What in the world is going on with America’s favorite sport?
People in this country have fallen head over heels in love with football over the last few decades, and while baseball may still be “America’s Past Time,” it’s becoming increasingly apparent that football is its “Present Time.”
In fact, we’ve grown so parched in our thirst for football on a year-round basis, we’re downright dehydrated, and with the prospect of no NFL season looming, the collective focus of our nation has shifted to the college ranks (and yes, I know college football was already the apple of many of our eyes.)
So why in the world is the NCAA allowing the news to be dominated by all this negativity?
We have highly respected publications like Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, and the Sporting News doubling as tabloid news teams, covering these scandalous stories. Heck, before long I won't be surprised to see TMZ get in on the fray, and the honest to goodness truth is that you have to blame the NCAA.
A lot of people have thrown around the words “witch hunt,” in reference to the NCAA’s recent antics. However, a more appropriate word just might be “crucifixion,” and I mean that with no religious connotations, just in the simplest sense of the word. Ohio State, USC, Tennessee, Oregon, and even America’s darlings, Boise State, have all been damaged by the NCAA’s crusade against high level college football programs.
I’m not saying that any of these programs are innocent of any wrongdoing, as a matter of fact I guarantee you they are all guilty of even more transgressions than we’ll ever know. However, as the NCAA accuses some of these programs of violations of having a “lack of institutional control,” I’m leveling the same charge at the NCAA.
The increased attention being given to college football this offseason has brought a universally acknowledged truth to light, and that’s the fact that college football is extremely corrupt. The NCAA knew it, everyone involved with the sport knew it, and most of the fans knew it.
So instead of addressing a system of outdated and easily circumnavigated rules, what does the NCAA do? They take a handful of prominent programs, put them under a magnifying glass and act shocked when they “find out” just how bad it really is. Like they didn’t already know?
Of course these programs are guilty, and they all deserve to be held accountable for their misconduct, but you can’t expect to simply make an example out of a couple teams and act like it fixes the larger issue. THE SYSTEM IS FLAWED!
The NCAA thinks they can take Traveler (USC’s mascot) and Tressel’s heads and stick them on a stake outside their headquarters in Indianapolis, and all their problems will be solved. Sorry boys, it doesn’t work that way, and I, for one, won't buy into your dog and pony show.
If you want the respect of the fans and the media and you want to be taken seriously as the governing body of college athletics, it's up to you to fix the problem at its root. If you have a pool full of mud, you can’t just skim a little off the top and tell everyone that it’s okay to swim.
I know it won’t be easy, and no doubt it will be a long and arduous process, but we’ve had enough with the diversion tactics. C’mon NCAA, rewrite the rules, clean up ALL the programs, and take back control of a game that America loves.
It’s the only real way to address the issue at hand.
Ryan Wooden is a columnist and recruiting editor for http://knoxvegasvols.com/. This article was originally published as a special edition of his column "Woody's Ward." The original article can be found here http://knoxvegasvols.com/articles/woody-s-ward-special-edition-a-letter-of-allegations-to-the-ncaa