Something’s Rotten in the State of Football

I live in what is locally known as SEC country.  No, I’m not referring to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In these parts, SEC is synonymous with the Southeastern Conference.  And as any true sports fan can tell you, the SEC means college football.
Arguably, in recent years the SEC has been the most dominant NCAA college football conference in the country.  An SEC team has won the NCAA football championship every year since 2006 and the odds on preseason favorite to win the 2013 title for the third consecutive year is the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

I would consider saying “Roll Tide! ” at this point, but my personal college sports allegiances actually reside within the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Perennially, the college footballTop Ten lists, such as the AP and Coaches polls, are dominated by SEC teams.  At the moment, five SEC teams are listed in a 2013 preseason composite listing of the top 10 college football teams.

Regrettably, there’s another less well known listing which is filled with the names of athletes who play football for SEC schools; presumably institutions of higher learning.  That would be a listing of those individuals who have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
At the moment, the Universities of Alabama and Florida (both SEC schools) lead the nation with arrests of athletes who play football for their school’s teams.  Both Alabama and Florida have had five current players arrested during the period January through June 2013.  The University of Kentucky comes in a close second with four players running afoul of the law during the same period.  The University of Georgia and Texas A&M have each placed three players in the pokie so far this year.  I won’t belabor the point by listing those SEC schools which have had only one or two players charged.

In total, between January and June 2013, there have been 25 Southeastern Conference football players arrested on a variety of charges.

Now before you think I’m picking on the SEC, this is a problem which is plaguing college football regardless of the conference in which teams play.  So far this year, there have been a total of 76 arrests made involving college football players across the country.  In 2012, 264 college football players were arrested; in 2011 there were 226 players arrested, with 88 such arrests being made in 2010.

Equally alarming are the numbers of college basketball players being arrested each year.  Year to date in 2013, 38 college hoops players have been taken into custody for one thing or another.  In 2012, the number charged was 74.

Given the fact that the number of players on a college basketball team is a mere fraction of those found on a football roster, the arrest percentage found among college basketball players may actually dwarf that of their football playing classmates.  I just don’t have the time nor the inclination to do the necessary analysis.

So where am I going with all of these arrest statistics?  No where in particular, other than wondering aloud if this trend is the direct result of the “win at all costs” attitude which predominates these days in college sports; particularly within the big conferences such as the SEC, the Big Ten, and the PAC 12.

After all when coaches, who have posted winning records for multiple seasons and are 9-2 during the current season, feel that they’re in jeopardy of losing their jobs – it just seems to me that there’s something badly out of balance.  Is it any wonder that they recruit and play anyone, regardless of past or present behavioral issues, who they believe can help their team win?

Here’s to simpler times.

Rickety Rack, Rickety Rack – Go State!


Arrest statistics available at:
Photo credit: sunsurfr Foter CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: The.Comedian / Foter / CC BY-NC



I’m Beginning to Feel a Tinge of March Madness!

empty stadiums
Yes, I’m fully aware that the NFL playoffs have yet to begin and it’s painfully obvious that college football is dominating the cable sport’s channels with one meaningless bowl game after another being played in half empty stadiums.

Regardless, about this time of year, my heart and soul begin to feel the inexorable tug of college hoops.  I’m more than ready to trade the oblate spheroid pigskin in on one of those round leather balls.  (I’m old school and still remember leather basketballs.)

Most of the games between the collegiate basketball powerhouses and their own versions of Sister Mary’s School for the Chronically Uncoordinated have, thankfully, already been played.  We’re at that point in the season where we’re starting to have match-ups that are well worth watching and which will have a real impact on who’s going to be playing in March and who’s going to be watching the tournament on CBS Sports just like the rest of us.

wirelessI had the good fortune of growing up in Atlantic Coast Conference country during the years when the ACC was building itself into the predominant college basketball conference.

Back in the mid-60’s, I spent countless Tuesday and Thursday nights glued to an old table top AM radio listening to static filled broadcasts of Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State games while I was supposedly finishing my homework.

As a result, I’ve been a college hoops junkie ever since.
Many years before tent cities like Duke’s Krzyzewskiville started appearing on college campuses, I was camping out in front of N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum for as long as three days at a stretch in order to obtain student tickets for games between my beloved Wolfpack and conference foes such as the Terrapins, Gamecocks, and Tar Heels.  That may have had something to do with my not becoming an electrical engineer as was originally planned, but I digress.

In recent years, the ACC’s basketball fortunes seem to have been on the decline just as the Big Ten’s have risen; but at least it’s not the Big East!  Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to watching the ebb and flow of the action on the hardwood during January and February ultimately leading up to the selection of the “Final 65” in March!
Thank you,
Dr. Naismith!