Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: No moral dilemma in award voting

If there was supposed to be some serious moral dilemma voting on this year's Heisman Trophy, it somehow eluded me.

"Cameron," I typed into the online ballot Monday. "Newton."


There, that was easy. And lightning hasn't struck me yet.

In other news, bidding for my son's football services (he'll be a college freshman in 2023) starts at 50 cents. You also can take advantage of the "Buy it Now" option for $2.99.

How can you possibly punish Newton without a smoking gun? Still, though, the NCAA is dealing with an issue similar to the one that baseball has gone through with steroids. The greatest threat in both cases has nothing to do with ethics. It's not about Heisman voting or Hall of Fame balloting.

It's an image problem, an assault on authenticity that goes beyond high-profile reports. It's the assumption that, based on what we do know, there's a ton that goes on that we don't know.

Instead of wondering who's on the juice, we're wondering who's on the take.

The need to concede

Perhaps I'm reading too much into one judge's comments, but it doesn't sound good for Eastern Montgomery's Adam Sisson getting a court-ordered exception to the Virginia High School League age rules.

You're probably familiar with this story. Sisson, 19, has been fighting the organization for months to be allowed to play football, basketball and baseball for the Mustangs. The VHSL has stuck by its rule, which states that any athlete who turns 19 before Aug. 1 of his or her senior year is ineligible to compete.

Sisson's birthday is July 31. He argues that, because a learning disability forced him to repeat the third grade, he should qualify for the VHSL's hardship exception. The league denied his appeal, so Sisson's family took the case to court last week.

In delaying the hearing until Friday, Judge Glen Conrad said athletes being denied eligibility because of their age is "not an uncommon situation at all," adding, "It seems you're unhappy with the process because it didn't turn out in your favor."

No offense, Your Honor, but isn't that why ANY complaint winds up in court?

Still, the judge has a point. Sisson's appeal to the VHSL was heard -- and denied. At some point, he needs to reach the acceptance stage.

I'm sympathetic to Sisson's situation -- and I don't begrudge him taking this to court to test another set of ears -- but after hearing this judge's comments, it's time to concede.

My recommendation would be to chalk this one up in the "life isn't fair" category, withdraw the request for an injunction and get on with his senior year. Go cheer like heck from the sidelines in Salem this weekend while the Mustangs play for a Group A Division I title. Go sign up for EastMont basketball and baseball -- as a team manager.

Then take his hoops game to the YMCA, where an unlucky birthday won't block his jumpers.

No flow without 'Zo

The Virginia Tech basketball team has a lot of complex problems right now, so it's not fair to place blame on any one thing. But long-term, it's obvious that the Hokies must get more out of Dorenzo Hudson.

Much more.

The senior guard is averaging 9.6 points per game so far this season -- down from 15.2 last season. During Tech's three-game losing streak, he's shot 4-for-19 from the floor for a total of 10 points.

Tech coach Seth Greenberg has said he will stick with Hudson, who was less active than usual this summer because of an injury. The coach has little choice. Hudson was one of the team's key players last season; he's even more vital now.

Bowl bandwagon

This is the part of the column where I'm supposed to whine about the bowl system. Maybe take a swipe at UConn's inclusion in the BCS. Weep because Boise State got relegated to the Maaco Bowl on Dec. 22. Then I'll conclude that bowls are worthless, that we need a playoff right now. And the world will nod its collective head and say, "Right on!"

Can't do it.

Look at some of these matchups. Texas A&M-LSU, Penn State-Florida, Notre Dame-Miami, Michigan State-Alabama, North Carolina-Tennessee, Missouri-Iowa, Michigan-Mississippi State, South Carolina-Florida State.

And those aren't even the BCS bowls!

Hey, I wouldn't mind a playoff, either. But folks, these are fun matchups -- the kind of intersectional hookups we don't see often enough in the regular season.

In our haste to point out all that's wrong with college football, perhaps we should take a moment to appreciate some of the good. And this bowl season will provide plenty.

Weather Journal

News tips, photos and feedback?
Sign up for free daily news by email