The Blueprint

Students write sports editorial for Sports Lit class

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Students write sports editorial for Sports Lit class


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As one of their final assignments in Mrs. Lisa Barnes’ Sports Literature class, she assigned her students to select a topic of their choice and write an opinion piece.

Athlete Gone Rogue

Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back, Le’veon Bell is currently holding out on his contract due to money issues. For those who do not know, Le’veon Bell is an All American running back and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Bell has played for the Steelers for almost five years, but now that may all come to an end. Bell currently has a franchise tag placed on him, for the second year, for $14.5 million. Bell has refused to make an appearance at any Steeler activities or sign the franchise tag which could be ruining his NFL career. He is currently ineligible to play the 2018 NFL season due to the holdout.

Now the bigger question here is, “Why is a multi-million dollar athlete holding out on a contract to play the sport he knows and loves.” And to put it in the easiest way possible… it is because the multi-million dollars is not enough. He wants more. And for an athlete who has not completed a single season without being injured and having a loss of playing time and suspensions, it seems very far-fetched for him to be asking for more money. For a player who should be dedicated to his team and fan base, it was a disappointment when he did not show up to training camp in August.

The summer going into my junior year, I was able to experience what all the Steelers had to offer hands on. Shadowing the Steelers head athletic trainer was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many high school students ever get to experience. At training camp, it was very obvious there was some tension from the fans, but also from everyone on the field. Le’veon Bell had not shown up to training camp and it definitely had a significant impact.

Bell believes he should be paid as a wide receiver, in addition to being paid as a running back. He wants to have the combined income of an NFL running back as well as a wide receiver and even that isn’t enough. He wants to be paid even more. In anyone’s right mind, that is just absurd.

So many college athletes wish they could have the chance to play in the NFL as well as have enough money to support their families for the rest of their lives. In my personal opinion, it’s selfish for Bell to ask for more money in his contract when there are so many more hard-working players in the Steelers franchise that deserve an increase in their contracts as well.

For the amount of money Bell is asking to add to his salary, the Steelers could probably give each lineman a significant increase in their contracts instead of paying Bell the money he wants, which is the more realistic solution.

As for Bell’s future in the NFL, it doesn’t seem very bright. If the Steelers do not choose to resign Bell, many other teams may not sign him due to his lack of team support and his inability to make a contribution to their franchise.

Le’veon Bell is by far a very talented and gifted athlete that deserves to be paid the millions he already has, but his immature acts toward the Steelers franchise should be noted by all NFL teams. by Mary Ward

 

Le’veon Bell to the Colts?

Le’veon Bell has opted not to play the rest of this season after not signing his Franchise Tender, making him ineligible to play the rest of the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Bell are most likely parting ways after this season, which makes Bell available for trades. Bovada, an online gambling site, gives the Indianapolis Colts a 4-1 odds of landing running back Le’veon Bell. Many believe that this would make the Colts an instant contender for the Super bowl next season, as they are in need of a premier running back.

Colts fans should be pumped about this news as Bell is arguably the best running back in the league. These rumors started when Bell responded to an Andrew Luck highlight real saying, “just imagine.” The Indianapolis Colts have a solid team this year, but are currently in the fight for the playoffs at a 7-6 record (at presstime). This pickup would relieve a ton of stress from Andrew Luck’s shoulders as he is basically the only viable option they have, as their running game has not been too successful. The Colts also have the best offensive line in the league allowing Bell to work his magic on the field. This is all going to come at a price as Bell will be expecting at least $50 million dollars for over three years. The only thing is, Bell is still under contact with the Steelers, meaning the Colts would have to trade for him.

The question now is, should the Indianapolis Colts sign Le’veon Bell? The few downsides this pick up is that, for one, he did basically quit his previous team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Secondly, he costs a lot of money but the Colts have a lot of room to work with. Next year, Colts projected salary cap space is over $49 million dollars, leaving plenty of cap space for Bell and possibly other key role players. There is absolutely no question that Bell is worth the money for next season, but will he be worth it for the next three seasons?

Le’veon Bell is currently 26 years old, which sounds pretty young, but for an NFL running back he is probably past the halfway point in his career. The average NFL running back retires at the age of thirty but are usually effective in the league up until the age of 32.. Although the statistics say that Le’veon should be a viable option for the Colts for all three years, each running back is different. Le’veon has had a good amount of knee injuries over the years which could lead to a drought in performance. Then, he has also been resting for a whole year due to his failure to show up to play for the Steelers. I would suggest that the Colts make a run for Bell because, let’s be honest, they haven’t been a huge threat since the Peyton Manning era.

I’m not saying that Le’veon Bell would not be a good pick up for the Colts; it is the exact opposite, I just do not think they should give up a lot to get him. I do not believe that the Colts should give up anything more than a third-rounder, anything better would be a little much. Le’veon Bell turned down a seventy million dollar contract to play with the Steelers, this means that the Colts have all the leverage in the deal. If the Steelers are stuck with him again, they probably won’t see much of him during the season.

