The NCAA has been one of the worst governing bodies in the sports world for some time now. Even though that is my opinion, it is difficult to fully condemn then when they do a lot of good as well. I like to think they try their hardest to make sure that these college athletes don’t have to lean on their skills alone in life.
Instead, the NCAA tries to find the proper balance between student and athlete in order to allow these players to have a life after sports. While that is great and everything, a lot of people have a problem with the way they go about doing things, including myself, especially since they rarely dish out equal punishment for the same violation.
In the last year or so, basically everyone who enjoys sports has debated about whether or not the NCAA should pay players, specifically in football. The newest topic of debate has come from the college basketball world. During their basketball games, Monmouth University likes to have a little fun with their bench. Anytime one of their fellow teammates makes a good play, whether it is by way of a dunk, tough shot or a general basketball play, the Monmouth bench celebrates.
But this isn’t just any celebration because the bench plans out mini ‘skits’ where they do something funny and it usually involves more than a couple people (on the bench). Now, at first glance, these celebrations seem harmless, especially since they aren’t taunting or deliberately targeting a specific player, but there are some who think the celebrations are just a little overboard.
Take a look at some of the Monmouth Celebrations.
After the NCAA had received some complaints over the animated and planned celebrations, they decided to look into the rulebook to find out if the Monmouth bench was violating any rules. While they were looking into it all, a few prominent media members thought that they were going to try to rewrite the rules so that these players couldn’t do their normal, but elaborate celebrations. Spearheading the effort to allow the celebrations to continue was Jay Bilas, a popular basketball analyst who took to Twitter to show his disappointment in the NCAA.
Source: NCAA currently discussing rewriting bench decorum rules to curtail celebrations of Monmouth bench. Remember, it's about the kids!
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 7, 2015
Let me say that I completely understand why the NCAA took this seriously and wanted to look into the situation. Sometimes athletes can get a little overboard and tip toe the fine line between celebrating and taunting. While I fully believe that athletes should be able to celebrate any way they please, they also need to do it without hurting or interfering with anyone playing the game or in the arena for that matter. So, in my eyes, the NCAA was doing their due diligence by looking into the bench celebrations (as much as I hate to pat the NCAA on the back).
The real story here is what the NCAA decided on the matter. David Worlock, NCAA spokesman, took to Twitter on Monday after the rules secretary and national coordinator of officiating decided that the Monmouth players were well within their rights to celebrate from the bench. Worlock tweeted that the celebrations were not interfering with the game and can continue as they have been.
Pt1 With regards to @JayBilas tweet we are NOT rewriting bench decorum rules. We received request for a rules interpretation & determined…
— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) December 7, 2015
Pt2 Monmouth players aren't interfering w/game. Just having fun, not harming anyone. Spontaneous reactions, not coming on court so all is OK
— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) December 7, 2015
In my opinion, this is one of the best decisions the NCAA has ever made and probably ever will. Finally they chose to let players have a little fun in the midst of a game that has been tainted with massive TV contracts and corporate money. For a while, it looked like the NCAA was out to get everyone, especially those who enjoyed the game. But now that they have been able to evaluate a situation without bias, they have come to the correct conclusion. The Monmouth basketball team is allowed to celebrate as they have been, as long as they continue to keep it contained to their own bench and don’t infringe upon anyone else’s right to enjoy the game.
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am that they NCAA came to this decision. I thought for sure that they would end up re-writing the rules, which would be one more way the NCAA has taken the fun out of sports. Sports are supposed to be emotional and most importantly, they are meant to be fun for all.
Maybe the NCAA is beginning to understand that the more rights they take away from college athletes, the more boring the games become and the less people want to watch. While they still have a long way to go before they actually become a positive influence to college athletes, this is a step in the right direction.