In the last few months there have been a number of scandals that made headline in the sports world. A few of them were in college football involving Michigan and Northwestern, who are both part of the Big 10. The Northwestern scandal got me loosely thinking about the deeper rooted reason why I let sports take a backseat to my life problems once I graduated college.
Well, when I heard about the Michigan scandals a couple of weeks ago I started thinking harder about it especially because my fellow writers here on Double Over Time have both long wondered why I did not care to watch college sports as closely as I do professional sports. The reason for this is not as simple as I made it out to be when I said, “I went to DePaul, they had no baseball team to root for and their basketball team has not been that good for most of my life.”
Where it comes to the Michigan scandals the one I am going to cover today is the sign-stealing scandal which is being investigated by the FBI. Like the sexual harassment scandal which damaged a few sports programs at Northwestern, including their football program, for the foreseeable future over the summer this scandal will damage the football program at Michigan.
The FBI is investigating multiple technology related crimes involving two former members of the University of Michigan football program including an offensive coach. Folks, I do not have a solid understanding of rules in football. However, I do have an overall understanding of how a sign steeling scandal can take jobs away from people and damage entire teams or, in the case of College Sports, entire programs.
There are two things with this scandal that got me thinking about my love of sports and the deeper rooted reason why I do not follow college sports closely and never did. First, according to ESPN many coaches in the Big 10 are calling for Jim Harbaugh to be fired. Jim has been a part of the football world for my entire life. Including his time in the NFL after being drafted by the Chicago Bears.
Before these reports from ESPN that coaches are calling for him to be fired there were rumors that he would voluntarily leave Michigan to come back to Chicago and coach the Bears. Here’s the thing folks: Where he is fired or leaves voluntarily I would not want to see him coaching a football team ever again. He oversaw a program and allowed the cheating. Moreover, he was the one who initiated the cheating according to my understanding.
This reminds me of the recent cheating scandals in baseball with the 2017 Houston Astros and 2018 Boston Red Sox. A. J. Hinch and Alex Cora have both served their time and know how to manage a baseball team I will not deny either of those facts. However, I would never want either one managing a team that I follow closely because they did not put a stop to the cheating and in both cases I believe they were the ones who initiated the cheating.
The second thing which got me thinking about why I do not follow college sports was the report from Sports Illustrated that Ryan Day was the whistleblower who got the investigation started. Being the whistleblower in a situation where rules are being broken is something that I will always be supportive of. Whether Ryan Day was the whistleblower or not is beside the point because I am supportive of whoever it was the called for the investigation.
Why you ask? Simple, José Altuve who still plays with the Astros was the whistleblower on the scandal in baseball and while I do not follow the Astros closely he is definitely a guy I would want playing in Chicago on either side of town because he knows how to play the game and he is one of the best middle infielders of the modern era. I do not know anyone who would not want one of the best players of the modern era playing for their team.
The deeper rooted reason I do not follow college sports and have become a bit more hands off with my fandom of my favorite pro sports teams is because I am not a supporter of any type of cheating whether it involves a scandal or not. Generally, I think it is easier for college teams to hide it when they are cheating until they get caught as has happened with the Michigan Wolverines
Also, I became a lot more hands off with rooting for me favorite pro sports teams ten years ago because I understood that MLB was allowing players to juice back to draw fan interest back to the game following the 1994-1995 MLB Strike. That on top of the corked bat incident with Sammy Sosa in 2003 made me follow sports less and changed how I feel about players who are knowingly involved in cheating.
With that… the Michigan football program will definitely be hurting for the foreseeable future.
If you cannot coach players to play correctly then don’t coach them at all.