Recent investigative reports by Sports Illustrated and Yahoo! Sports have led further credence to the notion that most every college football program in the United States has broken some sort of NCAA rules in the past or is doing so in the present.
Even beyond rules violations, it can be reasoned that every program has or has had players that have engaged in behavior some people would consider to be inappropriate or even morally reprehensible, from drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana to engaging in casual sexual relations. Also, police records show that every program in the country has had a player arrested at some point.
“It can be really easy for some people to learn about these sort of things and become outraged,” said a source close to the situation. “Day after day they can seek out read about some scandal or supposed scandal and it really consumes them. On the other hand, there are people who think: ‘Hey, I like watching college football. It’s awesome and I’m really excited to watch a lot of it this Saturday.’”
And so a split has developed among college sports fans: those who enjoy the sport because there are great athletes on display week after week playing in exciting atmospheres before tens of thousands of people, and those whose attraction to the sport is finding out which program may or may not have violated, say, Section 32a, Subsection 4.1 of the NCAA Compliance Manual.
“I would be more in line with the people who like sports because of the sports part,” said the source. “Call me crazy, but that’s waht initially drew me to sports when I was a kid, not so much non-compliance or if a tight end or someone may have smoked marijuana. I can’t understand being so consumed by supposed scandals and the bureaucracy and moralizing aspect of it. But, hey, who am I to judge? If I was judgmental, I guess I’d be just like those people and that seems like an exhausting way to live.”
While it remains unclear which way the balance of power will tip in college football — towards those who enjoy the sport of college football or towards those who like reading 10,000-word reports — both sides have at least one thing they can agree on.
“Sometimes misconduct rises to the level that even the most carefree football fan has to just write off a program forever,” said the source. “Some guys smoke weed or cheat on a test? No. But say, for example, a program lets a child molester run free on its campus for 20 years. Yeah. Now that would really stand out. Only a monster could just watch that program’s football games and be, like: ‘Woooooo! Football!’”
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