It's the most wonderful time of year. No, not dealing with all the family and crowded malls and dwindling bank accounts. It's bowl season, when teams dream of going to far off, dreamy destinations like.....Boise, Albuquerque and Detroit. It also rekindles the age-old discussion: playoffs, or no playoffs? Having covered Division I athletics for several years, I've had the good fortune of covering tournament runs in many sports. The excitement they generate is hard to describe in a blog. It's a feeling that is generated as your team advances towards a possible title. But once again, this will not be done in D-I football. And once again, college presidents are failing us.
The most mind-numbing explanation given is something to the effect of, "well, our student-athletes would miss a lot of class, especially around finals." I will tackle this from a few angles. First, the use of the phrase "student-athletes" can be at times, silly. Except for a handful of institutions, these schools could honestly care less if the kids graduate. The only attendance they're concerned about is at the stadium, not the classroom. Many of these kids are in school only because of their amazing athletic talent, and unfortunately do not take advantage of a free education that you and I would drool over.
Second, football players miss less class than pretty much every other athlete on campus. Most games are on weekends. You have a better chance seeing a football player in class Tuesday than a volleyball player. With the exception of the occasional weeknight game, football players are on campus all week long. The same cannot be said for soccer, field hockey, basketball, etc...who do a lot of traveling Monday-Friday.
Finally, with today's technology, studying on the road has never been easier. Laptops, smartphones, web-based teaching...it's quite convenient for students to learn while away from campus. Trust me, as the husband of a college professor, she's on call 24/7 thanks to all of it.
So let's call a spade a spade. The lack of a playoff isn't due to keeping the best interests of the student-athlete in mind. It's keeping the best (i.e.-financial) interests of BCS schools in mind. So until then, we'll watch, because that's who we are. But at least we're willing to admit who WE are.