Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strangling the Student Athlete.

For those of you who don't follow college baseball very closely, the NCAA has implemented a new policy this past season, known as the "Compressed Schedule".

The compressed schedule is simply the NCAA not allowing teams to start playing baseball until February 22nd, a full 3 weeks after the old opening day of February 1st. What really hurts the schools is the NCAA's unwillingness to push the end of the season back, leading to said compression. What makes this system completely unbearable is the fact that the NCAA requires teams to play at least 56 games, and now, they require it to be done in 86 days.

As this article by Mark Schlabach attests, this is killing the student athlete. The rigorous requirements of the NCAA has some teams going on stretches where they play 15 games in three weeks. That's 3 weeks of class, just gone. You can't survive something like that.

The intent behind the rule was to allow for more equality between southern schools, and their northern compatriots who might not be able to play home games so early in the season do to weather. It's a nice idea, but it puts unrealistic strain on the athletes. You throw in rain delays, and things get even more cramped.

Here's the real problem. College sports schedules are not standardized. Some teams are playing exactly 56 games, some teams are playing well over 60. Some teams have 26 home games, some teams have damn near 40.

The solution is to standardize the schedule. Start the season on February 1st, and every team will play 56 games, 28 home, 28 away. The Southern Schools will host early in the season, and the Northern Schools will host latter in the season. This way, all things are balanced, and we can still carry on the season at a reasonable rate. It eases up on the athlete, and allows for a fair measurement when it comes time to select teams for the post season.

No comments: