Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sadly, "Gators really are the Big Fish in the Pond."

The next time you watch the Florida Gators consider this: the University of Florida is laying off faculty; cutting back on textbooks; and reducing admissions for incoming freshman. On the flip side, the Florida Gator football team - through financial endowments - has been able to expand scholarships; get brand new Nike uniforms; and build a fresh 31-million dollar athletic complex. More importantly, spending on athletics at UF out paces undergraduate expenditures 3-1. Of course, Florida isn't alone in this category; across the board, head football coaches along with their assistants are increasingly becoming the highest paid employees on campus. Head coach, Urban Myer, for example, earns roughly 3.4 million dollars while University of Florida President, J Bernard Machen, makes $411.000 annually. How did all this happen? Probably the same way Hannah Montana and Brittany Spears became the most widely researched individuals on Google. Beating out my favorite, of course, Madonna. In all candor though, America's mania over college football is occurring during a time when thousands of adolescents will be denied an opportunity to attend college. These same universities crying broke during the recession are expanding luxuries boxes, football stadiums, and weight rooms. By limiting freshmen admissions, however, state universities are taking away the only ladder available for poor children to climb out of poverty; but since they are not politically connected, not one congressman would be willing to tax athletic revenue to create educational opportunities for the disadvantaged. Clearly if we are not more deliberate in appropriating all college revenue, this issue can easily become a national disgrace...and that's something mot even a gator can stomach.

New Orleans over New England
Pittsburgh over Baltimore
Carolina over New York
Jacksonville over San Francisco
Upset Special
Alabama over Florida

Sunday, November 15, 2009

For Black Coaches, a Referee's Body Language Speaks Volumes

Growing up black in the United States teaches you how to recognize an essential element of survival: body language. This is abundantly clear regardless of walking down the gang infected streets of Compton, or the sterling towers on Wall Street. But what about the gridiron? During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, referee, Tony Corrente's, crew made a glaring mistake. When Tampa Bay wide out, Michael Clayton, made a catch, he fell on his back; and from all appearances, Clayton was down by contact. While lying on the ground, Dolphin defender, Jason Taylor, ripped the ball from Clayton then jogged into the end zone. The official, however, hesitated before ruling no catch. Bucs coach, Raheem Morris, challenged the ruling on the field since instant replay revealed Clayton secured the ball when his elbow hit the ground. After reviewing the rerun, Corrente surprisingly ruled a fumble giving Miami a first down at the Tampa 13 yard line; the Dolphins, meanwhile, scored. Morris, justifiably staggered by the terrible call, voiced his displeasure to the a white official who flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was the body language of official, though, which caught my attention. Rather than approaching Morris in a non confrontational manner, he stood his ground, hunched his shoulders, and tossed the flag high into the air. With such a posture, African Americans hear a white man yelling loud and clear, "Don't raise your voice at me boy!" Morris backed off immediately, but looking through a class prism, you wonder if coaches like Bill Parcells, Jeff Fisher, or Tom Coughlin would have been allowed to argue their points? The Bucs are a bad football team, more importantly, officials are inclined to believe there is a good reason for their mediocrity; consequently, referees are less likely to tolerate any lip. In this case, however, a young black coach may have been put in his place by more than just lip service.