I would definitely support the Colts in signing him because they could be such a ginormous threat on the offensive end. The Colts don’t have any reason not to sign him, they have the money and a team that is a perfect match for Le’veon Bell.  by Aidan Sedlak

 

Why college athletes should be paid

It is my belief that college athletes go through a rather enormous amount of effort juggling school, and sports. With sports at the college level taking up more time than an average job for those also attending college. Many of these athletes do not come from rich families, and therefore have no means of providing for themselves. Some even rely solely on their sports skill to put them through college in the first place.

Anyways what I’m trying to say is that sports at the college level are an absurd time sink and those who choose to participate should be rightfully compensated. Of course there are many dilemmas that come up with this proposition.

For starters they’d have to consider who would and wouldn’t receive pay with the possibility of wages being put on the table. Personally I believe it would only be fair if the top earning sports (implying that they can afford to pay their employees/student-athletes) should do so. This would most likely only affect D1 schools. You may be questioning why should they receive any extra money? So to demonstrate just how much time goes into college level athletics here are some numbers: Although the NCAA claims college athletes are just students, the NCAA’s own tournament schedules require college athletes to six whole days of classes for nationally televised games that bring in revenue only for their school. And more often than not, the road to the NCAA men’s basketball championship require student-athletes to be flexible, with the possibility of missing up to an entire quarter of class days during their Spring semester.

It’s expected of them to be role models, and because of this they will often have their freedom of speech taken away on social media. With coaches constantly regulating what they say and do, sometimes even when their sport isn’t in session. As of last year the NCAA currently produces approximately $13 Billion in annual revenue from college sports more than estimate revenues of both the actual NBA and NHL. Much of the huge revenues collected from college athletics do not go directly back into the classroom. Instead, a monumental share of college sports’ revenues stay “in the hands of a select few administrators, athletic directors, and coaches.”(As the NCAA puts it) Even then, coaches also get paid rather handsomely: The average salary for a NCAA Division I men’s basketball coach also exceeded $1 Million.

It’s truly unfair that they receive no extra compensation for their time especially when there are many colleges that utilize their athletes as core marketers for people to attend their university. If it wasn’t for athletics, think about how much more money Gonzaga University, or Boise would be wasting on name recognition for their schools. With this in mind, DI football and men’s basketball players don’t merely play sports for the fun of it. Rather, they are central to a university’s marketing team, as well as a large source of income with the athletics they put on display. by Charles Taylor

 

Kyler Murray: Football or Baseball

Kyler Murray is the quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners football team and played outfield for the baseball team. He became a Heisman trophy winner for the Sooners. Now, he is being recruited by both the NFL and the MLB. He signed a contract with the Oakland Athletics for almost five million dollars, however the NFL is also calling his name. Kyler plays a key position for his team and many team are willing to pay a lot for a difference maker on their team. His former teammate Baker Mayfield is currently signed with the Browns on a thirty-two million dollar guaranteed contract. Even if Kyler is an average quarterback he will earn two to seven times more money than if he became an All-Star outfielder in the MLB. There are currently five MLB outfielders who made over $125,000,000, while there are five quarterbacks in the NFL who have made over $200,000,000. If money is an influence on his choice it would be in favor of football.

         He has not decided which he is going to do, but would prefer to play both. Physically and mentally that is impossible. Kyler Murray should go play in the NFL first because the years that someone can play in the NFL is much more limited than MLB. The NFL average career length of a quarterback is 3.3 years in the NFL. Contrary to this the average MLB career is 5.3 years. A good example of this are Hall of Fame players like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders had outstanding football careers and then still went on and played in the MLB. These are also just statistics of the average. If he is good enough, he can be in the NFL and MLB longer. In the 2019 draft, he is projected to be a first round pick and that should result in more money, so that is another advantage of him choosing football over baseball. Another contrary argument will say what if he gets injured in football. I believe that if he gets hurt in football he should be able to leave his contract and have a full recovery to go on to play in the MLB. Although the Athletics are allowing him to finish his college football career. Under NCAA rules he is not allowed to play baseball, but he can play football. I also believe he had much more success this year playing football than baseball.

        If he goes into the MLB and can not prove himself, the chances of him coming back to football in the NFL are slim. In the end, continuing his career with the Athletics is a safer route with less reward. He would receive less money and not be able to go back to the NFL. If he went with the NFL it would have a higher risk with a higher reward. He would increase the chance of injury, but would receive a lot more money than he would ever make in the MLB. If his NFL career does not work out he would be go back to the MLB. In the end he should just do what he enjoys most. by George Assalley

 

 

The Eight-Team College Football Playoff

Imagine a college football playoff with the best eight teams in the nation instead of a questionable four. In the next few years the NCAA will make the obvious decision to switch to an eight team playoff. As a huge college football fan, and I am sure I am speaking for millions of other fans, we want an eight team playoff.

