Ah yes. Yesterday was a glorious day. Football is back. Although the Utes won the game, the fact that college football (soon to be followed by the NFL) is back sent joy into my heart once again. I suffered through an agonizing summer (although richly helped by the World Cup) of 2000 baseball games and an occasional world championship basketball game and tennis match. Finally, football is back...
Now on to my topic. BYU recently decided to become an independent in their football program at the sacrifice of every single other sports program. Why? Why shortchange ALL your other sports for one sport? Because football is king. Because football = money.
Is this a good thing? BYU will undoubtedly make more money as an independent than as a conference member in the MWC (consider one example: their new TV contract with ESPN will allow most of their games be televised on ESPN instead of the mountain. The Mountain network gave the school around 1.5 million dollars per SEASON, while ESPN will be paying BYU around that much money to televise a single game.). It is clear, then, that football runs the show at BYU.
In America, BYU is a microcosm of what makes the sporting world go round. It comes to no surprise that the Super Bowl is the most important annual sporting event for the majority of American Sport Fanatics. So this begs the question... is this a good thing? Is the dominance of football healthy for our nation? Is football a king Noah or a king Benjamin?
Let's look at some of the pros. Football can act as a powerful catalyst for economic activity and consumer spending in many cities, especially cities that house an NFL team. The amount of revenue generated, to a large extent, is getting redistributed in the form of entertainment - people pay for football to happen, and in return, football happens, and people (for the most part) are satisfied. Sheer entertainment value is another possible benefit of football. It is (again, for the most part), a fun to watch, clean, enormously entertaining sport that puts talents on display.
But what of the cons? These seem to be easier and easier to list: unbelievable amounts of time and energy are wasted on this sport. The players themselves are payed ridiculous amounts of money. Football encourages rampant gambling, scandal, and the danger of presenting men like Ben Rothlisburger, Plaxico Burress, and Michael Vick as role models for kids to look at. Football cheerleaders wear less and less per year. Colleges spend more and more money on their fooball program instead of giving more money to their students and the academic facilities.
As a lifetime fan of football, I obviously don't want it to go away. But I do see a danger inherent in the presence of football at such a high level. And no, I have no solution for the problem.
As for now, though, I welcome the upcoming season (despite BYU's fatal decision to start 2 quarterbacks). With open arms.