So this is how the discussion needle is moving. Slate hosted an Official Internet Argument on college football and whether it should be legal. And first of all, I'm wholeheartedly in favor of OIAs. Get some thought leaders together on a subject and sift through the key points, so that the rest of us never need to broach the subject again. Maybe they'll come to a conclusion, something like "okay let's only get rid of tight ends," which I'm down with.
I know why college football has come under primary scrutiny, which is that lots of people are making money and those people are not the players, who undergo great risk of injury, perhaps paralysis or death. And in the professional game we're seeing a rampant amount of players suffering severe depression and suicide.
Now, I will admit that the professional game is starting to sour on me. Never did I have a favorite NFL team and at this point I'm halfassedly vouching for whichever teams employ BGSU players — or in the playoffs, the most MAC players. Because otherwise the league seems to be a meat-grinder of sorts, where you're lucky to leave the game after 10 years with your body intact and pain-free. Yeah, all veteran professional players retire with chronic nagging injuries. Baseball players usually leave the game with messed-up arms and for basketball players usually it's feet or knees. For football players, it's not just the limbs: it's the brain. So that's kind of sad.
But that doesn't affect college football, at least directly. I'd categorize all the injuries into two different groups: sudden and chronic. The sudden ones are injuries that happened to, for example, Dante Love and Eric LeGrand. One regular-looking hit the wrong way and that was it for their playing days. Meanwhile, chronic injuries are going to occur to Ben Roethlisberger for the rest of his career. It's going to include aches to his joints, limbs and head. And this is not from playing college football. It's from playing a LOT of football, featuring large strong men trying to hit him hard.
On a tangential thought for the pros: what if there was a season limit? Say, after seven seasons you're done. No questions asked. Play a different sport. Play golf or baseball or a game that thirtysomethings are biologically equipped to play. These folks are usually versatile.
Now perhaps the injury aspect is what's disgusting, but on a different level the business side of big time college football is a little venomous. When you read about all the money poured into the bowl system, specifically the BCS, coupled with the creeping desire to pay players with money that smaller schools don't have, I've grown convinced that beyond any other sport, college football does an excellent job of drawing a permanent black line between the haves and have nots. The Big Ten and SEC are simply going to enjoy an easy pipeline to the championship process, whatever it may be — not only because of how human opinion influences championship contenders, but because college football teams' schedules do not require situations where they might lose to lesser schools by, y'know, playing them at their stadium.
Now is all of this reason to raze or reform the sport? Or is that just how it is: the haves will win championships and the "have nots" will still be happy winning conference championships, building a sports history within their own region and still produce top NFL talent? Personally I am in favor of leaving that which you do not enjoy intact and simply — now THIS is a radical concept — don't watch it nearly as much. It would be conceited of me to take an entity away that millions of well-meaning humans enjoy. Enjoy the distractions you like and leave the others be.
Of course, I say all of this with the MAC still intact ... for now. Better get back to the bomb shelter just in case.