bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: NCAA declares former marine ineligible

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I really hate the NCAA. I know I am not exactly putting myself out on an island with that statement, as hating the NCAA in 2013 has become kind of like hating the DMV…pretty much everyone feels that way. It’s an organization built to protect a concept of amateurism that is outdated by a solid twenty to thirty years. Beyond that, it is now run by a grandstanding ignoramus named Mark Emmert, an empty suit who never met a microphone he didn’t like. Beyond the whole Penn State fiasco, Emmert and the NCAA have continued to look bad on a weekly basis this year, from failing to punish schools that actually do break NCAA rules, to sanctioning individual players who do awful things like washing their cars using university water. This week, a former marine who is now a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University was declared ineligible to play this season due to yet another awful ruling.

Steven Rhodes is a 24-year-old freshman who spent several years serving his country in the Marines. During his service, he played some football in a league with a bunch of other Marines of various ages. They played when they could, and although they had uniforms and officials, it hardly sounds like it was any kind of “official” league. Despite that, the NCAA has ruled that because Rhodes played two seasons in this league, he will lose two seasons of eligibility at MTSU based on some ridiculous, 30-year-old rule. That rule, by the way, originally excluded service members from its limitations, but that clause was somehow allowed to expire. Since he played in what amounts to an intramural football league, this kid, to whom our country owes a debt, will lose two entire years of college ball (and presumably the scholarship that he would have received for those years).

Can someone please explain to me how anybody is served by this rule or this ruling? What kind of positive spin could Emmert and his band of grinches put on this mess? The NCAA is headed for dramatic changes, and those changes are desperately needed. I am not suggesting that there be no oversight of college athletics whatsoever; there is so much money involved that corruption is inevitable, and there need to be some rules and a fair review process that enforces those rules. The joke of an organization that exists today needs to be blown up with some serious dynamite, though, and it needs to happen soon. Mark Emmert needs to go immediately, and the conferences need to decide whether they want everyone to be under the same umbrella or whether there should be separate organizations handling this. I believe that athletics at the major college level are so different than at the smaller schools that governing them all with the same rules is a terrible idea. The five largest conferences should create their own governing body, and groupings of the smaller conferences should do the same as they see fit.

The NCAA has given every sign of being a broken and outmoded concept on a continual basis in recent years, but it’s individual cases like this one that really put a face on the problems confronting college athletics. Steven Rhodes must be allowed to play, and self-aggrandizing idiots like Mark Emmert need to be put out to pasture.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Last weekend, golfer Lee Westwood let loose on Twitter, not really saying anything all that terrible but making news nonetheless for insulting people and for jokingly advocating the tazering of fans who scream out things after a shot. Although his sponsors and the PGA would likely prefer if he reined it in a bit, I can’t help but agree with him on the screaming thing. Those people should be immediately banned from the course. It’s just stupid.

3) Continuing a trend that started a couple of years back, yet another person fell a long distance at a stadium and died. This time, it happened at Turner Field in Atlanta during a Braves-Phillies game on Monday evening. The man reportedly fell a distance of 65-85 feet into a parking lot.

4) A high school football coach from the Pittsburgh area who was just returning from a long absence was attacked in his home by a former player and beaten.

5) Marion Bartoli, a tennis player who won Wimbledon back in July for her first Grand Slam title, retired from professional tennis on Wednesday at the age of 28, saying her various physical ailments had made it too hard to continue playing.

6) In a story for the weird-injury files, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux will miss five to six weeks while he recovers from torn tendons in his right index finger suffered while playing golf. His club reportedly shattered, causing the injury. I am guessing he was hitting something other than the ball when this happened.

Good sports:

1) Continuing a somewhat surprising recent trend of baseball players speaking against offenders of Major League Baseball’s policy against the use of performance enhancing drugs, Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout stated in an interview on Monday that he feels that players who break these rules should be banned from the sport for life.

2) Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced that the use of instant replay would be expanded for next season to include a limited number of challenges per team. I like the fact that there will be more opportunities to fix bad calls, but don’t really love the idea of challenges. If they have the ability to get it right, they should get it right every time, not only if a manager has saved a challenge.

3) The Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel on Thursday, replacing him with third-base coach Ryne Sandberg. Manuel is the winningest manager in franchise history, and he brought a World Series title to Philadelphia in 2008, and for that he will always hold a place in the hearts of Phillies fans. It was time to go, however.

4) A little leaguer named Grant Holman pitched a no-hitter against Grosse Pointe, striking out 13, to lead his Chula Vista team into the second round of the Little League World Series.

5) Two members of a Russian 4X400 relay team that won the gold medal at the IAAF track championships in Moscow on Saturday staged a kiss on the podium to protest the ridiculous new laws prohibiting discussion of homosexuality in front of children in their country. This is a hot topic right now, which has led many to call for a U.S. boycott of next year’s Olympic Games in Sochi.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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