Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol Only To Rich People?

September 9, 2015

An open letter to Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, regarding its new policy of selling alcoholic beverages only to the wealthy elite;

September 8, 2015

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

I was surprised to read in last week’s Columbus Dispatch that alcohol will now be sold in Ohio Stadium. That is, only to rich folks. It was only a few years ago that alcoholic advertising was banned from all NCAA events. I guess the organization decided that, despite multi-billion dollar television contracts, it was no longer making enough money and caved in to the almighty dollar. I was also shocked to learn that alcohol was being sold to patrons in the Schottenstein Center ever since it first opened. Again, being sold only to those fans who pay top dollar for their seats.

I assume the rationale for this decision is the supposition that rich folks are much better behaved, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages. Even if true, you are punishing the masses for the behavior of only a few. I think there is no dispute that the working man and woman are far more zealous fans than their wealthy counterparts. This is why Value City Arena, for most games is a dead arena. Selling seat licenses for prime seats and seating students up in the rafters led to no home court advantage for Coach Matta and his BasketBucks. I will give you credit for moving some students down behind both benches. However, the huge eyesore of a black ribbon behind several rows of students, roping off three or four rows of prime seats is an insult to the great job that Matta has done. The reasoning given for this black ribbon is that fans in those seats might actually have to stand to watch the game.

This new policy does not affect me, as I gave up drinking some thirty-five years ago and I stopped buying alumni football tickets a decade ago not only because of the cost of a ticket but also your asinine policy of not informing alumni what game you are purchasing tickets to. I have far better things to do with $150 than waste it watching the Buckeyes beat up on Podunk U. I find it astonishing that it is much cheaper to go to a professional game than it is to a college game, played supposedly by amateurs.

College sports long ago sold its soul to the devil that Big Money is. Selling alcohol to rich people is just the latest example. The lust of money is leading to the demise of capitalism, and thus America itself. Your policy of selling alcohol only to the wealthy elite reeks of elitism. The Ohio State University should be embarrassed by this act of discrimination.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

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The Final Four

April 5, 2014

I have long thought the NCAA Final Four tournament the best sporting event going. To me, the much over-hyped Super Bowl doesn’t compare to the sixty-four (or is it sixty-eight?) team, single elimination tournament for the national championship in men’s basketball. There is nothing better in sports than a small school, Cinderella storied run, beating the so-called “big boys” along the way, very much like Dayton this year. I do not know if its old age creeping in or Final Four popularity rising to fever pitch, but I do have a long history of liking something less the more popular it becomes. This has been especially true in my musical tastes. Most artists that I think are great, most people never heard. Even the musical genre I love most, the blues, is a dying art form that nobody listens too.

Appealing to the masses, to me just causes anything to lose its edge, whatever “it” may be. The recent ruling that Northwestern athletes are employees of the university will revolutionize collegiate sports. Athletes no longer play for the love of school, but for the want of money. The ironic thing is that these employees/athletes/students will probably pay more in taxes than what they will earn in pay, once their tuition, room and board are counted as earnings on their W-2s. Athletes eat very well, and a lot. It must cost a fortune to feed a football team. Paying taxes on this “income” will become quit expense.

What I also do not understand is why basketball is the only sport in which the players’ uniforms are getting bigger and bigger every year. In every other sport, players wear as little as possible. Even cheerleaders wear as little as possible. For the past twenty years, basketball shorts have more in common with women’s culottes than they do with being “short.” Doesn’t all this extra material hinder both running and jumping? Now, the latest fad is for players’ jerseys to have sleeves. Football players’ jerseys actually look funny because they no longer have sleeves, except for maybe an occasional quarterback.

Another irritating thing I have with both football and basketball uniforms is the recent trend of the so-called throwback and/or specialty uniforms. I find most of these uniforms very hideous looking. Why do teams allow the apparel companies to dictate what they wear? The answer is simple, money. Teams receive millions of dollars from the various apparel companies to wear their uniforms. Replica jersey sales is big business, and these companies realized several years ago that having more than just the traditional home and away jerseys mean that many more they can sell the adoring public.

It’s bad enough that each piece of uniform, sock and sweat band shows its corporate logo front and center, however, I find it both rather ridiculous and irritating the sheer number of NCAA logos everywhere during the Final Four tournament. I wrote NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert last year after watching the first two rounds (or is it three, since the play-in games now count as round one), complaining about the numerous NCAA logos. I made a list while watching one game to back my argument and found the total number most pitiful. The following is the list, and most likely is not all-inclusive:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Three logos on top of each backboard,
Two, sometimes three logos on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board,
Two logos on the bunting along press row behind the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the floor in front of the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on every coach’s suit jacket,
One logo on every referee’s shirt,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
One logo on each team’s shoe scuffing pad,
One logo on every bucket of Gatorade,
One logo on every cup of Gatorade,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when every reply is shown,
And one logo is flash during every commercial break on the television screen as the score of that game is given.

