Sunday, November 6, 2011
The Monster Devours Happy Valley
And seemingly every week, it is something new.
The latest, Penn State's horrifying case of alleged sexual assault - rape, really - by former Paterno heir apparent Jerry Sandusky, is big enough to put all of the others into the "Also Receiving Votes" category.
The allegations, in a nutshell: Sandusky assaulted up to 8 at-risk young boys, in the Penn State showers, got caught, and Penn State coaches and administrators covered it up to avoid damage to the program's "pristine" reputation.
Goodbye, Cam Newton scandal. So long, Ohio State's tattoo controversy. Ha, Miami's hookers-n-cash expose.
Just look at this, if you can stomach it.
So how does this happen? How can something so vile be hushed away like a wideout who got a discounted car from a local dealership?
Because modern college football is a soulless monster, and it... does... not... care.
It does not care that the players make nothing, and the TV rights keep going through the roof.
It does not care that conferences which involve Boise, IDAHO, will be called the "Big East."
It does not care that dads ask for 6-figure cash for their kids.
It does not care that Ohio State players should have been ineligible immediately, there was a bowl to play.
It does not care that the Fiesta Bowl was soaked and dripping with fraud and embezzlement.
It does not care that many schools actually lose money on bowl appearances.
The monster that is modern, televised, quasi-professional college football does not care. It eats, swallows whole, and moves on.
Players, coaches, teams, budgets, conferences, ethics, morals, tradition, decency.
It eats it all.
An omnivore that nobody dares to stand up to.
The University Presidents won't do it. The NCAA won't do it. Congress won't do it. The TV networks won't do it, because they are the ones on the other end of the thick iron chain leash.
And we feed the beast. Yep. We the fans. We the media. We the rah-rah people with our face paint and BBQ ribs in the parking lot.
The LSU-Alabama game was another perfect example. Yes, it was a heavyweight matchup. But the dripping "oohs" and "ahhs" from everybody was just about enough to make you puke.
ESPN fed us 24/7 coverage starting on Tuesday, with reporters literally waking up with the coaches and driving in to work with them, cameras rolling and mics live.
The game was close, hard hitting, low scoring. Alabama's poor kicker couldn't hit the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of the Queen Mary. Given how a previously disgruntled 'Bama fan fatally poisoned two 100 year old oak trees to make him feel better, I would say that kicker should hire a food taster for a while.
Do I have an answer? I am about to make some soap-box like media "demands".
No. No I am not. I have no answers, and there's enough people on soapboxes already.
There's nothing that can be done, until the people in charge of the game, decide they want to have something done to at least trim the monsters claws, if not put it in a cage of some sort.
I do love the product on the field. But the system producing it is nothing short of abysmal. Even if you didn't mind the low-level criminality, bribery, assaults and what-not, the sport still decides its champion in the most grotesquely unpopular way.
I know how this season ends. An interminable 30-some days after the last regular season game. With a single "championship" determined by computers and polls. It'll take place about a week after New Years, be played on a weeknight, and start about 9:30 eastern, and last at least 3 hours and 45 minutes.
And chances are, it'll be a blowout.
Meanwhile, Penn State is trying to figure out how they can shield a nearly senile Joe Paterno from having to describe in open court, penis on penis action in his program's lockeroom showers, and why he and the entire program seemed to care more about their image than saving young boys a lifetime of pain and misery.
And yeah, the same monster - college football - killed a kid trying to film a practice in 50 mph winds on a 30-foot scissors lift for a maniac of a coach, and nobody got fired. I'll never let that one go.
All that said, I think Stanford is in a great spot, given how shaky Oklahoma State has looked as of late. And part of me hates myself for even thinking about that, or writing it.