Swickard: Taking money to lose games

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart
             On page C5 of the Sunday, October 1, 2017 Albuquerque Journal is a headline: Aggie offense shows well in money game.” While some weak football programs do it, I object to the ethics of selling losses in “money games” to national powerhouses.
            It is certainly the right of NMSU to engage year after year in this ethical morass of selling losses. But it is not right for them to do so. The football team plays mostly unwinnable games a couple times a season for money.
            Over the last forty years NMSU has sold losses in a sport entirely judged by the team’s win-loss record. I have spent those forty years complaining about this to no avail.
            In the modern NCAA Football era comes an unethical practice of strong national teams spending millions of dollars for an easy week while weak teams collect millions providing a loss. This last week the University of Arkansas paid NMSU $1.35 million to go there and lose.
            Over that forty years NMSU has won twice and lost more than a hundred times. Many Aggie Football coaches have been fired because of their win-loss record.
            Three concerns: first, it appears giving two losses a season keeps the Aggies from going to Bowl Games. NMSU hasn’t gone to a Bowl Game since Eisenhower was the President in 1960. I see a trend.
            Secondly, smaller teams playing physically larger teams often get players hurt. This is not a strong team in your conference, these are national teams.
            Finally, it is a thumb in the eye of home fans. Not going to Bowl Games because of selling losses makes selling season tickets harder.
            Partly personal: I have watched NMSU football for fifty years. My first year was with legendary coach Warren Woodson in 1967. I have had season tickets most of the time including this year.
            The NMSU Athletic Department have spoken to me over the years due to my criticism. They say I don’t understand Higher Education. I always respond I have a Ph.D. in Higher Education from NMSU. But they don’t listen to me.
            Former NFL Head Coach Bill Parcells wrote, “The only way to change people is to tell them in the clearest possible terms what they’re doing wrong. And if they don’t want to listen they don’t belong on the team.” This is true at NMSU where the same old strategy has failed for so many years.
            The way to change the fortunes of the NMSU Football program is: first, never ever sell a loss. Secondly, play teams you can beat. Finally, with enough wins go to Bowl Games. Any Bowl Game The program will pick itself up and success will follow.
            As Bill Parcells said, “Success is never final, but failure can be.” The NMSU Football Program will be shrouded in failure so long as they continue to sell losses.