Reaction to the Cam Newton eligibility decision led news for the week of Nov. 29:
Newton aftermath: The media reaction to the NCAA’s decision Wednesday to reinstate the eligibility of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was predictably bipolar. Much energy was spent explaining process (such as how an eligibility decision relates to the enforcement operation) and how this episode compares with other prominent cases.
Here are some of the many pro and con perspectives on the decision. All reflect the complexity surrounding the case, even if some of the rhetoric is over the top (“a wet kiss on the ring finger”?):
NCAA decision on Newton opens Pandora’s box (Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports)
Intentions behind Newton ruling sound, but loophole now exists (Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated)
NCAA spins fairy-tale fodder (Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN)
Truth of the matter: Newton cleared of wrongdoing (Matt Hayes, Sporting News)
A lot of winners in Cam Newton fiasco (Tim Dahlberg, The Associated Press)
Stop whining: NCAA got it right on Cam Newton, Auburn (Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Battle of the Presidents, the epilogue: Ohio State President Gordon Gee’s dismissal of the competitive level of the TCU and Boise State football teams continued to make news. Here are a couple of national stories:
New BCS wrinkle: Trash-talking school presidents (The Associated Press)
Imagining life with no BCS (Darren Everson, Wall Street Journal)
The Everson article was especially interesting, dispassionately assessing what the postseason landscape would look like if there were no BCS and no playoff. Everson emphasizes that he’s not necessarily a fan of the BCS, but he does make a persuasive case that things could be worse.
It didn’t take long for Gee to respond.
Gee backs off football remarks (Ken Gordon, Columbus Dispatch)
The fallout from the Gee episode wasn’t even limited to football:
In hoops, the BCS bullies also reign (Joe Lunardi, ESPN)
The headline seemed to go a step beyond the story, which is based more on a slippery-slope scenario than on the conditions of the moment. The ad hominems directed at Gee are off-putting, but it’s worth considering how much of the appeal of college basketball relates to the smaller programs. Are the two sports somehow different, with one fostering an underdog mentality and the other somehow naturally favoring the overdog? Or, as Lunardi claims, is it all about the money?
A new home for the Frogs: TCU announced Monday that it is leaving the Mountain West Conference for the Big East. That set off a spate of analysis on the ramifications of the move:
With eye on football, Big East adds TCU (Pete Thammel, New York Times)
TCU’s move to Big East makes sense (Kendall Rogers, Yahoo Sports)
Leaping Frogs will feel at home in faraway Big East (Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com)
Big East protects itself — and the BCS — with the addition of TCU (Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated)
Big East gets bigger, adds TCU for 2012 season (Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press)
TCU to the Big East: Strategically navigating the BCS waters (Patrick Rische, Forbes)
The other school making conference realignment headlines, Hawaii, presumably never will be linked with the Big East. The Honolulu Advertiser reported that the Rainbow Wahines were looking to join the Big West Conference in all sports but football, which is moving to the Mountain West. Cal State Bakersfield and UC San Diego also are said to be considering a Big West affiliation.
Hawaii one of three schools looking to join Big West (Ferd Lewis, Honolulu Advertiser)
The shakeup might not stop there. If Hawaii does move non-football sports to the Big West, the Advertiser said that could affect the conference affiliation for men’s volleyball:
Men’s volleyball, too, could jump to Big West (Honolulu Advertiser)
Elsewhere, the Orlando Sentinel offered the titillating possibility that the Mountain West and Conference USA may be discussing some sort of merger:
Mountain West, Conference USA merger remains possibility (Iliana Limon, Orlando Sentinel)
Safety efforts in ice hockey: The St. Cloud Times provided an interesting, and encouraging, look at efforts being made in the WCHA to limit the number of head injuries in men’s ice hockey.
In depth: WCHA taking steps to avoid head injuries (Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times)
Finally: You won’t often see columnist Norman Chad cited in this space too often, given his disdain for college sports (although I do think he is one funny guy). However, he scored Sunday with a column condemning the phenomenon of competitive eating.
“When Americans wonder why they often are despised, look no further than competitive eating,” he wrote. “People around the world are starving, but we flaunt our overabundance by turning it into sport. Look, folks, we have so much food, we’ll race to see who can eat the most the fastest − and we’ll put it on TV!
“We have a nationwide obesity problem and yet we sponsor gluttony.”
He’s absolutely right about this and also about some of the other excesses that surround legitimate competition. The public needs to turn thumbs down on this junk.
NCAA Insider is an occasional take on college sports issues, as viewed by NCAA communications staff member David Pickle. Opinions are his alone.