If you truly love college football today is a dark day.
It is the one day a year your favorite sport makes you embarrassed to call yourself a fan. All across the country seventeen-year-old boys will sit in front of rows of baseball caps while thousands of 40-something men breathlessly stream it all over the internet, desperately hoping the kid picks up the right cap and declares his allegiance to their favorite team.
Far from the lone cause of entitled “student” athletes, National Signing Day remains its Super Bowl. It is the culmination of a recruitment process that has lasted years, all rolled into a giant ego stroke– one that incents worse and worse behavior for the adults involved.
The kids aren’t to blame. They are only playing out their string, taking the attention they are given and often adding their own drama. They know they are a big deal because they’ve been repeatedly told they are a big deal. It is no different than how many of us would have handled it at that age.
How can we expect our athletes to remain grounded, work hard off the field and understand the concept of team when for years it has all been about them? Parents re-engineering their lives to get to every single game, AAU coaches and hangers-on telling them how great they are, coaches cow-towing, begging and even camping out at their house just to get their attention?
Don’t blame the kids when it is the adults who should know better.
Just like so many things in youth sports, we’ve taken something fun and corrupted it, marketed it and wrecked it. Fans now routinely tweet cheers and jeers at kids they’ve never met. Entire cottage industries have sprung up to measure, rate and rank 9th graders in a never-ending race to the bottom.
And for what? A mere pittance of these kids will go pro. The net result for the rest will be a college graduation rate that lags 20 -40% behind other incoming freshmen, injuries and a life that peaked in college.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful things about team sports and many student athletes go on to amazing lives with opportunities they never would have otherwise had. But overall are college athletics a positive? More to the point, is power five conference football a positive?
Do we need…
- 41 bowl games?
- To pay stipends to players?
- Seasons that last 15- games long?
- College games on Wednesday Night?
- Head Coaches who make $7 million and assistants making two?
I’m beginning to wonder.
It is often said that money is the root of all evil. That quote actually gets it wrong. It is the “love of money” that the bible warns us about. That love is also the one common thread through all of this.
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” – 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT)