on December 31st in Houston, Texas being televised on the "Deuce"/ESPN 2 at 2:30 pm Eastern. TCU is favored by 3 1/2 points. I was a bit surprised by the spread but then noticed that the "Sagarin College Football Ratings" (see my earlier posting -- #334 -- for background) have these teams ranked at:
Number 1 -- Texas
Number 2 -- University of Southern California
Number 21 -- TCU
Number 32 -- ISU
Number 239 -- Butler University , no bowl game for them this season!! http://butlersports.collegesports.com/
Along with the bowl schedule published in today's USA Today there was an adjoining article entitled "41% of bowl teams miss academic benchmark" which caught my attention because I made some notes to post on this subject at the beginning of the football season but never fully developed the theme.
Basically I wanted to pose the question -- "Since the team rosters at college sporting events list all players' height and weight statistics why not also disclose the players' (just the players are full athletic scholarships since the school is paying for their education not the walk ons since they deserve to have them privacy protected) Grade Point Averages (GPA) so that a roster entry might look like this:
Darron M. Bareus
Height 6' 2"
Weight 215 pounds
I really struggled with advocating this since I hold personal privacy as a fundamental right in the USA but then again the players are unofficial employees of the athletic department/the university once they go on athletic scholarship so they lose some personal privacy when they sign their letter of intent.
The benefits I see from such disclosure include:
-Reinforces the "student-athlete" model we have at our universities
-Transparency for consumers ("sports fans") so we can choose to boycott games if our sports teams laugh at the importance of academics. Okay, I am old school - I like to believe the "student athlete" model works and do not want the value of my university degree downgraded just to help athletes graduate
-Reinforce the positive role model college athletes project to younger athletes
Such an idea would probably be rejected by players, coaches, big donors, etc. but it is worth consideration and could also be a model for pro sports in terms of steroids use.
Why not disclose steroid use in the box scores, home run leaders tally, and game programs which players use steroids??
But back to the lighter message of this posting -- get your coach and TV in good working order for this bowl season. The Texas-USC "national championship" game set for the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 should be a classic clash of titans.
Enjoy the games,