Daily Cavalcade: Right & Wrong College Football Debates
It’s been a crazy several days in the college football world off the field. What’s the obvious difference between right and wrong when it comes to Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Minnesota, Wake Forest, and Donnel Pumphrey? Find out, in a very special Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy.
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
I ran for 7,125 yards, and all I got was a lousy Heisman and two Rose Bowl victories.
”Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and when people start getting it confused, that means they need to sit down with some real people.” – Chuck D
Or to put it more eloquently, don’t whiz on my back and tell me it’s raining.
I’m a big fan of the idea of being on the right side of history, whenever possible.
You know, when there’s something that’s obviously going to be the accepted norm several years from now, but it’s hard to get to that point thanks to a few doorknobs who refuse to acknowledge the difference between right and wrong.
Over the past week, ranging from the dopey to the deadly serious, we’ve had a few of those be-on-the-right-side-of-history college football moments that we’ll all look back on in a few years and wonder what all the fuss was about.
I want to get there faster.
So as the pretentious keeper of the college football flame of justice, here we go …
Christian McCaffrey & Leonard Fournette Skipping Bowl Games For NFL
Right: If they want to, college football players should be able to preserve their bodies, minds, investments, and NFL aspirations by skipping a bowl game – or quitting college football entirely – rather than risk a severe injury that could cost them money, draft stock, and, potentially, the goal of playing in the pros. Because the NFL has a three-year-out-of-high-school eligibility rule, top NFL prospects are stuck. Players can take out insurance policies, but they aren’t as cut-and-dry simple as you might believe when it comes to payouts – and they don’t do anything for a player’s lost lifelong dream.
Wrong: A player is quitting on his team and his school by choosing to leave early – he’s being selfish. The teammates are there trying to win games, and after working so hard as a team, a star and key player is all about himself. If he really loved the game, he’d play no matter what.
Gray Area: A championship. For some, money, success, and fame can’t buy back the joy of being a college football player and the camaraderie it brings, especially if a championship is on the line. LeBron James always laments around NCAA Tournament time that he wishes he could’ve played in it, and top college players who leave early often wish they could’ve been around for the big bowl game.
What’s Going To Happen? Starting soon, once a top prospect’s team is out of the College Football Playoff chase, it’s going to be expected that he sits out and prepares for the NFL. It’s not just about the catastrophic – for example – leg injury now. Head injuries, concussions, and CTE concerns are a part of the equation.
Video Released of the Joe Mixon Punch
Right: Joe Mixon should’ve been kicked off the Oklahoma football team – and not just suspended for a year – after head coach Bob Stoops, athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren saw this back in 2014. It shouldn’t have taken the releasing of the video for this to be considered as awful as it was.
Wrong: It was a mistake. She pushed him in the face first, and he was simply retaliating.
Gray Area: Did he pay his price to society? If the legal process plays itself out, and, in some cases, if the Title IX laws and protocols are done, is there any acceptable timetable to return as a player? What if the player has paid his legal penalty, leaves the school, and wants to play somewhere else? No, a kid’s life isn’t over – he can still go to school – but can he start fresh at another school, like DeAndre Johnson joining Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic?
What’s Going To Happen? The backlash is only going to be greater and greater in the future. It’s one thing for a professional athlete to do something like this – it’s obviously not right, but the pro aspect changes the dynamic and how it’s handled – but it’s another for a player to represent a student body and a university on the field.
Donnel Pumphrey Is The NCAA’s All-Time Leading Rusher
Right: Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne ran for 7,125 yards, if you count every college football game he ever played in. Pitt’s Tony Dorsett ran for 6,526 yards. San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey’s brilliant career finished with 6,405 yards, good for third on the rushing list.
Pumphrey was hailed as the all-time rushing leader because the NCAA didn’t count bowl stats before 2002, meaning Dayne and Dorsett were unnecessarily short-changed. We have the stats and the video to prove it. It’s not like we have to transcribe Ancient Sanskrit tablets to ballpark it on the numbers, and it’s not like there’s any guesswork, like whether or not Deacon Jones might really be the NFL’s true sack champion.
Wrong: The NCAA record-book has Donnel Pumphrey as the all-time leading rusher, so he’s the all-time leading rusher. To say otherwise takes away from his accomplishments.
Gray Area: There isn’t any. No, we don’t have all the all-time college football stats going back to the late 1800s, but that shouldn’t matter. The record book should reflect what we have statistics for.
What’s Going To Happen? Ron Dayne will be listed as the NCAA’s all-time rushing leader very soon after this all dies down, so the NCAA has a little time to save face. Pumphrey will be rightfully praised and respected for running among the college football giants by finishing third.
Minnesota Players Boycott Football Activities, Threaten To Skip Holiday Bowl, End Boycott
Right: Players should be able to rally together and boycott things they find unjust – it’s their one true power – but in this case, the University of Minnesota was right in holding firm in their suspension of ten players after their findings and rulings from an internal investigation, mandated by Title IX laws. There’s a privacy part of the equation, too – the university couldn’t discuss various aspects of the case.
Wrong: The suspended players weren’t charged with a crime or even arrested, so they should be able to play.
Gray Area: The idea of conduct unbecoming of a student or player. Innocent until proven guilty is for a court of law, not necessarily when it comes to suspensions. But players still deserve their say and their appeal.
What’s Going To Happen? More and more, the support systems for accusers of sexual assault cases aren’t going to be demonized – hopefully. A zero-tolerance policy will be a given, with the hope that the University of Minnesota just set the example for how a school should handle its football program. On the flip side, the Gopher players just showed how much power the athletes really have. If a group can band together and boycott, they can be heard and bring about change – if it’s for the right cause.
Wake Forest Announcer Leaks Playbook To Opponents
Right: Uhhhhhhh, don’t give the playbook to the opposing team? Uhhhhhhh, don’t take the playbook of the opposing team if it’s being given to you?
Wrong: Uhhhhhhh, sportsmanship? The schools that allegedly took the playbook and inside info were just taking advantage of what was available?
Gray Area: Ex-players and coaches from one team help out players and coaches on current teams all the time by providing insight, analysis, and plays. What Tommy Elrod did takes things to another level, because this was double-secret agent stuff. However, yeah, every and any assistant worth his salt would absolutely take a peek at the other team’s playbook if he had it.
What’s Going To Happen? The penalties will be far stiffer in the future if a team is caught seeing another team’s playbook, and the security on the playbooks will get far tighter.