Two weeks ago, I wondered about the merits of abolishing the NCAA.
Since then, the NCAA reduced the draconian penalties it placed on Penn State some eighteen months ago,and the Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delaney, suggested that football and basketball athletes might be better served by a paid minor-league system instead of using universities as farm systems for the pros.
(I've long held that perception, and if nothing else I believe athletes should be able to market or branch themselves while still students. Paying players directly is too expensive and won't fix corruption.)
This comes after a major deciison came down last year that there will be a four-team play-off for the major college football championship.
That an NCAA conference commissioner would say something Delaney did, or that the NCAA would reverse course on a major penalty enforcement, or that there will finally be a college football playoff, all tell me one thing:
Change is in the air.
And it's based on one principle, really: why do we live with this stupidity?
We knew for decades that NCAA athletes are not treated fairly, especially in high-profile, high-revenue sports. We knew that the method of determining an "unofficial" national champion was still silly no matter how it was tweaked.
The month of September also brought us other changes.
We saw it in foreign policy. An off-handed remark from Secretary of State John Kerry provided an opportunity by Russia to prevent U.S. plans to illegally bomb Syria. The American people saw no reason for war on Syria, and Kerry and President Obama were tone-deaf to the complaints until a late hour. As of today, it looks like diplomatic solutions to the Syrian Civil War are possible.
Also, Iran's President Rouhani is presenting diplomatic solutions to the "conflict" between Iran's utterly reasonable right to a peaceful nuclear program against Obama's fact-free, unreasonable claim that Iran seeks nuclear weapons.
Change is in the air.
The numbers who believe American military might makes right are dwindling. Part of it might be "war-weariness" from Iraq and Afghanistan. A more logical explanation is that Americans who were led into supporting those wars now know they had nothing to do with America's security, but rather to extremist "nation-building" ideologies that dominate the Beltway but not Main Street.
And we've seen more changes. Nine years ago, gay marriage was a contentious issue, and the culturually more conservative George W. Bush may have won re-election to the Presidency for that reason on the coattails of this "red state vs. blue" issue. Nine years later, without any singular event making a difference, it appears that the anti-gay marriage faction has lost.
Why? I suspect that it was apathy if nothing else. More and more Americans thought prohibiting gay marriage was unfair, or didn't feel strongly about the issue to care to resist it. You could count me in the latter camp, because I believe in the Separation of Marriage and State, and "gay marriage" would seem to invite the State into more marriages.But I couldn't feel strongly about it, because in practical terms gay marriage may give partners to it more legal rights that would otherwise be denied them.
Just as with the NCAA and foreign policy, change came from a quiet cultural shift. Enough people became tired enough with the stupidity and injustices, that they supported the agents of change, or had no will to resist them.
We're seeing this today on the marijuana and hemp front as well. Several states are legalizing one, the other, or both, to some degree. Obama is facing the fact that he's powerless to stop either.
Of course, the strongest agent of change may have been Edward Snowden earlier in this summer. By exposing the extent of the federal "government's" unconstitutional surveillance powers, he woke many people up to the reality of a Big Brother State. Matters didn't help when the mainstream press found out they were being targeted in the hunt for leaks. NSA reform came very close to a victory in the House mid-summer; and there's a greater chance than ever we'll see it sometime soon.
Change comes sometimes when we just get tired of defending the status quo. Other times it seems to come when new facts are revealed that prompt the conscience to demand change.
This past summer exposed much of the hubris and moral rot that emanates from the policians and their lackeys who work in the District of Columbia. I'm only cautiously optimistic of sudden, positive change. But I I'm happy to see more and more people, on all "sides" and from "both parties" see their resolve in defending and promoting their "leaders" weaken.
It's nice to see the moral conscience trump partisan loyalty.