The NCAA saves the world.................again

There are changes of policy, laws or ordinances that are almost life-changing. So important and vital to the national state of mind, that people knew where they were when this monumental thing occurred. Calling it an "event" would seem to be more accurate and the home of events lately has been the NCAA. They have once again bettered the world by making possibly the most significant change in institution policy that has ever been levied before.

They are the reason for mental instability. They've caused depression, anxiety and even hernias on almost a global level. And, like most things, it has become almost epidemic in proportion, ranking up there with some of the worst national issues that could have very well seen the supreme court step in.


Thank God for the NCAA, that said no more to this curse beyond curses and today, I can say this world is a much better place now that the National Collegiate Athletics Association has said NO to big media guides.


Oh, I can hear you laughing, but you try lugging around the latest media guides from all the schools in the Big XII, knowing full well that you are either going to need a dolly to get them out the door or a stretcher for the hernia you get by trying to lug them all at once.


It's not fair, I tell you.


Sure, Baylor's is little more than a pamphlet, but trying toting around the Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska media guides and you'll understand what physical duress is all about.


It's like archaeologists that dig up skeletons around the Giza Pyramid, noticing spines clearly deformed from all that heavy lifting to build one of the man-made wonders of the world. Well, in the future, when the world is but a shell of itself and has reverted to the iron-age, because we have blown ourselves up, they'll dig up skeletons from members of the media with eerily similar deformities.


The NCAA, though, God bless them for taking the time out of their busy scheduling investigating THE Ohio State and most of the SEC, to do this one grand favor to us in the media profession.


Of course, that's not why they said they did it. As usual, some statement from the NCAA comes out and says that this new policy of taking media guides down to 208 pages for everyone is a way to level the playing-field in regards to recruiting.


Long gone are the days when media guides were actually just for the media and there was a separate book made specifically for the recruits. Well, that wasn't fair, because some schools could afford to disperse them like they were the New York Times, while others could barely afford the brochure.


In their eternal wisdom, the NCAA put the kibosh on that, said no more recruiting guides, so instead, the universities upped the ante with the media guides and they went from 150 pages to 200, to 300 and well beyond.


The media guide isn't a media guide so much as it's a fan/recruiting/media guide. Well, unless you are Missouri .


Missouri decided that they would take it one, no, actually five or more steps beyond what they had before.


Bigger is better, Missouri woefully behind schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska , because those teams actually have done stuff like win titles, Heisman trophies, too numerous of individual awards to count; you know, stupid stuff, but it makes great page filler.


Missouri didn't have that page-filler, so instead of seeing their titles, we get to see 26 pages devoted to what they wear. Face masks, shoes, socks, you name it, Missouri thought so much about their duds, it makes up over a quarter of a hundred pages in the Big XII's largest media guide, boasting over 600 pages.


The Tigers even thought so much of their football team, that each individual player gets two whole pages to themselves, one page with a full size picture of them and possibly a hundred words of text and another page devoted to a picture of their state with that snazzy little star that indicates exactly where IN that state they are from.


Oh, and if that player is any good, they get four pages, one of course being another full-size picture of them. THEN, you get to Brad Smith. I'm looking in the Nebraska media guide from 2001 and there is former Heisman winner, Eric Crouch, who led his team to the national title game that year.


Four pages.


Four pages with two pictures, actually, neither full-size, in fact neither even take up a quarter of a page. Brad Smith, though, eight pages; two page-long pictures, six more pictures, the obligatory picture of the map, indicating where he's from and this monstrous border that exists throughout the entire "War and Peace" of promotional materials, that takes up almost as much space as the text itself, buried deep within.


I'll give them some credit in at least devoting five pages to the attractive Tiger hostesses, who show the recruits around when they arrive on their official visits.


That's another thing the NCAA did without even knowing it, that aided the media far more than they could have ever imagined.


Seriously, you are in the press box, feverishly trying to type an article of the game and you are trying to thumb through one of these paperweights, desperately attempting to locate who was a certain team's top rusher in a single game.


Sure, the contents work great, but with the stuff they have in media guides nowadays, it takes almost as long to peruse those as it takes to thumb through almost an entire media guide from the early 80s.


There's just too much crap.


Again, though, I don't blame schools like Oklahoma , Nebraska and Texas , who have enough history and successful history at that, to warrant having a book that is, shall we say, larger than normal.


