When it comes to sports, logic takes a back seat

December 09, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

There are times when all-conference team selections just make me shake my head.

I'll give you a simple example from the All-MVAL Antietam volleyball teams, comparing two players who played the same position. Player A averaged about 2.3 kills and 1.5 blocks per game. Player B averaged about 1.5 kills and 0.9 blocks per game. Neither player served or played significant time in the back row, so the kills and blocks numbers alone make for a fair statistical comparison.

I'll add that I watched both players play this season, and player A made a bigger impact on her team than player B did on hers.

Yet player B was named to the first team and player A was relegated to honorable mention.

The only reason, as far as I can tell, that player B made the first team and player A did not is because player B is a senior and player A is not.


That is absolutely unfair to player A.

Coaches love to preach about senior leadership, and yes, that matters. But when one player clearly outperforms another on the court - as I believe is true in this case - senior leadership alone should not make the difference between being named to the first team and being named honorable mention.

Being selected for these teams should not come down to whether you're a senior, junior, sophomore or freshman. Players should be rewarded based on their performance, not their grade.

ยท By now you've heard every argument for and against the BCS that exists. I'll throw one thought out there - if, out of 110 or so Division I-A teams, only 50 or so have any chance to win a national title - even if one or more of the other sixty teams go undefeated - is the system really working?

Of course not. If at the beginning of the season you can tell more than half the teams to take a hike, since there's no chance they can achieve the one thing every team should have a right to play for, then it stands to reason that Division I-A football is pretty messed up.

This is the exact reason why college basketball is so much better than college football - because the national champion is undisputedly decided on the court, instead of in polls and in computer rankings. In Division I college basketball, no undefeated team - or conference champion, no matter how small the conference is - goes without the chance to play for a national title, because all those teams get a bid to the national tournament.

I've heard some commentators say Utah and Boise State - both undefeated teams - have no reason to complain about not being in the national title hunt. Wrong. If those teams are part of Division I-A, those two teams have every right to say they should be playing for the national title. Period.

That's why I can't stand the fact that college presidents will never endorse a playoff system similar to what's in place at the lower divisions, because of the number of games teams would have to play and the amount of additional traveling required. Isn't it funny how you never hear complaints about those schools in lower divisions criss-crossing the country for playoff games, or that they're playing too many of them?

It's a load of hypocrisy that needs to change, and I don't want to hear crap from those who say the presidents will never change it, so we should stop complaining, because that's a cop-out. Until the change to a playoff is made, the way Division I-A decides its national champion will continue to be an embarrassment to the sport.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

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