Most of my faithful readers are not college sports fans. Therefore, you are probably not aware that the men’s basketball national championship in two days will be between Ohio State and Florida. These are the same two teams that met in the football championship in January of this year.
As a Cal fan, I’ve learned that the Berkeley football team and men’s basketball team cannot both be competitive at the same time. More likely, neither will be all that successful. When I was in school, the football team was awful. I believe they lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 in a row over two seasons. They also never beat Stanfurd in the ‘Big Game’ while I was an undergraduate. The basketball team was somewhat more capable. While they would usually lose against top opponents, they at least won more games than they lost by a comfortable margin.
Lately, the rule has stayed true. The football team has been excellent for the last few years, while the basketball team has been less than mediocre. All as is it should be in the Cal athletics world.
The best explanation of this phenomenon is that Cal is a legitimate academic powerhouse. Any school that’s worth attending will, and should, stink at high-level popular sports. Sure, Cal is dominant at rugby. The Cal women’s basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament this year, unlike the men. Cal is good at water sports like swimming and crew, too. Actually, Cal is all-around good, as their current third place in the Sears Directors Cup shows. All of that doesn’t matter to me. Let me know when NCAA lacrosse makes it to prime time and I’ll update my rules (a.k.a. chauvinism).
All of this is leading to my main point: Ohio State and Florida graduates should be on high suspicion of their worth for the next few years. They should be looked at with the same eye as Devry or University of Phoenix graduates. It is no secret that athletes are not academic superstars. There’s a reason why these schools have attracted the best performers. If you’re looking to attract the best athletes, you’ve got to show them that they can keep their grade point average high enough for NCAA eligibility. Bluntly, they ain’t gonna get it done at a place like Cal.
Perhaps, someday in the future, Cal will be proficient at both men’s basketball and football at the same time. And I will be forced to eat my words. If you are a true blue like me, you’re not too worried about this.