I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different NCAA, network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

As always the case in America, money governs everything in modern society. We are brainwashing our children by the constant bombardment of advertising that affects seeming every aspect of modern life. And sadly, no one cares.

Steven H. Spring

An Open Letter To The National Collegiate Athletic Association

The following is a copy of my letter to The National Collegiate Athletic Association regarding their men’s basketball tournament which got underway this past Tuesday night with four play-in games and started in earnest at noon on Thursday.

Steven H. Spring

March 21, 2013

Dr. Mark Emmert
President & CEO
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana  46206

Dear President Emmert,

As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets underway Thursday and Friday, I hope you or a member of your staff can answer two questions for me.  One, why has your organization decided to make every arena holding a tournament game impossible to tell apart from one another, with the exception of the host city’s name along the end lines of the court and occasionally shown on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board?  Since CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV are advertising that they are showing every game in full this year, one can become mesmerized by watching numerous games on indistinguishable courts, all sporting either your NCAA logo, basketball logo or 75th tournament anniversary logo.  But then again, that’s your goal isn’t it, to have viewers captivated by staring at nearly identical basketball courts, all sporting virtually innumerable matching logos?

I am alarmed by the sheer number of NCAA logos that appear either on the court, courtside or on the television screen.  We are brainwashing our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and your tournament is a perfect example.  As someone who watches many of the old television shows on DVDs, I have noticed that hour-long shows from the late 1950s and early ‘60s were fifty-two minutes long.  Now days, a show of this length is at best only forty-four minutes.  This represents a one hundred percent increase in the number of commercials per hour.  When you consider how the networks now routinely use pop-up ads to advertise up-coming shows and product placements in their shows, we are being inundated with commercials.

After watching several of the second round games on Thursday, I decided to make a list of every NCAA logo I noticed while watching one particular game.  The following is the list, and most likely is not all-inclusive:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Three logos on top of each backboard,
Two, sometimes three logos on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board,
Two logos on the bunting along press row behind the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the floor in front of the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on every coach’s suit jacket,
One logo on every referee’s shirt,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
One logo on each team’s shoe scuffing pad,
One logo on every bucket of Gatorade,
One logo on every cup of Gatorade,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when every reply is shown,
And one logo is flash during every commercial break on the television screen as the score    of that game is given.

I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different NCAA, network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

My second question concerns the four play-in games, now referred to as the first round.  Why are there two sixteen seed games, one thirteen seed game and one eleven seed game?  Why are these four games not all sixteen seed games, with each winner playing the four number one seed teams?  Why are the eleven and thirteen seed teams forced to play one more game than every other team seeded the same as or lower than them in the tournament?  This makes no sense, and lacks fairness.  I hope you can provide an explanation to my questions.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Casinos, Cigars, Cigarettes And Hookers

The following is a copy of my letter to N.C.A.A. president Dr. Mark Emmert concerning that organization’s complete lack of disregard toward its student-athletes well-being in that they see nothing wrong with starting a football or basketball game at 9:30 p.m. on a school night.  Does anyone seriously believe the N.C.A.A. has the best interest of its student-athletes in mind when television clearly dictates everything in big-time collegiate sporting events?

Steven H. Spring

 

November 28, 2012

Dr. Mark Emmert
President & CEO
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana  46206

Dear President Emmert,

After reading the starting time for tonight’s basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, I wanted to write a brief letter to express my concern regarding N.C.A.A. student-athletes participating in collegiate sporting events that start at 9:30 p.m. on a school night, and most likely will not end until nearly midnight.  Is this something for which your organization is to be proud?  We all know who is behind this absurd scheduling, television or more specifically ESPN.  I love college basketball; however starting games at 9:30 p.m. during the week is absurd.

How can the N.C.A.A. profess to be looking out for the best interests of its student-athletes when it allows these young men and women to compete in their respective sport at any time of the day or day of week, at the beckon will of almighty television?  This tactless scheduling of sporting events affects not only the student-athletes, but also those students and fans attending these late starting games as well.

Moreover, what does a parent tell their young child as to why they cannot watch their favorite team play a huge game against a perennial national power in one of this nation’s most historic arenas because the game does not start until bedtime?  I guess we can always give in and let them stay up until midnight, then give them a shot of 5 Hour Energy for breakfast, I write sardonically as I cannot believe this type of energy supplement is allowed to be a proud sponsor or advertiser of many N.C.A.A. sporting events.  Why limit your influential advertising to young children to alcohol and adrenalin boosters, why not casinos, cigars, cigarettes and hookers?

