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HATE WEEK 2014: Temporarily Diverting The Hate Train

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Let's get one thing straight: I hate Florida. It's not just a simple dislike, a harmonious discord, or even a deep, latent enmity. I hate Florida with the fire of a thousand suns being fueled by the fire of an additional thousand suns. In a world where my choices were to cheer for Florida or go blind, I'd start learning Braille. Most of the time, however, I am (relatively) civil while expressing this intense Gator hatred. For one week a year, though, I allow my hate to come out of the closet and be displayed in its raw, unfiltered form. This is that week. Unfortunately, the NCAA won't even let me have this one dang week to hate someone other than them.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: There is semi-strong language in this article.  It is definitely rated PG-13, perhaps borderline rated R.

UPDATE: This article was slightly out of date almost as soon as it was posted.  I stand behind every word, however.

Dawg fans, it's Wednesday.   Wednesday of HATE WEEK.  Normally, on this day, which comes only once a year (for me, at least), I would be reloading my hate-cannons, re-aiming them directly to the south, and once again firing away with reckless abandon.

Unfortunately, the damn NCAA can't even let me have one week where I ignore their horrible, arbitrary incompetence and focus solely on the Sunshine State Saurians with all my might. As all of you are probably aware, today will mark exactly one week since the University of Georgia Athletic Department filed a petition with the NCAA to have Todd Gurley immediately reinstated. If you click the link in the previous sentence and read the comments there, you'll see quite a bit of exuberant celebration, ostensibly in anticipation of our #1 running back returning to the field in time to meet the Gators in Jacksonville.

At this point, however, we have to face an unfortunate fact: those celebrations may have been premature.  If we give them the benefit of the doubt (which I'm not inclined to do) and assume they received the package from UGA late on Wednesday, the NCAA has now taken at least 4 full business days to process that request. That's far more than is necessary for a simple "rubber stamp," which we all thought was the next step since both UGA and the NCAA stated publicly that they had been working together on this investigation.  No, we have to assume that something one of the following things has happened:

  • Something was awry or incomplete in the package that UGA sent to the NCAA, and they are waiting on additional information from the University to make an eligibility decision on Todd Gurley.  Since every message out of the athletic department indicates they are still waiting on the NCAA, I would tend to discount this scenario.
  • After reviewing the package that UGA delivered, the NCAA thought it needed to do its own additional investigation independently of the University for some reason.  If this is the case, it is a very ominous sign, since we know how glacially slow the NCAA moves on these things.

In either case, however, it looks like a very real possibility that if we don't hear something today from our spiteful tyrannical overlords in Indianapolis, we might end up not having Todd Gurley back for the Florida game, after all.  Just contemplating that possibility makes me seethe with rage.

What's that?  The second stage of Kübler-Ross, you say? Well, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross herself said that the emotional stages could come in any order, and right now, I'm definitely experiencing anger first.  No, anger is too kind a word for the emotions I'm currently processing. What I'm currently experiencing is mind-numbing, teeth-chattering, body-shaking rage.

Yesterday, Mark Emmert (President of the NCAA) said the next calendar year is a "good time to have a discussion" about the current rules pertaining to athletes selling their autographs. During this bit of egocentric preening for the cameras in a transparently piss-poor attempt to save face, Emmert used the analogy of speeding in a car to point out that he, essentially, has no choice in the matter as to what punishments to hand down.  You'll forgive me if I draw parallels to the as-yet-unresolved Todd Gurley situation, since any reasonable person would conclude that this matter, which is currently outstanding and is sidelining the man who was previously the Heisman Trophy favorite, was weighing significantly on Mark Emmert's mind as he made these comments. Here are a couple of direct quotes from his remarks:

There shouldn't be any doubt in the minds of student-athletes that under the current rules the membership has in place, you can't sign autographs for pay...

Whether or not that's a rule you like is a different story. Here in Indianapolis, the beltway speed limit is 55 and as Mark Emmert, I think that's too low. But if I'm driving 65 and get pulled over, I can't say I don't like the rule. So we need to deal with the second question and is it time to re-look at this rule?

So, to paraphrase (and read between the lines somewhat), you're saying that you are required to enforce the rules as they are written today, regardless of whether you agree with them or not?  No, Mr. Emmert, that's not true.  In fact, that's a completely bullshit, craven lie by a small man who doesn't have the cojones to stand up to a rule that he knows is unfair, unjust, and exploitative (at best) towards the student-athletes for whom he claims to stand up and protect.

