Last week, the NCAA shot down a proposed charity basketball game between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina.
The game would have been played at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the funds would have benefitted the Hurricane Florence relief effort, but collegiate athletics’ governing body said “No.”
The NCAA allows teams to play two exhibition games per season. Understandably, neither school wanted to cancel its other games, so they asked the NCAA for a waiver to allow for a third game.
Waivers for third games were denied to everyone, not just UNC and South Carolina.
I am disgusted.
Not allowing charity games? Really, NCAA?
I really want to be surprised college athletics’ governing body would shoot down a charity basketball game.
And I really want to be surprised that the NCAA is cool with profiting billions of dollars off unpaid student-athletes, but they are not OK with said student-athletes from the affected area playing for charity. But, I’m not.
It is perfectly clear that the NCAA values its insane rules much more than the principle of helping others in a time of crisis.
I understand rules are rules. And, yes, these rules were presumably made with honest intentions.
However, rules pertaining to how many exhibition games college basketball teams can play in a season are likely not the most crucial and imperative to the long-term welfare and integrity of college athletics.
I see these types of rules as some that could be temporarily broken, with minimal negative reactions.
The spirit of the rule is far less important than the huge monetary benefits and moral boost that would follow an extra exhibition game.
This game would have meant so much to both of the Carolinas. Hurricane Florence tore through these states.
The universities of North and South Carolina are the flagship universities of their respective states with massive athletic departments that are symbols of their states.
I imagine the coaches and possibly the athletic directors or players would have moving and motivating words for those effected by Hurricane Florence.
A game like this would have not only served as an opportunity to raise money, but to unite Carolinians.
Sports have an unbelievably emotional way of bringing people together. Following a tragedy, sports can restore hope and pride in an area.
Go look at the crowd shots of former President Bush throwing out a first pitch in the World Series at Yankee Stadium after 9/11, or the Saints first game back at the Superdome the year after Hurricane Katrina or David Ortiz’s rousing speech at Fenway Park following the Boston Marathon Bombing.
Look at everyone’s faces — there are indescribable emotions etched onto their faces. It means so much more than the sports.
It is clear that the NCAA loves control and saying “no” more than it does doing the right thing.
Let them play.
Anderley Penwell is a contributor.