The torrid love affair pitting grit and college football together in a sweaty and exhausting performance art exhibit that would make a geisha legend blush is officially over. The resulting scandal has gone viral across the expanse of the digital tabloids inhabiting the global villages of social media. With the gasp conjuring arduous breakup most likely caused by the glorification of modern players, the pathway of former student athletes walking the lugubrious pathway to hide their shame and frustration tell stories of coaches telling them “to rub some dirt on it and get back in the game”. These anecdotes do not elicit a flattering reaction from the younger generations. This is a result of the rhetoric of baby boomers grandparents delicately embellishing walking three miles to school through blizzards and mountains, while being accosted by carnivorous squirrels with the obstinance and disposition of a mountain lion. The kids have been programmed to believe it is all hogwash even though it isn’t, thanks to the musings of the long-departed elders, as any validity is banished to the hinterlands.
With entitlement, soft parenting, and political correctness all complicit in elevating the contemporary prima donnas of the gridiron to a pedestal where individual branding is emphasized over actual performances. As a result, the future of the sport hangs in the balance. The putrid disaster of the Names Image and Likeness (NIL) program implemented in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from television revenues and ticket and merchandise sales directly to scholarship athletes, has gotten off to a rough start. The self-driving vehicle dumpster fire of the transfer portal annihilating any residual accountability left behind the prodigious walls of campus life, amateurism at least in the big sports has been sentenced to death by ghoulish methods perfected during Spanish Inquisition. What only enhances the rate in which reality is butchered by vanity, is the packs of football Twitter dads, who cannot be distinguished from raucous hooligans in bashing coaches midseason. If the product of their progeny does not see the field in what the father’s construe as justifiable playing time, or attacks on fellow players (mostly quarterbacks) for not throwing to a their sons. At least the futbol hooligans, even though they are defined by their propensity towards groupthink, do not hide behind a computer screen or smart device in actively rioting and pillaging the streets adjacent to the stadium in a vibrant drunken rage sponsored by raw emotion and copious amounts of Irish carbombs.
With the new rules, and the writing clearly on the restroom wall, college football has simply lost all intrigue. Though the pageantry and gameday traditions are still practiced, they seem like empty gestures against a backdrop of lucrative finances transforming star players into millionaires at 18-years-old. While compensating student athletes with periodic stipends would have been a reasonable solution, the bureaucratic response of NCAA in unleashing NIL protocols was rushed and ill-timed. As the players are integral in generating mountains of cash to fund an entire athletic department budget, and deserve at least a piece of the financial pie, the convoluted nature of the flawed directive is only exacerbated by the out of control transfer portal, which celebrates the antithesis to commitment. In combination with the incendiary existence of social media, and the unsettling trajectory of society, the explosion of stagnation and sterility is only enhanced by the unrelenting volatility.
The actions of a wide receiver’s father via Twitter epitomizes the current crises and disappointment with toughness disappearing from the game. The no-consequence environment provided by the prodigious social networks is the optimal platform to abuse the proliferation of information for underhanded negotiation tactics. An highly recruited unnamed offensive player at a major university, clearly not ready for significant playing time on the field, apparently was swayed by tweets blasting a coach, and lauding his undeveloped skill-set in creating a monster. Multiple times the student athlete failed to “finish a play” out of frustration leading to a pair of interceptions in a showcase of juvenile entitlement not meant for the spotlight of bigtime athletics.
Society already faces the disturbing phenomenon of egos inflated and stoked through social media, but add to this already unstable mixture, extensive feedback from fans, the bloated stage of revenue generating sports, and apologist parents, and the subsequent nuclear explosion has falsely anointed a young person as a success, even though they are clearly unproven. The presence of the NIL program, and the transfer portal is like a decedent upgraded solid gold luxury vehicle of participation trophy hedonism, and college football is has suddenly become cumbersome and uninspired.
With Texas A&M curiously losing a five star recruit to the portal and the prevalence of an innovative NIL network that is lucrative on a multitude of levels, all bets are now off on the level of chaos created by two very sketchy ideas intertwined, and the fate of the smaller athletic programs may have already been sealed. It all began with the ill-fated actions of Congress allowing the whole thing to unravel, and proving that law makers are horrible ambassadors, and even worse in making business decisions, and the end is nowhere near as the old-school is buried by the alleged liberation of individuals already blessed with the guarantee of an education paid for, and given the privilege to perform in a rock star atmosphere of hero worship and incessant fandom.