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Some good, some bad in recent changes in sports

There have been some changes in sports the past couple of weeks. Things are being done differently than they once were. With every change comes instant analysis. How does it affect us? Do we love it or hate it? Bottom line: Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Today, we take a look at some of the changes in the sports world and offer up our Two Cents on whether it's a good thing or a bad thing.

NCAA bans eye-black messages

This is the rule put in place, in part, because of Tim Tebow, who put Bible verses on his eye-black patches. But it's not the Bible verses that are the problem. Promoting a message of faith or an upstanding charity or cause or paying respects to a friend or family member who died should not cause anyone concern. But what else could be put on the eye blacks? If you allow Tebow to put a message for something he believes in, then what about the player who wants to put a message on his eye black about a gang? If a kid worshipped the devil, shouldn't he have the same right to promote as Tebow did? The NCAA wisely saw where this was headed and banned all messages.

. Verdict: Good thing

NCAA basketball tournament expands to 68 teams

The good news is the tournament didn't expand to 96 teams. But adding three more teams means adding three more "play-in" games, and does anyone watch those "play-in" games? Quick, who played in the "play-in" game just last month? It essentially means there are now eight teams playing for a No. 16 seed and the right to get dismantled by Kansas or Duke. It also means three bubble teams — like a team that goes .500 in the Big East or ACC — will now get into the tournament. But was the NCAA Tournament really flawed last season because a 19-14 Illinois or a 22-10 Arizona State didn't get into the Big Dance? More teams means the product is watered down even more.

. Verdict: Bad thing

NCAA basketball tournament signs TV deal with CBS/Turner

A very good thing because, finally, every game of the NCAA Tournament will be on television, meaning we won't have to wait for those ill-timed cut-ins to see the fantastic finishes. Now the viewer can choose which game or games to watch as opposed to having the network and local affiliate dictate what we watch. Instead of watching Kentucky open up a 25-point lead and screaming at the TV to switch to a two-point game in another region, we can now do the switching ourselves. And, the Kentucky fans can sit back and continue to enjoy their team stretching the lead to 30. The tournament has become a buffet, and you can choose what to put on your plate.

. Verdict: Good thing

Three-day NFL draft

This is so brilliant you have to wonder why the NFL didn't do this years ago. Teams love it because it gives them a couple of breaks to catch their breath, evaluate and re-evaluate what they are doing. Fans love it because the first round stands alone and in prime time, and they can savor the all-important first-round picks. Rounds 2 and 3, which also include high-profile players and interesting selections, are in prime time. The football junkies can then enjoy the final rounds on the weekend. The draft is one of the NFL's best attractions, and it always seemed strange to hold it smack dab in the middle of weekend afternoons.

. Verdict: Good thing

NCAA adds taunting rule in football

Starting in 2011, if a player is caught taunting during a play, the penalty will be enforced starting from the point of the taunting. In other words, if a player taunts the opponent as he is running in for a score, the touchdown will not count — points will be taken off the board. The problem is, taunting is subjective. It's not like holding or clipping. It's up to the individual official to try to discern the difference between taunting and spontaneous genuine celebration. "It leaves too much subjectivity to each official to make that call. And I don't think it'll be called the same way, universally, in leagues across the country," Baylor coach Art Briles told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It's one thing for an official to blow a call and cost a team 15 yards on a kickoff. It's another to potentially affect the outcome of a game by taking points off the board. And, really, is a guy striking a Heisman pose or high-kneeing it into the end zone that much of an issue? So what? This is going to cost a team a chance to go to a bowl game or, maybe, even play for the national championship.

. Verdict: Bad thing

NFL schedules game on potential World Series day

There's a decent chance that a World Series game will be played on Oct. 31. If there is, the World Series will go up against a nationally televised Sunday Night Football game between the defending champion Saints and the high-profile Steelers. In years past, the NFL has not scheduled games against the World Series. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thinks Sunday Night Football is such a staple now that fans don't want to miss it and that the viewers can decide which game to watch. True, the consumer can decide, but this is still a lousy thing for the NFL to do. Just because it can be a bully doesn't mean it has to be a bully. While the NFL proves it is mightier than the World Series and that football has definitely replaced baseball as the nation's favorite sport, the American sports fan is the one hurt because he has to chose which game to watch in full.

. Verdict: Bad thing

Some good, some bad in recent changes in sports 04/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:55pm]

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