College Athletics Need a Mercy Rule

By Casey Overfield

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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. 

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