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B1G Ten Ballin': The Gridiron Squad

WNUR’s Greg Mroz is back with his weekly column, B1G Ten Ballin’. This week Greg discusses the role of media in college athletics.

B1G Ten Ballin: The Gridiron Squad

Volume 13: Criticizing The Criticizers

This is a column that has been in the works for a while, so let me start off by saying that this is less of an analysis piece and more of a rant. Yes, a rant, and a well deserved one too. The Big Ten is having a down year, I know. The Big Ten is allotted spots in 8 different bowl games, but as of today, only 5 teams are eligible to play in a bowl game. With wins, two more can gain eligibility next week. Two teams that would normally be bowl eligible are not eligible because of NCAA imposed sanctions. One of those teams has a chance to go undefeated. And yet, there are critics all over the place, its ridiculous.

Take Northwestern for example. The Wildcats have a chance to win nine games for the first time since 2008, and all I hear at press conferences is ignorant student writers (and if you are reading this you know who you are) asking Coach Fitzgerald and the players negative questions. Stop it. Seriously if you think you can go out and do a better job than the players, be my guest. I can guarantee you if you were at quarterback you would have your brains knocked out of you. I am very happy to be part of a media outlet that accentuates the positive, but my point is this. You are not them, so you have no right to criticize what you yourself cannot come anywhere near accomplishing. The next time I hear a writer from a Northwestern student media outlet ask a demeaning question I might wack them on the head with a sledgehammer.

It goes beyond Northwestern. Illinois and Iowa are having abnormally bad seasons by their standards, and the boo birds are out in full force. Illinois is more than likely going to go 2-10, but Coach Beckman’s squad is giving it their all. Relative to the rest of the conference, Illinois is terrible, but I feel for those kids. Bad seasons happen. Fans feel bad about it, but you know the players feel bad too.

For me, criticism of college athletes is morally unacceptable. They have lives outside of sports, and they also have things to deal with that are more important than sports. For football, the multitude is just accentuated. Its hard for me to understand, but when looking at the Big Ten, don’t be too critical of the teams on the field. No matter what the talent level may be, they are giving 100% for 60 minutes a game. As a fan and a journalist, that’s all I can ask for. So lets treat our Big Ten student athletes with dignity and respect. I’m sure you would expect the same if you were in their shoes.

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