I spent the past few days upstate at my alma mater; Syracuse, meeting with students and faculty as part of the Sports Management Advisory Board. There was a lot of conversation revolving around what needs to be changed across sports, and I decided to share with you some of my latest hot takes and opinions.
Before I begin, I want to fill you all in that I'll be going live on Facebook today to discuss some of these issues. If you disagree or are looking for more information, either comment or reply below or be sure to follow my Facebook page and ask me live!
Alright, here we go:
1. There seems to be so much excitement about the legalization of sports gambling, but not enough people are talking about the potential repercussions. While it certainly adds another interesting and fun element to the games, I think we need to be concerned with the integrity of sports.
We've seen gambling negatively impact sports before. Pete Rose bet on baseball and was banned from the game. I was told by former Baltimore Colts defensive end Bubba Smith that Super Bowl III may have been fixed. If you haven't read that interview, do so here.
I worry about situations like we saw last Sunday with Clay Matthews getting called for roughing the passer. What if the refs will be paid off? These types of calls can tremendously affect games.
2. I find it concerning just how much content exists nowadays. There are so many sports stations, and now we're even seeing social media channels like Facebook and Twitter get involved in the action.
I think there should be less content and more context. These networks should focus on quality over quantity.
3. Why haven't we been able to get women's leagues right yet? Sure, the WNBA and women's soccer exist, but nobody is rallying around them. Does anyone even know there is a WHL now?
Why are so many people shying away from these games? People are missing so many great athletes and games by opting for some of the men's games over women's.
4. I'm worried about the fan experience at live sporting events. Some of the more traditional leagues seem to be having some trouble adapting to the modern world. There should be a place to plug your phone in at every seat, and there should be accessible Wi-Fi at every stadium.
The fan experience has undoubtedly improved over the years, but has it been enough to keep people entertained for 3-4 hours? When I was a kid, it was the end-all be-all to go to a game. Do kids feel the same way now?
All of the player movement between teams probably has something to do with this. It's hard to be a fan of a team when the players are constantly being traded or signing with other teams.
In addition, the quality of televised sporting events has become exceptional. It's phenomenal being able to watch a game with such high production value on your 100" TV that somehow only cost $200 (TV's are so cheap these days)! Between all of the different camera angles and instant replays, the TV experience is often better a game than watching in person.
5. Are the leagues fair? As much as I loved the Golden State/Cleveland Finals series, is it fair that a majority of teams across our major sports teams haven't at least gone to a championship?
In Major League Baseball, over a third of teams (11) have not been to a World Series since 2000, and 7 teams have never won.
In the NFL, 12 teams have never won a Super Bowl, and 14 haven't appeared in one since the turn of the century.
It gets worse, too. In the NBA, 12 different teams have never won a Championship and I counted 17 that haven't made it since 2000! That's over HALF!
How do we make this more fair?
6. I'm still concerned about performance enhancement in sports. It's hard for me to believe that this issue has completely gone away. Is this problem under control? It sure feels like something is still going on.
7. College athletics. Between the one-and-done's, the uneven amount of $ distributed to some Division I teams over others, and the never-ending argument about whether college athletes should be paid - there's a lot to unpack. How many teams are destined to never win a championship from the start due to the disadvantages they're given by bigger schools?
Some of these players are barely going to school for a year, and then can't afford anything afterwards if they get hurt or under perform. How are they supposed to live?
8. Do athletes realize the accountability of constantly being in the limelight and on TV? Sports are supposed to be fun, uplifting, and motivational. It's a blessing that we have such an amazing sports industry in this country. But should we look at our athletes as more than just athletes?
Does it matter how many touchdowns or baskets someone scores? We're seeing a lot of athletes today take advantage of their place in the spotlight. I mean, LeBron James has the power and influence to be in a Twitter fight with the President!
I wonder how some of the players feel about this. I'm sure some of them prefer to just dribble, and some want to do more than just dribble. Can we get on the same page?
Song of the Day: "99 Problems" by Jay-Z
Quote of the Day: "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." - Heywood Broun