Sunday, November 24, 2013

College Sports, a Once Proud Tradition, Becomes a Not So Funny Joke

But No One Will Look Back on this Era and Laugh

The University of North Carolina played Old Dominion University Saturday and the score was 80 to 20.  Okay, UNC always has a powerful basketball team that is capable of winning big.  But this wasn’t basketball, this was a football, in fact a football game that was cut short by agreement on both sides that it was ludicrous to continue.

North Carolina, having a so-so year in football was not the only major college team playing a patsy in late November.  Alabama, ranked number 1 and the defending national champions played ChattanoogaSouth Carolina engaged Coastal Carolina, a school not even known to have a football team.  Clemson beat The Citadel and Florida State embarrassed themselves by embarrassing Idaho.

One can make a rational although not winning argument that major college teams playing patsies at the beginning of the season is acceptable.  Those games are like the exhibition games that pro team play before the season starts, and college football at major universities is nothing if not a professional sport.  But there is no reason to play these games late in the season, the Boston Red Sox do not play the Pawtucket Little Leaguers in late September.

Who exactly enjoys these games?  Certainly not the players on the losing team who leave the stadium humiliated.  Certainly not the players on the winning team who leave the stadium knowing they beat a team that was not capable of competing with them.  Certainly not the fans in the seats who paid big bucks to watch a farce.  In fact one would be hard pressed to find a single person in North Carolina or Viginia who was not disgusted with the ODU/UNC game.

One rationale for college sports is that it teaches young men and young women sportsmanship and how to handle both winning and losing.  It is supposed to build character, but like the goal of colleges and universities to educate, the goal of college sports to improve the character of the participants has long gone away.  

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