Every-Thing Sports

How the NCAA can make sports more fair (and fun)

NCAA.com

At my fulltime job, I do a lot of driving around when I do in-home consultations. So naturally I listen to the radio, music, or podcasts all day long. During the midday yesterday, I found myself listening to Sports Talk 790's In The Trenches with Greg Koch and ND Kalu. Listening to a show hosted by two former football players during a Monday while football season in going on is not a bad idea. However, what was a most awful idea was a call they took early on in their show. The caller wasn't a corny character or anything. He was an actual person. He didn't seem to be drunk or under the influence of any drugs either. But maybe he's on to something about making the NCAA enforce new rules to make college football more fair:

Road game noise ordinance

The caller to ITT said the NCAA should enforce a noise ordinance for all road games because it's not fair that the road team can't always hear what they're doing on offense. He was highly upset about it and made sure to let the laughing hosts know he has their number and will call them to let them know how he feels. I suggest the refs carry a decibel meter and immediately throw a personal foul flag on the fans. If they get a second noise ordinance personal foul, random sections would get ejected for every ensuing penalty! Free throws in basketball, penalty shots in hockey and soccer...you get my drift. (Extreme sarcasm here for the sarcasm impaired.)

Transfer Portal Day

The transfer portal is open and available to all sports, but it mainly effects football and basketball since they're the most high profile and highest revenue sports. I wrote a piece about UH's D'Eriq King redshirting leaving redshirting yesterday. Since National Signing Day and announcements alike are such a big deal, wouldn't it be cool to see Transfer Portal Day? Just think about it: what if King did decide to leave and enter the portal? He's sitting in his parent's living room or a banquet hall and in front of him are three hats...you know where I'm going with this. Besides, if they were smart, the NCAA could monetize this by selling the exclusive television rights to one of their partners for a bagillion dollars. (I'm serious about this one.)

Whiffle bats and balls

NCAA baseball has long used metal bats. That distinct ping is a rite of passage to any NCAA baseball fan to hear. Much has been made about the safety of those bats. Some have even cited them as a reason scores tend to get out of hand. There's a mercy rule in Little League baseball to prevent such scores "in the interest of fairness and sportsmanship." I propose that any time the scoring differential is more than 10 runs, the team that's ahead must use whiffle bats and be pitched to with whiffle balls. Once the opposing team is back within five runs, the opposing team can go back to using regular bats and balls. Wonder what a knuckleball would look like using a whiffle ball? (Totally joking, but halfway serious.)

20 second shot clock in basketball

If the NBA uses four quarters, 12 minutes each, with a 24 second shot clock, why does the NCAA use a 35 second shot clock for two 2o minute halves? I've never understood that. Ever since I was a very young child, I've always questioned some of these things. Two 20 minute halves is cool. They don't need to go to four quarters. But the 35 second shot clock is utterly ridiculous! A 20 second shot clock is very time appropriate. They use roughly 83.3% of the NBA's standard time, so use the same percentage of their shot clock. Scoring would go up which causes viewership to go up which would make them more money. (Dead serious here. First proposed this once when I was high with some friends in college. They thought I was tripping until I did the math. That's when they knew I was on another level when it came to sports.)

One day, I'll revisit this subject in a more serious manner because I've long held onto several ideas the NCAA should use in order to improve several sports. Maybe I'll do it sport by sport. Maybe I'll do another composite article. I also have more jokes in the arsenal. Can't empty the clip all at once. I only added commentary as to which are jokes and which ones aren't after a conversation with Brandon Strange. If you don't know him, he and Josh Jordan are responsible for making sure a lot of the content you see or watch on SportsMap gets done flawlessly. Huge thanks and props to those guys for all they do. If you want to see me appear in videos expressing these opinions, hit them up!

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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