Football Puts it all Together Against CMS
It was a somewhat depressing scene Saturday as the 0-8 Stags backpacked down across Sixth Street to take on our very own 0-8 Sagehens in the fall sun. The two teams’ winless streaks were on display from the scorecard, but you would not have been able to tell by the fans. A bigger crowd turned out than at any other athletic event this season, except maybe the water polo team playing Harvard. The freshly painted field produced a semblance of importance beyond one team earning its first win. At the end of the day, the good guys walked away without the difficult chess match proscribed from the end zone sketches.
A final score of 37-0 left the crowd feeling high; it was a true drubbing of the opponent made even sweeter by the fact that it was their archrival. However, it left a feeling of wonder: how was it possible that we lost every game in the past two years but put it all together for one game against CMS? Did all systems just click at the same time? Is CMS really that bad?
I think it is the fact that we finally felt we could win. The players and coaches took it more seriously. And if there is one lesson to learn from sports, it is that thinking you are going to lose is more detrimental than any other mindset. It leaves you with a record of losses, sometimes 70-0 losses. Until next year, we will ride high on the Peace Pipe and hopefully recognize that this Sixth Street battle is not the only game in which we have a chance to win.
UCLA First-Year Star to Sit Out Ten Games
Shabazz Muhammad, a first-year University of California, Los Angeles basketball player from Las Vegas, will sit out his first ten games as a Bruin due to violations of NCAA recruiting policy. Muhammad visited University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill twice on unofficial visits, paid for by a family friend. The visits violated the NCAA policy that does not allow unofficial recruiting trips to be paid for by anyone without a pre-existing relationship with the player. According to the NCAA, Muhammad’s family friend did not meet this criterion. The policy is good in theory; like The Blindside, you do not want rich alumni persuading elite high school athletes to attend their alma maters, but in this instance, it has been enforced in a manner contrary to the ideals of college athletics.
This latest NCAA imposition marks a growing trend of collegiate athletic policy that harms students rather than protecting them or promoting equality. The Pennsylvania State University sanctions aimed at coaches Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno ended up invalidating the wins of all players over a 13-year period—an unfair consequence to players neither involved in nor aware of the situation at hand. Closer to home, Caltech had to forfeit the few wins they had earned, give up lofty postseason aspirations and pay $5,000 in fines all because their students were not technically enrolled in classes during the school’s “shopping period” at the beginning of the semester.
The NCAA means well but is punishing students with unrealistic expectations. The burden of compliance should be put on coaches and athletic administrators, not on recruits or current players. Muhammad will be fine in the long run; he will be drafted highly in the first round of the NBA next year and go on to be a multi-millionaire. But for this year, the NCAA has denied him the priceless experience of college athletics all because he wanted to find out what college he would like best and could not do it on his own dime.
Introducing Cross-Sport Power Rankings
Starting this week, I will be publishing a weekly, cross-sport power ranking along with my column. The rankings are intended to be fun and informational, but not too serious. An athletic team can rank up by going on a winning streak, winning SCIAC, beating CMS or shutting out Redlands. Even holding an inter-squad scrimmage in full Halloween costume might get a team ranked higher!
Any recommendations for higher/lower rankings can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!