Mike Greenberg just went on a rant in which he said “the people I don’t want to hear from about the BCS this morning are people from the Big Ten, especially Big Ten administrators.” Why? Because it’s the conference administrators and the Big Ten commissioner’s office that decides that the Big Ten football season has to end before Thanksgiving. As Greenberg is saying this, his voice is rising and he’s getting very agitated and angry. Greenberg points out that he’s spoken to people at Michigan who acknowledge that finals don’t start there until this week. In another words, Greenberg doesn’t understand why the Big Ten is scheduling its football games the way it is, but Michigan’s inactivity is nobody’s fault but the school’s and the conference’s, and if that inactivity is what cost them while Florida was playing additional games, including the conference championship, that’s on the Big Ten.
Greenberg’s rant continued as he pointed the finger at Conference commissioner Jim Delaney whom, Greenberg asserted, “even admitted” two years ago that they schedule the conference basketball tournament too late on selection Sunday in March to affect the final seedings and deliberations of the NCAA tournament selection committee. Again, Greenberg is mocking the Big Ten, questioning their judgment and asking whom they’re serving by making these decisions.
Why is this amazing to me? Because Greenberg is getting
genuinely worked up and angry about the fact that a major conference might not
take every last opportunity to extract every last edge in positioning its teams
for post-season play. In other words, Greenie is finding fault with the Big Ten
for having priorities other than lobbying for its teams and for failing to
think exclusively about championships.
According to a recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times, here's some of the reasoning behind the Big Ten's ban on Thanksgiving weekend games:
"Big Ten coaches are nearly as unified about not extending the season past the third week in November. Most major conferences play on the Saturday afterThanksgiving, but the Big Ten has ended its season earlier so players and coaches can spendThanksgiving at home.
''The players ought to have some consideration in this picture,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. ''You would find it pretty close to unanimous that players like to be finished before Thanksgiving so they can leave campus and leave coaches and leave football and have a week to regroup and be with their families.''
'It would be very unfair to our players,'' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said of playing Thanksgiving week. ''We have a history in this
conference of ending the season beforeThanksgiving, and that's one of
the great things we do in the conference for the guys who play the
Now, if Greenie had pointed out the reality that the Big Ten puts itself at a disadvantage for non-playing field reasons (like thinking about the players and their families), and that that’s life and that Greenie respects the Big Ten for doing this, but that they have to know that this is a consequence of their decisions, I would have no problem with him saying this.</>
But, Greenie’s actually angry – as if it’s simply absurd that a major conference would think about anything but the competitive (and ultimately, monetary) bottom line.
For many years now, I have been listening to sports
commentators rant about the fact that in today’s world, all anyone cares about
is money and the bottom line and mercenaries and greed and not playing the
games just for the sake of it and corrupted priorities, and on and on and on.
And, I have heard Greenberg himself say things very much like this. So, the
next time you hear Greenberg complain about bottom line thinking, you can feel
free to ignore him. I think this is a first: a major member of the sports commentariat
lambasting a college entity for failing to think about anything but influencing
the NCAA post-season selection committees.
Does Greenberg really have nothing better to get angry about?