The N.C.A.A. long ago sold its soul to the almighty dollar and its illegitimate offspring, television, at the expense of this nation‘s student-athletes.  Our colleges and universities are as much to blame for allowing such malfeasance to occur.  However, they too, have long ago sold their souls, again to big money and television.  College presidents, football and basketball coaches and athletic departments all live high on the hog at the expense of the student-athletes.  What is really pathetic is the hypocrisy by all involved.  Look at the uproar that was created at Ohio State a little more than one year ago after it was revealed that several football players sold mementos given to them for winning a conference championship or bowl game.  Years from now, those players who traded rings for tattoos will regret their decisions, however these men did nothing illegal, except in the eyes of the N.C.A.A, and yet this year’s undefeated football team is paying the price as they are forced to stay home this bowl system.

I understand that athletes are in reality being paid quite well because the cost of tuition, room and board is astronomical these days, however the money that swirls around college football and basketball is outrageous, especially that of your television contracts.  For the N.C.A.A. to see nothing wrong with an athlete playing a game at midnight on a school night is asinine.  You may fool some of the people some of the time with your proclamation that you are looking out for the best interests of your student-athletes, however, you ain’t foolin’ me.  It’s all about money!

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

Baylor Bears’ Hideous Uniforms

Never in my life have I rooted against a sports team because of their uniforms; however, that all changed this weekend while watching an N.C.A.A. national quarterfinal basketball game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Baylor Bears.  The uniforms worn by Baylor were hideous.  They quite possibly are the ugliest uniforms ever worn by a sports team.  Besides being repugnant, I do not believe that I have ever seen a bear with tiger stripes.

America in general has become a country that cares very little about its appearance and now that attitude has permeated our sports culture as well.  Pride might be one of the seven deadly sins; however, the complete lack of self-respect in one’s appearance should be cause of great embarrassment not only to the individual, but also to society as a whole.

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

The Powerful Influence Of The N.C.A.A.

With the first two rounds of the men’s basketball tournament about to conclude this afternoon and late in the evening, I am astounded by the immeasurable number of N.C.A.A. logos that appear either on the court, court-side or on the television screen.  We are brainwashing our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and the N.C.A.A. tournament is a perfect example.  As someone who watches many of the old television shows on DVDs, I have noticed that hour-long shows from the late 1950s and early ‘60s were fifty-two minutes long.  Now days, a show of this length at best is only forty-four minutes.  This represents a one hundred percent increase in the number of commercials per hour.  When you consider how the networks now routinely use pop-up ads to advertise up-coming shows and product placements in their shows, we are being inundated with commercials.

After watching a few of the first round games on Thursday, I decided to make a list of every N.C.A.A. logo I noticed while watching a particular game.  The following is the list:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Two logos on top of each backboard,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
Two logos on the bunting along press row,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo at either end of the electronic scoreboard,
One logo along the baseline just below the electronic scoreboard,
One logo during every commercial break on the television screen as the score is given,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
And one logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when a reply is shown.

In addition to these logos, each coach has some sort of lapel pin that I assume has an N.C.A.A. logo on it.  It also appears that there are four replicas of these pins alongside the two logos on the bunting along press row.  Even though I watch these games on HDTV, I have yet been able to determine exactly what these pins are, but most likely include some sort of N.C.A.A. insignia.  I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different N.C.A.A., network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

Seven or eight years ago, the ABC television network aired a special hosted by John Stossel entitled Hype, which addressed the issue of the effect that television has on us.  I found one segment especially alarming.  In this particular segment, Mr. Stossel had a group of kindergarten age children sitting in front of a wall of each letter of the alphabet, each letter written in a different font.  When Stossel would point to a letter, every child would scream out the same thing.  For example, when he pointed to the letter “g,” every child screamed Kellogg’s.  These children knew just by looking at the font of a single letter that it represented a particular product.  We have brainwashed our children with the constant barrage of television advertising and not only is no one doing anything about it, but commercials are becoming ever more dominate in our lives.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati-Xavier Basketball Riot

The riot that broke out at the end of the Cincinnati-Xavier basketball game should be reason enough for the NCAA to finally crackdown on trash talking in all sports.  Civility and sportsmanship has long since been abandoned in not only in American sports but in our society as a whole.  Xavier All-American guard Tu Holloway was quoted as stating after the game that “We’ve got a whole bunch of gangsters in our locker room.”  Is this really the image the NCAA and our universities want to project to the youth of America?

This type of boorish attitude has probably been around for a very long time, as I am old enough to remember watching the beating and hospitalization of several Ohio State basketball players by the Minnesota Golden Gophers on February 7, 1972, but it was glorified by the Miami Hurricanes football team during the 1980s, when that program relished its image as gangsters and hooligans when it wore combat fatigues on the way to the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.

Sad as this brawl was, this type of brutal behavior is probably more reflective of the violent culture of America.  Be it this nation’s warmongering military-industrial complex down to all those shoot ‘em in the head to receive bonus points video games (which were first developed by the military to train its soldiers for combat) parents give their children for Christmas, America has become a very sadistic nation.  The brawl in Cincinnati is just the latest example of a society gone wild.

Steven H. Spring