a different kind of election
I can't stand it, I'm a nervous wreck, and it's only 1:30PM Pacific time on actual Election Day. So, I took a moment to participate in another sort of election, albeit one with non-binding votes: the ESPN SportsNation poll regarding eight of the biggest issues facing sports
At the time I submitted my votes, approximately 105,000 others had as well, so the percentages below represent all those votes. I deviated from the clear majority only twice.
1. Should Major League Baseball have a salary cap?
YES; current results are 76% YES, 24% NO
2. Should there be an eight-team college football playoff tournament to determine a national champion?
YES; current results are 90% YES, 10% NO
3. In the four major professional sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey), should there be a rule that no one under the age of 20 is eligible to play professionally?
NO; current results are 51% YES, 49% NO
The four major sports are
different than tennis and soccer (for example), where U20 athletes are prevalent. My feeling is that if a U20 player is truly physically and mentally able to succeed on a team in one of the Big 4 sports, more power to them (LeBron James). The onus should be on the general managers to draft/promote those who can contribute, regardless of age. Freddy Adu can contribue to DC United at 16. Ben Olsen did, too. Others (the vast majority) do not. While no age limit is mandated, soccer GMs tend to live more in reality, it seems, than say NBA general managers. The latter are very hype-driven; LeBron, Kevin Garnett, Moses Malone, those are good examples of highschoolers who made the jump. The list is considerably longer for those who failed miserably. In baseball, kids signed at 16 (ahem) in Latin American countries, if they have the skills to play Gulf Coast ball, then by all means let them. The majority of major leaguers, however, have college experience, and expect to see that trend continue (see also, Moneyball
). Hockey players have a long tradition of utilizing the juniors to minors to NHL infrastructure, and if someone in the juniors is stellar enough to make it, they get the callup. The NFL is more like the NBA in that it (technically) doesn't have a minor league feeder system, but the physical attributes necessary to successfully play football would really require a freakish U20 player to successfully make a team and
stick around. So, with the exception of the NBA, I think that Big 4 GMs do a good job of recognizing the reality of the situation when faced with U20 kids "on the cusp" or greatness.
4. Should the winner of the All-Star Game determine home field advantage?
NO; current results are 30% YES, 70% NO
5. Should all major playoff games in every sport be required to start no later than 8 p.m., EST?
YES; current results are 59% YES, 42% NO
6. Should Major League Baseball use instant replay?
NO; current results are 36% YES, 64% NO
7. Should advertising be banned from all uniforms? N
NO; current results are 76% YES, 24% NO
I have this naive opinion that if revenue were generated from an additional source such as unis, costs to the fans wishing to actually go to a game would decrease (or at least not increase so exponentially). Arena Football has ads, soccer has ads, nearly every pro sport outside of North America uses revenue from uni ads.
8. Should college athletes be paid to play?
YES; current results are 24% YES, 75% NO
I know they're getting an education, and room and board, and can use the "athlete exchange" for used books so that they don't have to pay for them. However, by being disallowed from earning extra income while on scholarship, athletes are in a position of having less than other students who are also on scholarship. I believe the NCAA should either a) allow athletes to legitimately earn up to X number of dollars while under scholarship, or b) pay them a resonable "extra" stipend. I don't believe payments for athletes should be limited to revenue-generating sports, nor should payment be commensurate with the amount of revenue generated by the sport (javenlin throwers and football players should get the same).