In what seems to be quite the developing trend, a political official is pursuing a resolution regarding the results of a sporting event. In this case, it is New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer (R-Ocean) who is trying to press the NCAA to investigate the controversial ending of the Rutgers/Tennessee women’s basketball game from February 11th. In the game, which took place in Tennessee, the game clock froze at 0.2 second for almost a full second and a half, and a foul occurred on a Tennessee player after, in theory, the game should have been over. You can read more about the incident and the Senator’s position in this ESPN.com article.
It certainly seems that this trend of political officials meddling in all aspects of sports is getting out of control. It started with Congress’ initial involvement in the MLB steroid issues, getting worse with the specific focus on Roger Clemens. Arlen Specter took it farther with his desire for more investigation in the Patriots’ videotaping issues, and now we have the Senator from NJ. I understand the potential trickle-down impact that steroid use among professional athletes can have on younger athlete, but the other two incidents seem to be nothing but a shallow political move with the goal of gaining votes and local support. With all the substantial issues that politicians do need to deal with, how is investing the result of a professional football or college basketball game an effective allocation of government resources?
There is one other perspective to take away from this – the NCAA, conferences, and professional leagues need to be (or at least appear to be) more vigilant in their own investigations. Once they appear to be more thorough in their work, there should be significantly less reason for the politicians to attempt tactics like this, and if they still do, hopefully their constituents would realize that they are nothing more than publicity stunts.