The Internet is a place where people get mad. It’s a land of savages who follow others in large swarms to declare their outrage whenever it is deemed necessary. Often, and unfortunately, these people walking with figurative pitchforks are doing so without the same nuance and common sense they demand from those they’re demeaning.
Welcome to the fallout from the NCAA’s decision to not allow the North Carolina Tar Heels and South Carolina Gamecocks to play a charity game in an effort to raise money for hurricane relief.
In a vacuum, the NCAA’s decision is preposterous. It should be both an easy PR victory for the governing body, as well as the ethically correct move to allow schools to raise money when it is most needed.
For the longest time, I blindly agreed with this idea of allowing schools extra exhibition games when it can help people get through brutal times. It’s not like areas can plan for unforeseen disasters in advance, scheduling games for the specific charities that would be needed. There’s no great predictor of tragedy.
However, for reasons lost on myself, fear has settled in. This idea of the NCAA using “common sense” to determine when charity games are allowed will come with an eventual negative fallout.
It’s easy to stand on the pedestal today to scream about the NCAA not using its common sense when it comes to allowing this specific charity game. That being said, when asking the governing body to handle this on a case by case basis, using whatever system one deems most appropriate, we’re asking an inept organization to put a value on tragedy/disaster.
This should put fear in everyone.
In a perfect world, of course UNC and South Carolina would be allowed a charity game to help with hurricane relief. In fact, I openly advocate for it. But this isn’t about a can of worms being opened as much as it is blindly asking the NCAA to be able to oversee what future tragedies warrant such events.
It certainly doesn’t help that the same people screaming about the NCAA’s decision to not allow the charity game are the same who think little of the organization in every other way possible. It actually makes little sense. We — myself lumped in here as well — spend large portions of our time discussing how poorly the NCAA is ran, but then want it to be the rulers on how much value tragedy has?
This is backwards. It’s also the too easy opinion to have. To just bash the NCAA at every corner just because… even if we end up contradicting ourselves in the process. The NCAA can’t both be too incapable for almost everything, but also equipped to make common sense rulings on disaster.
And no. This isn’t something in which yet another fancily named commission needs to be formed. It’s simply something where the schools and the NCAA need to have an honest conversation about how to approach charity games moving forward.
Schools can use already scheduled games to raise money. Merely turn what was meant for a small attempt at preseason profit, swallow those few dollars, and use whatever already scheduled game on the docket as the needed charity game.
The problem with the above is obvious. Schools, right or wrong, are operating a business. The reason they ask for these “extra charity game” events are because they don’t want to lose the projected income each exhibition game provides. It’s a sad, cold state of affairs, but we can cry and yell about the NCAA’s decision to not allow these charity games, though we do have to acknowledge if complete altruism was at play by the schools, they’d simply repackage an already scheduled game as a charity event.
(For this game, North Carolina and South Carolina were unwilling to give up their allowed one public, one non-public exhibition game so the NCAA would green light the charity event. Both instead opted to petition for the third game.)
Bluntly put: The ire shouldn’t only be hurled toward the NCAA, but also these schools who are seeking charity games but most (not all) are not willing to do an actual charitable act themselves. They still want their money first — otherwise the schools would just repackage a profit-game.
There’s other ideas. Each year, schedule in a charity game. Let it be known, with the limited exhibition games allowed, one of those are going to be for a charity (likely, because no one can predict the future, one that can be determined later).
I am not sure of the fix. I’m not even 100 percent positive my thoughts on this matter happen to be a fully formed opinion. I do know, however, I’m not willing to ask the NCAA to put a value on tragedy. To eventually, because people will inevitably want a line drawn in the sand, tell one group of people their disaster isn’t worth as much as another’s.
Joseph Nardone has been covering college basketball for nearly a decade for various outlets in a variety of ways. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone.
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