Thursday, July 26, 2012

CAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL BE SAVED?








 The Penn State Scandal has given us all an opportunity to re-focus on the role and importance of College Football in Campus life.

 The tragedy of Junior Seau has forced each of us to question the future and the importance (or lack thereof) of College Football.  Some feel the game will literally not exist in 10 years, unless the issue of concussions and potential brain damage can be mitigated.  Others feel if it exists, it will be unrecognizable. 

These two events have kick started a conversation which has been whispered behind closed doors, but has now been catapulted to the front of the consciousness of even the most ardent supporters of the “game.”

The new Television contracts add another element to the mix, which won’t be dealt with today. 

But in an effort to continue the discussions regarding the role of college football on campus and primarily the issues of player injuries (specifically concussions), here are some thoughts which will seem heretical (what else is new), but are offered in good faith to push the discussion forward in how to improve the game and make it safer. 

None of this is a criticism or critique of Cal per se, but applies to all college programs—everywhere!

No doubt there are many more good ideas out there which could improve the game and fan enjoyment immensely.  I’ve broken 33 thoughts down into SAFETY,  PUTTING THE “STUDENT” BACK INTO “STUDENT ATHLETE,” DELEGATION OF RESOURCES, and just for the pure fun of it, some rule changes that this Luddite would like to see—though they don’t really add to safety or re-focusing the role of College football on campus.

Would love to hear your comments:

Go Bears,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70





SAFTY:

1.   Go Back to the single bar facemask which will force defenses to tackle with their shoulders like we did and they did back in the days of leather helmets.  The facemask (which was designed to protect faces) has become a weapon which spears and hurts people.

2.  No launching when tackling.  Like in rugby, at least one foot has to be on the ground, unless one is tackling from behind.

3.  Helmet to helmet (unless obviously inadvertent) immediate ejection for that game and the following week.

4.  You can only leave the field, twice each quarter.  This will force players to play both ways.  That will make all players smaller (Big guys don't have the cardiovascular systems to play 60 minutes).   Many injuries are caused by 300 pound guys who  play only 16 plays per game.  If they can go 50 or 60 minutes, at that size, more power to them.

PUTTING THE “STUDENT” BACK INTO “STUDENT ATHLETE”

5.  Mandatory classroom participation.  Kids who miss class--don't play--no exceptions.  Yes.  Attendance will be taken and reported to the coaches.

6.  Faculty rep at practice.  Each practice begins with and ends with a 15 minute "lecture" on anything:  Politics, the constitution, history, Shakespeare, art, science, math--whatever--just something to remind everyone why they are where they are.

7.  To remain eligible, players must show proof of attendance at at least 10 other sporting events or campus performances (theater, ballet etc.) each semester.

8.  No athletic dorms.  Mandatory study hall during the season.  Training table ok.

9.   Zero tolerance on taunting or show boating.  SPORTSMANSHIP should be brought to the forefront.  Imagine what your grandfather would tolerate and that would be the limit.

10.  All decisions would be "Student first."  Should a coach be hired or fired?  How will it effect the kids?  What time practice?  How will it affect the kid?  Can one play with an injury?  How will it affect the kid--not the chances of the team winning.

11.  Home student sections should be on the 50 yard line at all games.


APPROPRIATE DELEGATION OF RESOURCES

12.  56 players on a team.  Reduce scholarships to that number.

13.  Coaching staffs reduced to 8 people.  Head coach, offensive coach, defensive coach, line coach, backfield coach DB's coach, Linebackers coach, receivers coach.  Someone doubles as Special Teams coach.

14.  Coaches salaries can be no more than some multiple of tenured professors (i.e.  If tenured professors get $150,000 head coach's salary can be no more than 15 times that and assistant coaches no more than 5 times that--or whatever.  This would be school specific, encouraging colleges to pay their faculty more.

15.  Time constraints:  It was John Wooden who said, “If you can’t get it done in an hour and a half, you can’t get it done.”  Practices are an hour and a half each day—period-- with a half hour for showers and taping. 

16.  No Freshman eligibility for varsity sports.

17.  Have a Freshman and or JV team which plays local JR. colleges or other Frosh teams.

18.  No Spring practice or mandatory off season workouts with coaches.

19.  Play locally.  One cross country game per season.

20.  Reduce seasons back to 9 games plus Bowls


RULE CHANGES:

22.  He who scores the touchdown has to kick the extra point. 

23.  Extra points must be brought out and kicked from where the ball is "touched down"--like in Rugby.  If the angle is too severe, run an offensive play.

24.  The ground CAN cause a fumble.  Tackled?  The ball must stay in your possession.

25.  Change the offensive line blocking rules.  Hands must be held in--no extending arms.

26.  No more 'hand checking" between receivers and DB's.  It's pass interference, period.

27.  No touchbacks.  All kicks must be run out of the endzones.

28.  Quarterbacks call their own plays.  No "headsets" in helmets.

29.  Captains on the teams, not the coaches decide to take penalties or not

30.  Only players can call a timeout


31.  If crowd makes too much noise and opposing team cannot hear signals, Ref calls five yard delay of game penalty.  He keeps calling it until it calms down.

32.  Collapsible goal posts.  Put a hinge on the bottom so it comes down immediately if tugged on or hit--ending fan rioting to tear down posts.

33.  Athletes can work as many hours as they want in “University sponsored jobs”  (Security at football games, stadium cleanup, washing dishes, clerking in student store etc.  Jobs pay standard rate (double minimum wage or $15/hr).  Universities are responsible for monitoring and reporting.