Change We Can Root For

Former University of Washington prez Mark Emmert takes over the NCAA’s top job in October. We humbly present five ways he can improve collegiate sports and help out UW in the process.

By Matthew Halverson September 14, 2010 Published in the October 2010 issue of Seattle Met

BRING BACK THE MADNESS This one is purely selfish. Six years have passed since the men’s NCAA basketball tourney last swung through town, and it isn’t scheduled to come back until at least 2014. Yet Portland and Spokane—Spokane!—will each host it twice in that time. At this rate, March Madness will make it to Pullman before it returns to Seattle, and no self-respecting Husky should allow that to happen.

BAN COACH TWEETS Twitterfied access to the mind of a sideline tactician could produce informational nuggets of gridiron gold, but UW football coach Steve Sarkisian’s vanilla missives (“Picture Day at Husky Stadium, the players are lookin sweet in their uni’s!”) make an ironclad argument for a less-is-more game plan. Spare us the barrage of banality.

KEEP CAMERAS OUT OF HIGH SCHOOLS What’s worse than losing a hot hoops recruit to a rival school? Having the whole country witness your heartbreak. Portland prep baller Terrence Jones verbally committed to UW in a nationally covered press conference in April before reneging and defecting to University of Kentucky three weeks later. We can’t bear more public humiliation.

GIVE ’EM ONE MORE YEAR Male athletes all want to leave school early because they can jump to the pros. But softball players? Their postcollegiate career options are limited. So let’s give them an optional fifth year of eligibility. What’s that? You think this is just a sneaky way to keep Husky hurler and two-time NCAA player of the year Danielle Lawrie around a little longer?

ENTER THE OCTAGON Problem: UW needs cash for the Husky Stadium rebuild. Solution: Take a page out of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s blood-soaked playbook by making mixed martial arts a collegiate sport. Athletic departments already turn a tidy profit on the backs of concussed football players, so what’s the harm in adding a few dozen broken noses and arms?

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