Style Points Equate To Zero Class for All Institutions of Higher Learning

robertContributor INovember 8, 2008

Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden appear to be similar when looking up their winning records, age, and longevity of coaching D-1 football, but in reality they are two polar opposites.

These two coaches have totally different coaching styles and philosophies, but in spite of this fact, they are usually in the hunt for a BCS bowl.

Bobby Bowden approves of running up a score to ensure style points, and Joe Paterno frowns on the practice as being unnecessary and morally wrong.

Winning and losing is a part of life, and everyone must deal with both aspects in order to achieve an inner balance of peace.  Individual philosophies on winning and losing vary, based on one's perspective and environment. 

There is no right or wrong answer about how one should win but almost everyone agrees that one should never be a sore loser.  Is it not more socially responsible to be a better winner by being perceived as humble as a way of the winner displaying honor?

The question of how to win is debated at a minimum, because the football culture is dominated by programs that think if you win big, your stats are inflated and appear to be a better program on paper.

Coaches have a lot of pressure to win, but there seems to be a mantra among bigger programs that they must win at all costs.  The use of the style points sends a bad message to our society that suggests how one wins is of no real consequence or of importance, as long as you win. 

Universities seem to encourage the lopsided scores to help ensure a bigger purse at the end of the year when BCS bowls are decided.  Universities ignore style points, and their silence is a form of consenting. They are directly responsible for allowing this crude winning philosophy to continue.  

No other coach feels the pressure to win more than Joe Paterno, and yet he never sacrifices his core beliefs or values by drubbing a team unmercifully to the point of embarrassing an opponent.

When Penn State wins, it is seldom that the final score is lopsided due to the intentionally conservative play-calling by Paterno. If the rankings system cannot tell the difference, then it needs to be changed. 

I have watched the Switzers, Jimmy Johnsons, Spurriers, Bowdens, and others run up scores. It is classless and it shows a lack of self confidence of a coach's desire to inflate their stats. 

The message that running up a score sends to the players and fans is there is no need to be gracious as long as you win. That attitude erodes our nation's moral character and hurts us as a society.  

There are certain scenarios that I have seen over the last few years that seem extreme and unsportsmanlike but are becoming commonplace. 

Where is the moral compass among our teachers of the game to question the practice of running up the score. Is Joe Paterno the only one? SAD!

Is it so wrong to win a game without having to keep the starters in, when up by 24 points in the fourth quarter? Is it so necessary to throw on first down, when up by 24 points late in the fourth quarter?

Is it so important to go for it on fourth-and-2 on the 35-yard line and your team is up by 24 points with two minutes to go in the game?  Is it so important for a team to go for a two-point conversion to beat a team by 30 points, as opposed to 29 points?

Penn State has appeared to be penalized for showing discretion and class by not running up the score to get "style points." That is unacceptable. 

The fact that Joe Paterno knows that a National Championship is at stake by not running up the score should be examined at length by a NCAA sportsmanship committee. 

Paterno, true to form, like a rock, refuses to give in to the notion that style points are necessary or good for the game.

Paterno is 81, and his 50-plus years of coaching is largely about teaching his players lessons that will last a lifetime.

These lessons will continue to be taught to future generations because his current and former players keep this philosophy and spirit going in their everyday lives. 

His altruistic approach to winning is refreshing. His personal ethics and moral code will never waver for personal gain, and that attitude already makes him and his team CHAMPIONS! 

When any entity is mighty, it should never be viewed as a weakness when that entity shows class and respect towards an opponent by not running up the score.

I have heard some say that the losing programs should work harder not to be embarrassed and that it is not the winning teams responsibility to keep the score from getting out of hand. 

This attitude appears to be hardcore due to the fact that some programs have severe advantages that create an uneven playing field and that fact appears to be ignored in the quest for supremacy.

Why should any institution playing in a friendly sports contest, where a code of honor, based on gentleman's principals, which are at the core and the foundation for which the NCAA says it instills, fear that they could be embarrassed by a mean spirited lopsided loss?