This week in the Big Ten: Bad idea receives poor reception

Another week of the college football offseason has gone by, and the last day or two was dominated by talk of something that will never happen: freshmen becoming ineligible again. Big Ten logo

Even if this were a good idea, it wouldn’t happen because of the impracticality of it. I guess I agree with those who are viewing this as a shot across the bow at the professional leagues, particularly the NBA, regarding how their rules affect colleges, but I’m not too convinced it’s going to do anything if that is the case. They have plenty of their own things to worry about. 

Right now college football and college basketball are by far the best options for development in American sports. That’s probably why you hear more people outside the system complaining about it than people inside the system. A lot of baseball and hockey players who have the option to do something else also happen to pick college, too, which should tell you something. That is despite not even getting full rides in college, by the way. The college system could be improved in myriad ways, but it still provides far more overall than a player toiling in the baseball bush leagues gets. And in most cases the first big pay day still comes for football and basketball players at a younger age than baseball players, too.

In this case, though, the rumblings about the need to consider a radical change is not coming from athletes or pundits but rather folks on the other side of the aisle. The genesis of this discussion about the state of college athletics is school administrators worried about the integrity of their institutions apparently. You’ve also got Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz indicating to ESPN redshirting everyone would be a net positive, but if you’ve paid attention to this stuff for any amount of time you know that is very likely not true.

Everyone is different, and some certainly can benefit from an extra year in college, or perhaps more accurately one more year to prepare for the NFL or NBA. However, there are also plenty of guys who find redshirting harder than playing, and there have been situations at Ohio State over the past decade where guys who really might fit the profile of being better off waiting still finding their way onto the field in some role or another. And in that case it was often because the coach had determined he was a guy who needed the carrot of playing time to maintain his focus rather than the opposite, which is what people like Ferentz seem to be preaching.

The most amusing part about this — aside from knowing Urban Meyer’s thoughts on redshirting, reading Ferentz’s and thinking about the difference in outcomes they have produced in their careers — is this was floated out there a week earlier and had thus already been shot down by intelligent pieces from ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan (“Freshman ineligibility is just plain dumb” and Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News (“Commissioners Bowlsby, Scott should be done with freshman ineligibility campaign”).

Turns out Thad Matta, who has had his share of one-and-dones, is not seeing positive returns on this discussion, by the way.


Other items of note from the past week: 

With the widely panned addition of more piped-in music to go along with bad video board skits and boring in-game commercials at Ohio Stadium last year (not to mention the mishandling of the band on and off the field), checking out how brand management helped sink the last Michigan athletics administration can be instructive: “The Failure.” If you’ve been following this, particularly through the eyes of the author of this piece, not a lot of this is really new, but it’s interesting to look at everything in full.  Also worth noting is how Brandon’s incompetence reflected upon Brady Hoke. I tend to agree Hoke probably is not a bad guy even if he isn’t fit to be head coach at a place like Michigan. Brandon made him look like a fool at the end after probably building up expectations too high for him in the beginning.

Would you believe the most successful Indiana Mr. Football to this point is Rex Grossman? Link

The latest confirmation Braxton Miller will be in scarlet and gray this fall. Link

Devin Smith explained why he thinks Cardale Jones will win the starting job. I think he’s probably correct, but Miller will be a factor if he makes a full recovery. Link

James Franklin may or may not live up to the hype in the long run, but there is no denying he’s made a huge impact on Penn State in just one year in Happy Valley. Link

He might not have been a starter at Stanford, but an expected graduate transfer could be huge for Penn State’s beleaguered offensive line, which was the worst unit I can remember seeing last season. Link

One of Franklin’s assistants had a really stupid Twitter spat with a former Ohio State assistant coach who was also a standout player for the Buckeyes. Link

A loaded New Jersey give Rutgers a chance to put together a great class, but the Scarlet Knights are going to have to beat not only Maryland but likely face invasions from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State for some of those in-state studs. Link

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