A couple weeks ago, we brought you the story of George Mason basketball coach Jim Larranaga tweeting a couple sarcastic remarks about the NCAA’s ridiculous - but true - restrictions on bagels given to players as snacks. Basically, the players may have bagels, but they can’t have cream cheese or butter on them. No, really.
We particularly enjoyed one of our commenters’ suggestions, which was to circumvent the rule by using soy- and nut-based products and spreads, since nuts also qualify as snacks under the NCAA’s arcane snack guidelines. But apparently Larranaga’s got a different idea, which is to abandon the fight altogether, which is one of the main reasons why he’s shuttering his Twitter account.
The D.C. SPORTS BOG has Larranaga’s comments, most of which basically qualify as deference to the NCAA and an unwillingness to fuel any criticism of it:
[W]ith school resuming and his basketball work ramping up, Larranaga decided he’d had about enough of Twitter. This is not a man who seeks out NCAA-related controversy, and it turns out he actually likes the bagel doctrine, as he explained on the Mike Wise Show last week.
“Tongue in cheek, I made a comment that has been blown out of proportion and used to fuel some other columns, and I didn’t feel good about that….” Larranaga told Wise. “There’s reasons for these rules, and I poked a little bit of fun, but it got out of hand. I said, ‘Well, that kind of ends my twittering.’ I’m too busy now to work with my own team to keep doing these things.”[…]
[A]s someone who wasn’t entirely sure what he thought of Twitter, Larranaga abandoned the site in the perfect way: twice.“As the Terminator said “I’ll be back” but I just,” he wrote.
“As the Terminator said “I’ll be back” I just don’t know when. Thanks for following. Coach L,” he then posted.
That’s a shame, to be honest; Larranaga’s charismatic personality shone through nicely in his Tweets, and nothing was particularly objectionable about the way the entire situation was handled by any party.
Further, if Larranaga doesn’t want the NCAA or its regulations to get criticized by the media, that’s a totally valid opinion. The problem is that he and we have quite different priorities when it comes to getting a certain message out, and here’s precisely where they diverge. Complying with the NCAA is part and parcel of his job, and the last thing he needs is the NCAA breathing down his neck for having a quick mouth.
But we’re of the opinion that while there’s no sense in criticizing for criticism’s sake, a very stupid rule needs to be addressed as a very stupid rule. Keeping bagels “dry,” as Larranaga put it, is a very stupid rule. Frankly, we’d rather have no bagel than have a dry bagel, and if that’s what the NCAA was trying to accomplish (like a “you can be nourished, but you’d better not enjoy it!” thing), then well done, people.
We just don’t see why they don’t save everybody a ton of time and worry and say “you can go ahead and eat as much cafeteria food as you please whenever you want, since you’re college-age athletes who burn about 4 or 5,000 calories a day.” Granted, you don’t want these kids going to steakhouses on the university’s dollar (or worse, a booster’s dollar) all the time, of course, but there’s a chasm of difference between that and the dastardly cream cheese infecting a mid-morning bite to eat.