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Cleveland: Sports Commissioner

RickClevelandFor one day — and one day only — I am the Commissioner of Sports. All sports. Things are going to change around here.

First off, we’re going to quit discriminating against college baseball players. They have mamas and daddies, too. No more splitting of 11.7 scholarships among 27 players. Come on. Eleven-point-seven? Who came up with that? The limit has never made sense and makes a lot less now that games are televised and attended by thousands. Why should a star shortstop have to pay half or more of his tuition, while the third team cornerback gets a full ride? Fair’s fair. That’s not. From now on, the limit on college baseball scholarships per team is an even 25. If it makes the NCAA happy, make it 25.3. The Commissioner will not quibble.

Now then…

Oh, and about those bats. We’re going to make them wooden, the way the great Umpire in the Sky meant them to be. No such thing as a DH either. My apologies to all the slow guys who can’t catch or throw. You’ll love slowpitch softball.

Hoops? Basketball teams, at all levels, are hereby limited to two timeouts a half, just one in the last two minutes of a game. When does two minutes become one hour? The last two minutes of an NBA or college basketball game, that’s when. Enough is enough and two timeouts a half is plenty, especially when timeouts last forever so the networks can sell beer, male potency pills, cars and stuff.

College football? No kickoffs before noon. No kickoffs after 7. No games until September. We play on Saturdays. No going to bowls unless you have a winning record. No TV timeouts. That’s a good start.

For some time now, the Commissioner has been trying to discern exactly what constitutes holding at every level of football. Players hold on EVERY play. Nineteen times out of 20, they get away with it, much to the dismay of defensive coordinators across these United States. Something has to be done, and since we can’t cut off all the hands of all the offensive linemen, we’re going to make them wear special gloves that keep their fists balled to where they cannot possibly hold. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. Umpires, your job just got a lot easier.

The Commissioner has long stayed out of the fashion business when it comes to sports, but somebody has to protect these college football teams from embarrassing themselves. Uniforms are hearby restricted to school colors. No mixing stripes with checks. If a sports writer with 20-20 vision and binoculars cannot read your number, then adjustments must be made. Players wear numbers for a reason. While on jersey numbers, only one player on a team can wear a certain number. Football is confusing enough.

I have saved the worst for last. What to do about the USGA? We’ll start with this. Any rules decision that may affect the outcome of the tournament has to be made immediately (or at least in the first three  hours after the need for a ruling occurred.) Common sense should apply.

As for the issue of putters, we are outlawing the silly looking long ones. From now on, no putters that come up above your waist. Better yet, no putters that come above your crotch. Try to anchor it now.

Oh yeah, 63-year-old sports writers get two mulligans and a throw a side. And winter rules apply. Always.


Rick Cleveland is a syndicated columnist and historian at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. His email address is rcleveland@msfame.com.

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Adam Brown
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