No, it’s not time for the IlliBuck trophy again… Tuesday’s “news” was full of terrapin conversation, so we go where it leads. As such, here’s this morning’s soundtrack… I’m sure my folks will recognize it.
One of the major sports stories of Tuesday was the decision by the IOC to drop wrestling from the slate for the 2020 Olympics, bumping it to “wait and see” status along with other “sports” that are beyond ridiculous.
Among the measured response was ESPN’s projections of other events that were more deserving of demotion than wrestling, while the team at Black Heart Gold Pants took a bit more emotional reaction- completely understandable and deserved, given the great legacy of Iowa grapplers in national and international competition.
To be honest, I wrestled during my senior year in high school, and lettered in the sport. I won’t ever claim to have been any good- I only did it to stay in shape for college football (also something I was merely adequate at), and it’s really hard to distinguish yourself when you grow up in the same county as St. Paris Graham high school. But, in spite of my mediocrity, my season on the mat shaped the way I look at life and (I hope) helped me learn perseverance and focused effort.
My new digs now has the BTN, a compromise between the wife and I so she could watch the Huskers more often. But, it’s also now given me the chance to enjoy watching wrestling again, and to talk with her about the sport and what it takes to be successful.
The possibility of losing wrestling as an international sport, then, hits me a bit sideways for a couple of reasons. First, it highlights a changing time for the sport- due to budget cuts and Title IX pressures, high schools and colleges are cutting it to make budgets and quotas meet. I find that hard to fathom, though- expenditures for other sports continue to climb, and Title IX was never meant to take away opportunities, only to attempt to provide them equally.
The second reason that this decision made no sense for me was the fact that has been highlighted by many others: This happened in a world where the highest level of sport has seen corruption run rampant (insert way to many links to articles about payoffs and bribes and judging scandals here) and has seen “expansion” highlighting athletic endeavors that shouldn’t be classified as sport.
I have a lot of opinions on this last matter- in another world, I did a three part series on the definition of “sport”, and what Olympic events even met that criterion. If you’re interested, drop me a line and I’ll send the manifesto; be aware, though, that the Winter Olympics don’t come out well at all.
At any rate, to lose one of the sports that we can trace back to the actual Greek games, a contest that personifies the Olympic ideal in its very nature, and one that has been formative for so many people seems to be incredibly shortsighted. And yet, it does highlight again the changing nature of sports in our culture- we’re more interested in what we can market and find profitable, what’s new and “zippy” while moving away from some of the foundations that have brought us to where we are.
Change is not a bad thing. Dumb change is. This move, to possibly lose something with such an amazing legacy is the latter type, and should be reconsidered.
There’s a lot of buzz coming out of the B1G meetings this week, some of it pointing toward the future of the conference. First, it was reported that the days of 8 conference games are over, and that the B1G is considering either 9 or 10 game in the future. 9seems a bit odd, as a team won’t want to lose a home contest, but the possibility of a neutral site competition is always on the table; Wrigley Field has said they’d like to take another run at hosting games, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ohio State in New York or DC against one of the n00bs in the future. Moving to 10 games makes the conference more attractive to some other expansion targets, according to this SEC expert.
What we also know, as of late Tuesday night, was that the conference agreed to stop scheduling FCS schools, which is significant for two reasons. First, it brings forth the reality that these “wins” might not be a part of any of the consideration formulas for the new championship playoff opportunities. Second, we also now know how difficult it is to get these schools on the schedule, with their dance cards being totally filled by SEC programs.
There’s also discussion about divisional realignment, including a chance that we’d finally see a time-zone/east-west split (as St. Woody intended). This would put Michigan and Ohio State in the same division, avoiding a possible two-fer (as we might see this year, with The Game being followed by a return match in Indianapolis). The athletic directors have also given their blessing for later season night games- once considered a nightmare for fans travel plans (Thank you, Global Warming!). Personally, I’m not a huge fan of November 8 PM kick offs, but the 2006 game that launched at 3:00 ish was just about perfect, for a lot of reasons.
With suspicion that Virginia has been “in the bag” for a while now, there’s more speculation that the B1G meetings this week will lead to further news about expansion in the coming days, even as early as today. One thing that a lot of people believe is holding up the process is the Maryland Exit Process from the ACC, and the lawsuit regarding their exit fee. The Washington Post today released a copy of the Non-Disclosure agreement that the school had with the B1G; the reason that the news about the Terrapins (more turtles?) happened relatively quickly was the agreement on the part of everyone to keep their mouths shut.
This Week In “Ohio Or Florida?”
Ma’am… I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’ve got a bad case of the owls.
‘Course, it could be a lot worse. You could have a turtle problem.
Around The NCAA
This is totally going to be worth my time: