SPORT AND SOCIETY FOR ARETE

by Richard C. Crepeau

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008       archive

Ohio State Football Inc. announced that Jim Tressel will be getting a raise of over $1M to $3.5M next year. That was before he went out and hammered the formidable Youngstown State Football Inc. on Saturday, 43-0. Certainly this drubbing will require another raise this week or next.

It was also announced that for the remainder of his contract, which runs through 2012, Tressel will be given raises of 3% or 4% per year. I assume the variance will depend on the CPI. Tressel is the highest paid coach in the Big Ten, although not in the nation. Surely this injustice can not be allowed to stand.

Yes, college football is back along with the NCAA tributes to the student athlete and a deluge of stories of the arrests of same. In acts of stern discipline student athletes will be suspended for the one or two games deemed not critical to the rankings. There will be stories of academic ineligibility and academic fraud involving the student athletes who are on campus in service of Football Inc., the home of amateur athletics and character building in the name of God and country.

If you go down the scores of the games this past weekend you will see clearly why it was so important to add another game to the work load of the student athletes. As promised the expanded schedule has brought increased thrills in the fierce competitive world of college football. A sampling of Saturday’s scores shows what great competition has resulted: 43-0, 52-7, 57-2, 56-10, 41-13, 34-0, another 52-10, 66-10, 56-7, and so it goes. Eat enough cupcakes and you will get sick. In truth most truly rabid college football fans couldn’t be happier than when their student athletes massacre those slugs from Patsie State.

Maybe it’s something about the coming of football season that ups the ante on silliness in SportsWorld. In the other big story of the past week the LPGA announced that it would be requiring all its members to speak English, and if they cannot they will have their membership suspended.

Several questions arise in connection with the new regulation. Who will set the speaking proficiency standards and how will they be tested? Is this regulation aimed at the high number of Asian players who have become a force on the tour? If the Asians become a majority in the LPGA will they require all LPGA members to be fluent in Japanese or Korean, or both? Has no one in the LPGA ever heard of simultaneous translation and the use of interpreters? Will all LPGA members be tested in English, including native speakers? Will corporations based outside the English speaking world still be allowed to sponsor LPGA events? Will reporters covering LPGA events be required to speak English? Has anyone in the LPGA ever heard of Globalization?

Also of interest this week was the announcement by the New York Jets and New York Giants of their seat license plans for their new stadium that will open in 2010. The seating selection plans for each team are different but the mugging of season ticket holders is similar. Current season ticket holders who would like to renew will be paying anywhere from $25,000, or perhaps more, down to about $1,000 for their Personal Site License or PSL. The income from PSL's is a perfectly legal scam that will be used to pay off the bonds for the stadium that each team is required to start paying on soon. You may notice that within this movement of money the fans will in the end (no pun intended) be paying for the stadium rather than the teams.

Purchasing your PSL will not guarantee that you will have the seat you desire or that you will be able to sit with the people you were sitting with in New Jersey. The seat selection processes are complex and different for each team. In short fans will be asked to fork over a lot of money well in advance of ever even seeing the seat they are buying. Yes, the NFL is all about the fans.

Some Jet fans have come up with an idea to offset the gouging. Howard Freeman of New Jersey, a Jets season ticket holder for over two decades, has developed a scheme to sell “naming rights” to his seat. This is a gem. According to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Freeman “envisions placing temporary signage on the seat and offering sponsor benefits like product sampling rights at his pre-game tailgate, free consulting and event marketing, the right of first refusal to buy unused game tickets and a guarantee that those who sit in the seat will wear the sponsor’s logo.”

The legality of all this is not known but marketing people think that if it is done in certain ways it can not be stopped by the Jets. At last we have a fan revolt that could actually amount to something. Freeman also might think about developing a card section that can flash commercial messages to the fans during all those interminable TV timeouts.

Finally, let’s return to the Olympics for one final television commercial:

On Sport and Society this is Dick Crepeau reminding you that you don't have to be a good sport to be a bad loser.

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