As we enter the college football bowl season amid coaching changes galore I was given another reason to question my love of college football and football in general. We are all aware of the concussion problems in the game of football. The aging players who are battling dementia or worse have taken their own lives or the lives of others from the damage the game has done to their brains. It was brought home to me in stark fashion as I watched an episode of the excellent sports/news show Real Sports on HBO. Bernie Goldberg reported on a study at Purdue University in which doctors took MRI's of football players brains before,during & after the season. The findings were both clear and horrible. Brains that were filled with normal activity (shown in orange) before the season had those areas cut in half by mid-season(and approx 600 hits)...at the end of the season after 1500 hits, the orange areas were basically gone (especially in the front part of the brain where most of our reasoning ability comes from). The Purdue doctors say it's a pattern they saw over and over again. The participation in football was destroying these players brain function and making it almost impossible to accomplish what they need to do to excel in the classroom. My problem now is how can I go on enjoying college football knowing that the players are submitting themselves to this kind of damage? And, although football brings in millions of dollars to a University, how can people who run the college justify it. Most of these players will never suit up in the NFL...and the idea that this so-called extra-curricular activity is destroying their ability to do what they are actually there for...to learn...is really indefensible. Maybe it's time to stop treating college football as a minor league system and a free feeding program for the pros. I know that most football fans will not agree with this. They want to see the big hits and don't want the game "sissified" in order to protect the players. They view the players as gladiators who have made their choice. And although coaches at big time programs mouth platitudes about their "kids"...they are paid big bucks to win and the health of the players may sometimes become secondary. Like you, I will be watching the Bowl games starting next week...but after seeing the ramifications of playing the game for many of these "students" ...I'll never enjoy it the same way again.
Barry Alvarez will be back on the sideline for the Rose Bowl. He said yesterday that the Rose Bowl never gets old for him and he is really looking forward to it. A large number of recruits are coming to Madison this weekend and Alvarez said he will lay out for them what he is looking for in the next coach. Since Alavarez designed the program that Bret Bielema continued would think he will choose a coach that will continue that vision. Don't expect whoever the new guy is to change much of what is already in place. We'll see if it's hard to find someone who's willing to just rubber-stamp someone else's program regardless of how successful it's been.
I'll have high school basketball tonight as the Wausau East Lumberjacks head to Stevens Point. Pre game at 7:15 & the tip set for 7:30 on Foxsports1390 & FM 93.9...and also available as a podcast on Foxsports1390.com or wsau.com after the broadcast (around 9pm)
Songs of The Day (from my I-pod)
Let's Do It-Alannis Morrisette(2004) from the soundtrack of the movie "De-Lovely" which starred Kevin Kline as Cole Porter. Yes that's Morrisette on stage performing this Porter classic.
Let's Do It Again-Staples Singers(1975) a soul classic written by Curtis Mayfield from a comedy movie of the same...starring Bill Cosby & Sidney Poitier as boxing promoters...with Jimmie JJ Walker playing the boxer!