I do, however, point the dreaded finger at a place like Missouri, that for only wanting to have a media guide as big as everyone else's, took a basic book of reference, with a little bit of promotion thrown in there and turned it into a photo album with words.


Wait a minute. It's actually not the blame we should be pointing at the Missouri's of the world that deal with media guide envy, it's the credit we should as members of the media, give them, because they have now saved our backs, legs and eyes from the weariness and frustration of dealing with these 500-plus page brochures.


The Columbia team aside, what the overriding issue is that once again, for the umpteenth time in a row, the NCAA has pronounced itself as the king of window-dressing campaigns, this being one of their best examples yet.


Limiting the size of media guides will stifle the advantage that the bigger schools have over the smaller schools. It will increase parity, it will lessen the impact of a team, who's actually won something and give the Rutgers of the world a fighting chance by making the media guide smaller.


The NCAA already took Rutgers ' fighting chance away when in the same futile effort in leveling out the competition in the recruiting wars, they took away the dog and pony shows for official visits.


Rutgers had the best show going. They would bring in 20-some recruits, show their highlights on the big screen, take them to dinner at the ESPNZone and watch on the big screens, a real sports anchor doing highlights of each and every potential commit.


Dancing girls, marching bands, whatever, it was Rutgers ' one way of showing recruits that they were special, that they were wanted and this university was willing to break out the REAL red carpet to show them just how much they wanted them to play at RU.


Take away that and you have the tour guide saying "Uhhh, here's the locker room, there's the trophy case. No, umm, that's the Lacrosse team's trophy case. The football case is over there, in the corner, on the night stand."


How exactly does having the same size media guide help them?


Does it get them on TV more? That's what sells recruits, face-time one of the most significant recruiting tools there is. Does that mean that Oklahoma only gets 50 scholarships, while Rutgers can now have 105?


Nope, it means that Oklahoma will have to recap their numerous national title games in a couple of pages instead, and Rutgers ?


Ok, bad example.


How about All-Americans, Heisman Trophy winners, players in the NFL or times they have been on TV?


You know what this all is, other than a useless policy that apparently helps in hitting the NCAA's annual quota for useless policies?


It's an insult to every prep-athlete in America.


It's flat-out saying to each and every high school kid out there that they can't tell the difference between substance and style. It's saying that the education and parenting of our youth has gotten so bad, it's up to the NCAA to step in and curb the obvious perversion of taking advantage of the ignorant masses.


Forget Academics, kids don't care about that. Forget tradition. What in the hell is that? National titles, awards, academic achievement and players that are successful beyond college either in a profession in sports or otherwise.


Kids don't care about that. They care about the size of the media guides.


Hmmm, how did Missouri do this last year in recruiting?


Alas, it's not a fix, a solution or even a band-aid for the illnesses that have stricken college football. Media guides haven't paid any players, bought them vehicles or created slush funds for recruiting parties. Media guides haven't won any national titles, put players into the NFL or made presidents out of mere men.


All they have done is promote whatever that school has to promote.


With schools like USC, Miami, Notre Dame and so on, it's about winning as a team and individually on and off the field. With schools like Missouri , well, it's about…….shoes, or something.


It all makes sense to me. I can see why the NCAA has made this a top priority, legislating the promoting of your school. Next thing you know, they will tell every program that has a national title, they can't show their trophies or even acknowledge that they ever actually won any, because it's an obvious advantage in recruiting.




No more will we as media have to lug the ten pound books. No more will you as a fan, have to thumb through seemingly endless pages that glorify your school and recap the accomplishments, whatever they may be.


It's like the conquering of the Ebola virus in scale, isn't it?


The only question is, if the NCAA is willing to go this far in leveling the playing-field in recruiting, what do you think they will come up with next?


Well, if we can use Rutgers as an example, their stadium holds just a little over 40,000 fans.


Penn State , you have 60,000 too many seats. Dump ‘em, because we're trying to level the playing-field in recruiting.


Hey Nebraska , all those fans can't wear the same color and they can't cheer. We are trying to level the playing-field in recruiting.


Hey USC, quit winning. We are trying to level the playing-field in recruiting.


And, Missouri , get rid of your hostesses, they are too attractive. We are trying to level the playing field in recruiting.


And they say window dressing is just for windows.


Thank you THE NCAA.

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