No Contest: Pros vs. College Joes

By Ransom Cozzillio
March 9, 2011

College sports are inferior to professional sports. I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep pretending anymore. And while I can hear the angry mob forming already, this fact cannot be escaped.

Make no mistake, this is not merely a statement of personal preference. For numerous reasons it’s now obvious that both as an entertainment and as a representation of sport in general, the NCAA can claim no more than second best.

What do I mean by “best?” Well in the case of sports we must be looking for the product that represents the epitome of whatever game is being played. Not only that, but it must include the best example of why a sport is entertaining to fans (sports are entertainment after all).

This, of course, refers only to the game being played not the impromptu and unrelated packaging. For example, the number of people a team has jammed into a crowded gymnasium, while loud and exciting, has nothing to do with the nature of the game being played.

I’m sure, for example, we could fill a middle school gym or stadium to the brim with loud parents, and it wouldn’t make the game any more watchable.

For the sake of this argument I’ll keep my examples to basketball as it is the sports I know and love best (I would do injustice to the sport and to my point by pretending to know the ins and outs of NCAA baseball for example).

Talent, the first, and most glaring discrepancy. The pros have it, the colleges don’t. Sure there are plenty of talented college players and some of them will even go on to become professional athletes (good or bad).

The best at their craft, Drew Brees, Superbowl winner, of the New Orleans Saints and Cam Newton, top ranked college player from Auburn. --MCT

The key word there was some. Most will not, most aren’t good enough to hit the next level. Keep in mind, even the worst players in the pros were once among the elite at college. They usually were the best player on their college team. The fact that some such players barely hang on at the next level is a testament to just how talented the big leagues are.

For anyone questioning whether better talents necessarily leads to a better game, let me ask this: when you turn on a game, what exactly are you watching?

The answer is teams. Teams are made up of players. So, on some level, watching a sport means you are watching the players. In such a situation, I’ll certainly take the game with the better players.

The talent level leads to another problem, the lower the talent (and experience) the more mistakes you see and the sloppier the game.

Let’s face it, no one watching basketball wants to see air-balls, missed free throws and players dribbling off their own feet. No one would jump to call those things entertaining. But, unfortunately, that’s what you often get in college, or at least, more so than you get with the professionals.

College players, with their lesser experience, lower average talent at the sport and rule-restricted practice times can hardly be expect to perform like the those that play for a living.

Anecdotally, just the other day I was watching a battle of two highly ranked NCAA basketball teams. In a span of roughly five minutes, I counted: two air-balled shots, three completely unforced turnovers and six missed free throws (and to be honest, some of those freebies weren’t even close).

Those were some of the best teams in all of college and that wasn’t the only poor stretch I saw. No one can honestly call something like that good basketball or good entertainment.

Not only is a mistake-ridden game not as entertaining, it does a certain amount of disservice to the game itself. If each game being played is supposed to be a representation of its sport, what’s the better representative? The professional level product or the amateur level product?

That’s really what this boils down to: professionals versus amateurs. While I have nothing against college sports in general, and I respect the athletes skilled enough to play them, they are unpaid, experience limited amateurs all hoping they can make it to the next level.

Ultimately, if you need a doctor, who do you go to? A professional. If you want to see a good movie, you go to the theaters, not your buddy’s editing studio down the hall. So when it comes to sports, please, leave it to the pros.







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Ransom Cozzillio

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