Should We Show Some Mercy?
November 19, 2019
Every year, college teams score more and more points, and new records are set. Gone are the days where we end games early due to the mercy rule, but could this become a factor in NCAA college games?
College Athletics Need a Mercy Rule
On Friday, Nov. 8, the University of Utah men’s basketball team beat Mississippi Valley State University by a score of 143-49. This 94-point margin was the largest in NCAA history.
Even though the Utes played through 13 different players and they committed hardly any fouls, the team was still scrutinized for taking the win too far over a much smaller Division I program.
I believe that the team did not do anything wrong, as basketball does not play with a mercy rule of any kind. The outcome of the game would have been a far different story if this rule was a part of NCAA basketball.
Currently, college softball is the only sport with a mercy rule in place. Softball games end early if one team is up by eight or more runs after five innings.
I believe that there should be a mercy rule put into place for more college sports. Some teams, such as gymnastics and volleyball, don’t need it, but I think that there are some sports that could benefit from a mercy rule.
Implementing a mercy rule into college sports would have two benefits. First, it would make games more fair to athletes across the board. Most of the athletes competing in each game are on scholarship, and they have worked very hard to get where they are. It just isn’t fair if they get completely blown out against a power school that happened to recruit better than they did.
Second, a mercy rule will allow teams to rest. Sure, when there is a blowout, the second- and third-string players have a chance to see playing time, but if the game ends early, then the athletes can have a chance to rest and relax before their next game.
A mercy rule would have many benefits that go even beyond the scope of the athletes themselves. Not only do the players leave earlier, but so do the fans. This would allow stadiums to shut down earlier, which would save the time, energy and money that is usually spent to light the field and pay staff members.
College Athletics Do Not Need a Mercy Rule
Adding in a mercy rule into college athletics would make both watching and playing in these games less appealing. If one team is dominating over another, there is only so much a coaching staff can do to try and lessen what people see in the box score. I know there is a mercy rule in college softball, but there shouldn’t be one in any sport across the board.
In football, when any given team is up big against an opponent, the head coaches tend to pull out their starters and give the second- and even third-string players a chance to get some live game experience. If your third-string offense can score against an opposing team’s first- or second-string defense, maybe your team isn’t that good.
Teams with more players on the roster have an easier time subbing people in and out to try and balance out the game, but teams like basketball that have less people on the roster have fewer options on how to go about lessening the blow. Teams still tend to give their leading scorer(s) a break, not only to make sure they are healthy going into the next game, but also to avoid people calling them out.
Why is it that people get so upset when a team that is supposed to roll to victory does that easily and quickly? I believe that adding a mercy rule would make college sports just as fun as a rec soccer team that makes you stop playing when you have scored 10 goals on your opponent.
The thing is, a lot of these kids hope to play these sports at the next level when their college career is over and there is no mercy rule in any professional sport. Why? Because professionals know that anything can happen in any given game and it is their job to make the game as close as they can.
Adding a mercy rule to college sports would get rid of a good chance for those who usually don’t start to get game experience while also trying to silence the haters who just don’t like it when you can beat an opponent 54-10 or 143-49 easily with your starters who aren’t even playing the whole game.