MONDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS – A SEASON OF DISGRACE

When this is posted on Monday, April 4, 2011 we will know which of the Final Four are the Final Two.  It will be VCU or Butler versus UConn or Kentucky.  I find that I am in agreement with Christine Brennan of USA who wrote last Thursday:

Back to the field of play. In the second men’s NCAA semifinal Saturday night, we get the uplifting opportunity to watch those two stalwarts of coaching integrity, Calhoun and Calipari, match wits and NCAA violations when Connecticut plays Kentucky. Can we have a show of hands for those wanting the NCAA to declare the winner of the Butler-VCU game the men’s national champion? Sadly, though, the fitting exclamation point on this renegade season would be for Calhoun or Calipari to be cutting down the net at the end. It would seem strange for a good guy to win in what just might be the NCAA’s worst year ever. You can read more ...

Big time sports has become synonymous with BIG MONEY. So much so that even coaches like Jim Tressel who have built a reputation around solid Christian character and character-building have surrendered to the temptation to cheating in order to preserve the possibility of winning football teams.  Now comes word that the most recently crowned champions of the BCS, the Auburn Tigers have very likely paid players.  On top of it, the Fiesta Bowl, a lynchpin in the BCS championships has been accused of behavior of the level of an out-control Washington lobbyist seducing another greedy politician.

It is a season of disgrace.

All sort of remedies are put forth – pay the players for one; but will that end the temptation to put checkbook above personal integrity?  I think not, not as long as there are boosters with no scruples and coaches with no moral courage and big time universities that believe that be number one gives them a license  for impunity.

Frankly, five games is an insufficient suspension for Mr Tressel and an NCAA death penalty disproportionately small for Auburn if the accusations prove true. Boosters need to face legal consequences for their undermining of public universities that are required to adhere to the law in every area of operation in order to receive tax dollars. And the Calhouns and Caliparis of the world should have been the first teams out of the NCAAs even if it means letting from VCUs into the tournament.

I love sports. I do believe it is healthy, its character-building.  I am troubled that professional sports has endangered its own reputation by becoming a battle between billionaires and multi-millionaires. We prosecute murderous soccer moms and ban out-of-control little league dads; — and so we should. But what makes a passion to grow rich more acceptable than a passion to win?  Neither are edifying cultural values and both carry in them the seeds of immorality that ultimately defiles our humanity.

It is a season of disgrace. It is now time (long overdue) for a season of honor.

(C) 2011 by Stephen L Dunn

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