In light of the events in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday evening, I would like to take this time to dig into responsibility and honesty in sports. As most of you know, the Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday after a bizarre and hectic series of events. Trailing by two points with 18 seconds to go, the Badger’s Joel Stave snapped the ball and took a knee in the middle of the field to set up a game winning field goal attempt. Nearly every weekend in the fall, you will see a team perform the exact same procedure as the Badgers were intending to do: Take a knee in the middle of the field to center the ball for the field goal kicker, get lined up for another play, spike the ball to stop the clock and, finally, kick the game winning field goal. While I have personally seen this scenario work successfully hundreds of times, on Saturday night this perfectly tested procedure failed. After taking a knee, all of the time ran off the clock as ASU players laid down on the ball so the referee could not spot it.
While the entire referee crew was at fault for not correctly handling this incident, I am more disgusted with the Arizona State team. While lying on the ball was an illegal act, it was also classless and Bush-league. What happened to integrity and class in sports? Have we become too driven by the need to win that we throw our morals out the door? Are institutions for higher learning promoting winning at all costs over teaching character to young men? This game is yet another example of how our result driven society has become so enamored with the need to “win” that we have forgotten what it means to be truly victorious.
Excited to hear your thoughts!