Monday, December 8, 2008

Boise Bound

A funny thing happens this time of year in college football, and I'm not talking about the final regular season rankings after the dust settles from a weekend of conference championships.

Schools love to pretend there's meaning behind the term "student-athlete."

Now, I get that there are tens of thousands of actual student-athletes. You'll find them on the soccer or lacrosse fields, or in a pool somewhere. Whether they're on scholarship or not, they're really not bringing in money to their college or university.

And then there's the University of Maryland.

They turned down a chance to stay at home (essentially) and play Navy in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C., instead opting to spend the money to travel to Boise, Idaho for the Humanitarian Bowl. Were they scared of the Midshipmen? Didn't want to be in the bowl as the official ninth selection from the ACC (the tie-in)? Hard to say, and I doubt that info will ever be released from the school.

The school said they couldn't take on Navy because of scheduling conflicts with the final exam dates, which is a complete joke for two reasons:

1) I doubt many of these guys take their classes seriously anyway. I shared a good number of classes with athletes when I was a student at Virginia Tech, and by shared I mean that they attended class for the first few minutes before skipping out. UM says 25 players would've been affected; no chance all 25 of them were aware of the final in question.

2) It's simple to rearrange the finals if those 25 guys really wanted to take them. I did it all the time at VaTech, usually to try to get out of town for vacation a few days earlier than everyone else. I can't ever remember a professor objecting to it, because if all the students left town early, they'd be able to too! And for most classes I didn't have to ask; alternative times were offered to get around staying extra late into the year for just one test. But asking to reschedule a final involved actually going to the class and speaking with the professor, which might be a bit much to ask of a starting receiver or tailback.

So enjoy the flight, Terps! I hear Boise is lovely this time of year. And the thousands of fans who were perfectly willing to shell out some cash to see their team play one more time in 2008? I doubt there'll be any in Idaho.

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