Sports Commentary 10/2/13
So, the budget shutdown affects College Athletics ?? Really ??
ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCE FOOTBALL, POLITICAL STYLE
This is not a political commentary. It’s a non political question, and I’m sure once I ask it I’ll be inundated with e-mails offering all the obvious answers that escape a dim bulb like me. Here’s the question, which, while I’m posing it, I think will actually become a series of questions. Why is the department of defense, which has suspended intercollegiate athletics at the Army, Navy and Air Force Academies in the wake of the government shutdown, considering cancelling or postponing this weekend’s Air Force at Navy and Army at Boston College football games? If all they’re doing at this point is considering the action, with no firm decision to be made until noon tomorrow, why are they going public with a non decision at this time? The curious thing about announcing that cancelling this weekend’s football games is under consideration, and linking that announcement to the government shutdown, is that one should have nothing to do with the other. The Air Force at Navy game is an advance sellout and is scheduled to be aired on CBS. Army at Boston College, is also a sellout, also a televised game. Not one dollar of government money is necessary to stage either of those games. All travel and stadium operation expenses are more than covered by T-V money alone, and, considering that the television money goes back to the institutions, this is an opportunity for three government agencies to actually earn revenue during a government shutdown, which may be too much fiscal sanity for the battling politicians in Washington to grasp. What would make much more sense than shutting down the academy football games this weekend would be to put all congressional paychecks on hold until they resolve their issues, and make every member of congress accept the same insurance program they expect the people they’re elected to represent to live with. I suspect we might then see some accelerated action. But it’s the timing of the announcement that is most troubling. Going into day one the American people were told national parks would be closed due to the shutdown and 800 thousand government employees would be furloughed, but no one seemed to care. Life in America went on as usual. Then the announcement was made that athletic activities at the military academies would be suspended and civilian athletic department employees would be furloughed, but not coaches, who are exempt. Still no reaction from the American people. So, now, the ante is upped to hit most people right where they live when they aren’t working, in their leisure time sports activities, the ones that count most, FBS football games, the staple of everyman’s Saturday afternoon, at least the ones the government has control over. The implication is they’ll dig as deep as they have to until they finally hit a nerve that makes us believe a little government shutdown once in a while isn’t necessarily a good thing. If that’s what this is all about, it’s just a game of political football, let me just say, on behalf of sports fans everywhere, stay out of our world, you’ve already screwed up your world enough. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.