College football analysts and the ranking teams always say they want the best four teams to be in the playoffs, but does that really ever happen? Alabama is the outright best team this 2018 season. The Georgia Bulldogs, after their incredible performance in the SEC championship taking the Alabama Crimson Tide to the last seconds of the game, showed they can more than compete with Alabama, but beat them. Tua Tagovailoa had only thrown four passes in the fourth quarter leading to the game and never completed a full game because they had always blown their opponents out. Does that not make the Bulldogs, if not the second best, but a top four team in the NCAA?

The University of Central Florida Knights has finished with a perfect 12-0 season for the second year in a row. On top of a bowl game win over Auburn last year in the Peach Bowl. Even though they are not in a power five conference they have proved their legitimacy two years in a row. Have they not proved themselves to be in the playoffs? Every team has the goal to win the national championship, and going undefeated through a tough twelve game schedule you would think you would at least get a shot at the title. Even though they are not in a power five conference they are still competing against college athletes.

On the other hand, every power five conference winner should make the college football playoffs. They are called power five because they are the hardest, toughest conferences in all of college football. The winner of each of the conferences should be rewarded greatly.

I understand that college athletes are still kids and that their season is long, and tiring, but the kids want this! I would be shocked if you could find a college football athlete who would not want to compete for the title because they had to play an extra game because there are eight instead of four teams in the playoffs. Not only do the fans want this, but many of these players want this too. They want to prove they are the obvious outright champions by beating any national champion contender.

Like I said, every power five conference winner should have a shot at the title and so should the next best three teams. The format would be a seeded bracket where the one and eight seed play, the two and seven seed play, the three and six seed play, and the four and five seed play and would snake down as any other seeded bracket does.

The seeds would be determined through success throughout the season, strength of schedule, margin of victory, etc. just how the FPI rankings work today. There would be five locked in teams, which are the winners of each power five conference. The next three would be the other three best teams in college football, power five or not. For example, if done this year, the five locked in teams would be Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Washington because they have won their conferences in the power five. The next three best teams would be Notre Dame because of their undefeated season and wins over many ranked teams, Georgia because of their impressive record and year in the SEC, and their unbelievable performance against Alabama, and finally, University of Central Florida because of their perfect, unblemished record.

These are the outright most deserving teams in the NCAA and how bad would any fan love to see a rematch of Alabama versus Georgia? Or a matchup between University of Central Florida and Alabama because UCF have been begging to play them for two years? Or a Heisman finalist in Dwayne Haskins, who had an incredible year, battle with the other best quarterbacks and powerhouse programs?

The eight-team college football playoff is very near. As a fan, I could not think of a scenario where I would not be glued to the television watching this. As a fan and a fanatic, I would do anything to make this happen. Imagine this eight-team college football playoff. by George Forsee

 

Expanding the College Football Playoff

The college football playoff issue has been a big controversy over what are the best four teams to compete for the national championship. The teams that made the playoff this season are Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma. The first three were pretty much a lock in because they are all undefeated and play hard schedules. The reason for expanding the playoff is so there would be no controversy over who is selected to compete for the national championship.

Last season, University of Central Florida(UCF) went undefeated and beat Auburn, who was the only team to defeat Alabama last season. Many people think UCF should’ve been in the playoff, but they were not selected because of their schedule and weaker conference. This season, UCF is undefeated again and Ranked 8 for the playoff rankings. Only the top four teams make it. The controversy is should the college football playoff be expanded to have less controversy over who makes the top group of teams to compete for the championship. There is no downside to adding more teams to the playoff. I believe a 8 team playoff would work, allowing more opportunity for upsets and more games for the fans and teams to enjoy.

Since UCF is ranked eighth, they would make this playoff, and nobody would complain about their ranking. This season, Georgia was the only team to compete with number one ranked Alabama. Many people thought they should have made the playoff, but they ended up as the fifth ranked team. If a team loses in the playoff, they can break off into other bowls and play another team that lost in the playoff. Beyond that, making the playoff bigger than it is now forces a fundamental choice: Make players play more games or shorten the regular season. Given how important the regular season is in a sport where most teams have no real shot at a national championship, it’s hard to see a lot of momentum behind a shorter year than twelve games. The season could always just last longer, but if it goes any later than midway through January, it gets awfully close to the National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February. The season starts Labor Day weekend, and moving it up to accommodate a longer postseason would mean having Week 1 games before most students are even on campus.

Players may not want to play more than twelve or thirteen games in a season. More games allows for the college playoff board to make a more accurate decisions on who would make the playoff because teams have been tested more. We can easily fit another round into the playoff because following the conference championships played on December 1st, the teams do not play again until December 29th. The committee could easily decide to fit an extra game in the middle of December and still play the semifinal and championship games.

There are many benefits to making the playoff larger. Less controversy over who makes the playoff and more opportunity for upsets would result in people following the games closer. Expanding the list of eligible playoff teams could create extra drama, but would emphasize the importance of the conference championship games. by Martin Duffy