Dear Mark Emmert,
We have had our differences over the years, you and I, but I think we could find some common ground with a humble suggestion. Recently, a student-athlete at the University of Oregon took it upon himself to expedite the game he was playing in and remove unwanted interference from the field of play:
To wit: Cyrus Habibi-Likio saw some guy running on the field delaying the proceedings and brought him down.
Game broadcasts have tried their best to not show these intrusions — which they rightly feel would encourage imitations — but social media always surfaces them. We can’t act like this practice doesn’t exist.
In an age where player safety is paramount, the lack of live tackling in practice can affect the product on the field. A rule addition allowing players to patrol would allow them to stay fresh on their technique in the open field during the game’s dead time. It’s a relatively low-risk scenario for the player: They’re literally wearing armor, and in the worst case scenario there’s protection. There’s also a deterrent effect for fans who may think to try this themselves. Trying to dodge some pudgy security guy in a windbreaker is one thing. Dealing with a linebacker in full pads is a much tougher task.
We’d be killing multiple birds with one stone here.
There’s plenty of strain on security personnel at football games and coaches as is. What I’m really trying to do here is help them out. To be sure, these people are certainly capable of the task. As sports entertainment has shown, it takes a team effort.
I’m just saying there are players ready, willing, and able to handle the matter. Let’s deputize them.
Professional football has shown a clear blueprint here.
You may be worried about some legal ramifications.
Somebody may try to sue a player who mollywhopped them as they strolled across the 50 yard-line, causing serious injury, but there’s some argument on the player (and the school’s) side.
Take any ticket to a sporting event. There’s a boilerplate disclaimer that reads, in part, like this:
Ticket holder expressly assumes all risks incidental to the game or event for which this ticket is issued, which can include but are not limited to injuries from flying balls, hockey pucks and sticks, and other objects, physical exertion on account of climbing stairs, or the acts of others, whether occurring prior to or after the event. Ticket holder expressly waives any claim against the Board of Regents of [University] and its officers, employees, agents, contractors and invitees on account of the risks listed above.
You’ve got plenty of legal problems inherent to trying to prove that student-athletes aren’t employees. Why not drop those cases and free up some millions of dollars while also increasing the legal defense to a risky rule change? I’m just proposing common sense solutions.
Nobody likes an interruption to their game. I’m trying to ensure that the pageantry of collegiate sports won’t be further sullied.
Richard Johnson — Banner Society.
P.S. If you’d loosen up the rules preventing players profiting from their likenesses, there’s an endorsement opportunity to be had between stadium security companies and players — just saying.