Bryson de Chambeau Has No Choice
We’re all pretty sure by now that Bryson de Chambeau is one heck of a golfer, at least in the amateur ranks – and that’s where the pros come from. It works for me. It’s also safe to say that the dynamic young man who has, in the last year, won the National Amateur Championship in the U.S., has plans for the near future – big ones. By winning the biggest of all amateur tournaments in his home country, he has also earned himself a spot in the upcoming Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open.
Not bad for a college kid from Southern Methodist University, is it? The only problem is that Southern Methodist University has become the only place on the planet where Bryson de Chambeau is barred from playing golf, in any capacity, team or individual. Apparently, de Chambeau and his teammates have suffered collateral damage from a scandal that resulted in the resignation of the SMU golf coach, Josh Gregory.
Before I looked into it, I thought that this must be huge. Some big sex scandal, embezzling from the university, a murder from years before, or abuse of his players. There was none of that to be found – I repeat, none of that. It seems that Gregory sent some communications to recruits without permission, constituting some “rules violations.” As a result, in part to protect his people, Gregory has left the university, and de Chambeau had no place to go. He was, it seems, barred from even defending his title at the National Amateur this year, and wants to join the Argentina Open and Australian Open this November. All he needs is a place and environment where he can prepare, so he like his coach, is going into exile as an unwilling, unnecessary college drop-out.
By all accounts, de Chambeau is guilty of nothing whatsoever, and the same goes for his colleagues on the team. However, in its infinite wisdom, the Royal Order of Sports Oversight Incompetence, otherwise known as the NCAA, has used its blunt force tactics to hurt everything that was good about the game at SMU, and treat its outgoing coach like Vlad the Impaler instead of Josh the e-mailer. The NCAA doesn’t really, and has never, cared about collateral damage. It has done more damage to the innocent than the guilty in “protecting the integrity” of collegiate sports. While entire programs have run amok under the sleeping eye of this organization, its capacity for retribution directed against the minute is staggering.
Here is a far more rational recipe for the tidal wave of golf crime that has enveloped Southern Methodist – not. It goes like this – “Hey coach, hand in your phone. Come to class this Saturday. We’re going to give you a review of what you’re allowed to do with it – bring your computer, too. Ok, now Josh, you have to sit out a tournament or two – sorry -NCAA rules, but don’t worry. You’ll be back in the saddle in no time. Meanwhile, we’re making sure your students aren’t harmed in any way, and we’ll bring in Fuzzy Zoeller to finish the season for you. Next fall, it will be as if none of this ever happened.”
So, from some e-mails or tweets to potential recruits, the guys on the SMU golf team are forbidden to play competitive golf unless they drop out of college. I can’t imagine what the NCAA is thinking, not penalizing the Archaeology, Music, and English Literature departments for working on the same patch of ground as the golfers. Can’t be too careful these days. Bryson de Chambeau and his pals might get a reprieve if SMU’s appeal goes through, but guess who they’re appealing to – the pantheon of blind, deaf, and dumb sports overseers. Fat chance. Let’s hear it for another case of apathetically delivered collateral damage by the NCAA – Not Capable At Anything.