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A hypocritical stance

Posted by Mark Blaudschun, Globe Staff  September 15, 2009 08:34 AM

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Let's get this straight. The NCAA has put in strict rules about the number of official hours -- that would be 20 -- that college football players can devote to their sport during the season.

The rules are broken by almost everyone, of course. But that's when players do things on their own.

Still, the NCAA is adamant about "protecting" student-athletes from any such abuses.

Yet, the NCAA says not a word when schools -- tempted by the money of television -- go out and play two games in five days, as Florida State, Rutgers and Cincinnati did last week when they played game on Labor Day night (Monday) and the following Saturday. Schools who want to play in ESPN's Thursday night package do this as well.

This season schools from the Southeastern Conference (Mississippi and South Carolina) and the Big 12 (Colorado, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M) have allowed their teams to play in the Saturday-Thursday turnaround.

Two games in five days does not allow enough recovery time or enough preparation time. Oh, yes, and don't forget classroom time, which the NCAA always emphasizes when it goes into its "student-athlete'' mode.

The schools, as one ESPN source said, can always say "no" when asked. They won't do that, of course, since money rules the world of college sports
Let's get real here. College football, on the FBS, 1A, prime-time, BCS-level, is very much a business, which means football players are employees of the university in a very loose-fitting form. Considering the schools are basically paying $40,000 to $50,000 per year (costs of scholarships) for each player, "employee'' would seem to be fitting word.

We know nothing is going to change, but the NCAA should step in with a simple directive. If you want to play in a Thursday night game, you can't play on the previous Saturday.

Make it work.

You have to love the polls. One Associated Press voter from Cleveland had Florida ranked fifth and Texas eighth on his ballot -- and he had Houston fourth. Who knows, he might be right, but as long as college football relies on polls and rankings to determine who gets to play for the championship, such vagaries show the flaw in the system. Simple solution: A playoff. Oh, but wait a minute -- that might mean too many games for the student-athletes ... Interesting connect the dots scenario. A couple of years ago, Notre Dame was opening it season against Georgia Tech and Irish coach Charlie Weis was looking for an edge in breaking down the scheme of Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta. So Weis picked the brain of the coach at West Virginia, Rich Rodriguez. This Saturday, Michigan, coached by Rodriguez, beat Notre Dame and its defensive coordinator -- Jon Tenuta . . . SMU is 2-0, which hasn't happened since 1996. They could be 3-0 after their game with hapless Washington State this week. That hasn't happened since 1984, in the glory days of SMU football before the NCAA came in and shut the program down for a few years because of numerous booster-related violations. SMU at 3-0? Are the boosters back? Considering that part of the deal to get coach June Jones from Hawaii was to have the boosters basically pay Jones's salary, it's an interesting question.

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