About BTiell Sports Reports

Dr. Bonnie Tiell writes a monthly column for the Tiffin Advertiser Tribune Sports Department (http://www.advertiser-tribune.com/). This blog archives each column and dates back to the 2008 Olympic Academic Experience in Beijing, China. Check out the Blog Archives to read more. Check out info about the TU Olympic Academic Experience at http://www.tuolympics.blogspot.com/ and contact Dr. Tiell at btiell@tiffin.edu

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DECEMBER 2009 - Tiger Headlines Most Memorable 2009 Sport Stories

2009 is about to end an amazing decade and surely, Tiger’s indiscretion will go down as one of the most memorable stories, ever. Tiger’s really a Cheetah – and human after all. Beyond the Tiger tales, there doesn’t seem to be a long list of stories that jump off the sport pages from the past year. Perhaps perceptions will be different in 2019 when looking back ten years. Consider the headlines from a full decade ago.

The year was 1999. All eyes were on the homerun race between Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. Brandi Chastain was immortalized after she ripped off her jersey following USA’s World Cup victory. John Elway, Wayne Gretzky, and Steffi Graf retired. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was attempting to re-invent itself in the wake of Salt Lake's bribery scandal, and Lennox Lewis beat out Evander Holyfield in the 1999 boxing title.

A decade later, one of the most memorable stories (yes – beyond Tiger) may have been Serena Williams’ court tirade - totally reminiscent of a classic John McEnroe. The Best Unsolved Sports Mystery surely has to go to figuring out the gender of the young South African sprinter who won the 200 meters women’s event at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. NCAA basketball had some storied moments including a game with six overtimes [Syracuse outlasted UConn in the Big East finals last March]. The year has seen some notables fading into retirement including Oscar de La Hoya, Tony Dungy, Bobby Bowden, Sheryl Swoops, and John Madden. More memorable will probably be the comebacks of the year. All hail to Brett Farve (a-gain), and Michael Vick.

On the college scene, The NCAA college football rankings can be considered pretty memorable. Just ask the TCU Horned Frogs, Boise State Broncos, and Cincinnati Bearcats who will be competing in one of the five big Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games. The administrators at these schools are walking above the clouds reveling in the multi-million dollar glory of high profile bowl game stakes. The five major BCS games disburse $17,000,000 to EACH school participating. Yea – Cincinnati just hit the mother-load. Incidentally, among the 35 bowls involving 70 universities, the smallest payout is $300,000 going to UConn and South Carolina who will battle it out in the Papa John’s bowl January 2nd. The total payout for a few weeks of bowl games will be over $250 million.

Despite the fat paychecks, there is a still a price to pay for programs and players participating in a bowl game. One school is paying more than the typical travel-related expenses. How about the University of Alabama cancelling classes for three days? Surely the faculty isn’t pleased that the price the Tide will pay for a national title appearance is the marginalization of academia. It is estimated that only 5% of the student population will attend the game as a player or spectator. Then again, if there WERE a true tournament style bowl championship series, the first rounds would be regionalized and games would be on weekends which would result in less class time missed. Obama and various state legislators support a playoff system, but capitalism has saved the current proliferation of commercialized bowl-game match-ups.

Making a pretty bold statement that “academics IS more important than football” is the infamous University of Notre Dame. With a 6-6 record, a “bye-bye” to Coach Weis, and a hello to Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly, yes - Notre Dame considers itself rich enough to turn down a bowl invitation this year. I found one source that cited the Notre Dame football program generated over $97 million in 2006 from media deals, ticket sales, and merchandising. Can anyone imagine Cincinnati or TCU refusing to accept a bowl invite in any year let alone earning half the amount Notre Dame generated?

Before we close out 2009 and in the spirit of the holidays, here is a classic (albeit, a bit sarcastic) run down of generic sport-related wishes. Sing along if you must… “On the twelfth day of Christmas, I wish the sports media gave to me…….”

• Twelve more reasons to watch all 35 bowl games;
• Eleven more excuses why Tiger shouldn’t lose any more endorsements;
• Ten smiling Yankee fans gloating over the trade for Curtis Granderson;
• Nine get out of jail free cards for Michigan State football players;
• Eight straight hours of NFL Sunday night highlights;
• Seven consecutive nights of constant televised NBA games;
• Six more months of NBA games;
• Five Golden tickets [to the Super Bowl, Final Four, ….]
• Four more tattoos on Allen Iverson
• Three winning pro teams in Cleveland next year
• Two tenths of John Calipari’s annual salary
• And One extended contract to keep LeBron James in Cleveland

Call it a wrap for 2009 and stay tune for more interesting perspectives on the sports scene next year.

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