And while we're on the topic of law, Mr. Emmert, let me remind you that you are not the head of a law enforcement agency, nor are your rules immediately subject to any law enforcement agency. Your organization only exists to regulate sport at the collegiate level.  The rules you establish are not bound by any law, and there is no consequence for choosing to take a principled stand against enforcing one of them based on grounds that are both ethically and morally correct.

No, you are the tyrant here, Mark Emmert. Regardless of the proletariat façade you put up to justify the arbitrarily archaic rules and actions taken by your organization, you are the judge, jury, and executioner in this situation... and you are commending the University of Georgia athletic department for allowing you to do it with impunity. In fact, your "traffic stop" scenario is the perfect example of the autocratic ruthlessness with which you wield your blunt instrument.

In the real world, if you're traveling 65 MPH on a highway where the speed limit is 55 MPH (which was the example Emmert used), you will virtually never get pulled over by a police officer solely for speeding.  If you're weaving, driving dangerously, have a broken tail light, or otherwise exhibit additional factors that pose a risk to other drivers on the road, you might also be cited for going 10 MPH over the speed limit... but it will virtually never be the sole reason you are pulled over.  Why?  Because cops have a lot more horrible things to deal with than the fact that you're speeding a little bit in an effort to get somewhere a little faster.  If you're not overtly a danger to yourself or others, they almost always just let it go.

But no... not in the NCAA's world.  In the world of the NCAA, even the smallest infraction must be punished to the fullest possible letter of the law... sometimes. If you go 65 MPH in a 55 zone... well, you probably will get no punishment at all. That is, unless someone happened to take a video of you, who have never sped in your life, going 65 MPH one time, then independently reported you to the "NCAA Police."  Then, based on that evidence, you would get your driver's license suspended (possibly permanently), your car would be impounded, and you would get suspended without pay from your job. All for going 10 MPH over the speed limit one time, while both of your next-door neighbors regularly go 75+ on their daily commutes to work, but are smart enough to make sure nobody ever records them doing it.

Yeah, you tell me how that analogy works for you, Mr. Emmert.  Sounds a little uncomfortably close to the mark for me.

If you decide to disregard whatever additional allegations are probably being raised (behind closed doors, mind you) regarding the Todd Gurley situation, there will be exactly zero legal or professional ramifications for you. There are no police who will arrest you at your door tomorrow if you let Todd Gurley go free for whatever additional information you think you might have found against him. There are no lynch mobs who will seek you out and camp at your house waiting for you to come out if you declare that Todd Gurley is eligible to play today.  There is exactly zero threat, even, of you being dismissed for professional or ethical malfeasance by the collective members of the NCAA if you were to personally stand up to a rule that you yourself should know is immoral and unethical in today's world.

And even if there were a threat of you losing your job for taking a principled position, your actions have already shown that you're too much of a coward to stand up for what you know is right. It's too easy to hide behind your cadre of bureaucrats and lawyers, who collectively seclude themselves in their marble-inlaid, double-barrel-vaulted palaces and spew mountains of mindless double-talk out of their mouths as though they were the fountains at the Bellagio gone berserk.

But this is all hogwash horseshit anyway, Mr. Emmert.  Todd Gurley has already served the standard suspension for the NCAA rules we (apparently) have proof that he violated.  Just tell us... has someone else come forward with an allegation that he was paid more than has been admitted?  Has some different allegation been made against Todd Gurley?  If so, why haven't you or UGA released this information, or even hinted at it in any way? Do you have proof of any of these additional allegations or suspicions?  Then release it to the public, and let us know why you're sitting on this reinstatement request like a buzzard on a deer carcass by the side of the road.

Or, better yet, take a stand on a principle that you know is correct.  Make a statement to the effect that Todd Gurley has served his suspension, and you don't like the reason that he had to serve it, but it's done now, and you will be working to see to it that athletes won't be exploited like this in the future.

But we all know you won't do that.  Deceitful, pusillanimous, morally-ambiguous wretches like yourself don't ever stick their risk-adjusted necks out for anything.  Go ahead and sit on that mountain of skulls in a castle of pain on a throne of blood for a little while longer. Just be prepared to reap the "rewards" that come with being on the wrong side of history when your tyrannical seat is overthrown and the extent of your true timorousness is revealed.

(pregnant pause)

(awkward silence)

Of course, if the NCAA announces later this morning that Gurley is eligible immediately... well, I take most of it back. You my boy, Marky Mark.

Either way, though, it seems that we as Georgia fans are just going to have to deal with the ongoing drama, so let's get the bile out of our systems today.  Tomorrow, I turn my attention back to our reptilian rivals to the south.  Until then...

Go Dawgs!  Beat Florida the NCAA!