Top 5 Rules that Need to Change in Sports Right Now
#5.Changing citizenship for the Olympics
I get that competing in the Olympics means a lot to the athletes, but isn’t the point to represent their country? Kind of trivializes that notion when you just up and change your citizenship. And the worst part? The U.S. is one of the biggest benefactors of the current rule! Between 1992 and 2008, about 50 athletes have emigrated to the United States to compete for the Olympic team, after having already competed for another nation. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to win that way. We don’t have to get rid of the practice altogether, but at least create a mandatory “wait” period. Kenyan runner Bernard Lagat became a United States citizen in less than a year, jeopardizing the silver medal he won for Kenya in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Yeesh.
#4. NBA foul out rule
This one would be ranked higher if it were more consistently relevant. On February 5, 2014, the Lakers beat the Cavaliers, 119-108. For the most part, it was an unmemorable performance from two forgettable teams, if not for one thing: it taught us all a ludicrous NBA rule. To be specific, Rule No. 3, Section I, Part A, which states:
“Each team shall consist of five players. No team shall be reduced to less than five players. If a player in the game receives his sixth personal foul and all substitutes have already been disqualified, said player shall remain in the game and shall be charged with a personal and team foul. A technical foul also shall be assessed against his team. All subsequent personal fouls, including offensive fouls, shall be treated similarly. All players who have six or more personal fouls and remain in the game shall be treated similarly.”
Notice the section I put in bold. The rule allows a player who has fouled out to remain in the game, as long as his other teammates are unable to play. Obviously this doesn’t happen often, but it happened in that game in February, and the Cavaliers had to continue playing against five men even though that fifth man had already fouled out. He should have been gone, and the Cavaliers should have been playing against four. It’s like a red card in soccer – if you don’t make the player leave, what’s the incentive to stop doing what he’s doing?
#3. NFL Central Review
It’s ironic that while 2012 is remembered as the year of the replacement referees, 2013 is talked about as the worst year of officiating in recent memory. Sure, calls are sometimes going to be missed during a game. But when they’re reviewed in-game and still missed, that’s when I cry foul. I don’t know why it is, but it seems pretty clear that centralizing the review process would remove crowd noise and on-the-field pressure from the equation, and that’s a good thing.
#2. If a college football coach leaves, his recruits can too
Right now, if a college coach leaves for another school or for the NFL, his recruits are powerless to leave unless they’re willing to redshirt a season. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but that’s generally the case. Why should coaches get to leave while their players – the kids they visited, promising to stand by them while standing in their living rooms – are forced to stay? Take James Franklin, who recently defected from Vanderbilt to join Penn State. He had several recruits from California come to join him in Nashville, TN., who are likely now thousands of miles from home, and stuck there without the person they came to play for. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broken, fix it right now – that should be the NCAA’s new motto.
#1. DH, or no DH?
Make a decision already. It’s ridiculous that Major League Baseball‘s American League and National League don’t have the same rules – specifically, that the NL continues to balk at using a Designated Hitter. When AL teams visit NL teams, sometimes AL pitchers are forced to hit, something they’re certainly not accustomed to doing. In this example from 2008, one of the Yankees best pitchers at the time, Chien-Ming Wang, injured himself while rounding the bases, partially tearing a tendon. As Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina noted at the time, “We run in straight lines most of the time. Turning corners, you just don’t do that.” And as much as that makes him sound like Derek Zoolander, who famously couldn’t turn left, he’s right.