Last month, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd wrote a column about a new rule from the Heisman Trust: writers who reveal their Heisman votes prior to the ceremony could have their voting privileges "reassigned." We wrote that it was a bad idea by the trust and would actually hurt the intrigue surrounding the ceremony.
Well, yesterday was the deadline the Heisman Trust gave to voters to commit in writing that they would adhere to this new rule. And yesterday, Dodd wrote a scathing letter to the President of the Trust, William Dockery, resigning his vote.
"This is my way of getting out on my own terms before the Heisman Trustees can throw me out. Monday is the deadline in your organization's ham-handed attempt (in my opinion) to make secret a process that has been a joyful, celebrated American sports tradition for decades.
We had until April 8 to atone for our sins — aka promise "in writing" we would hide our ballots from public consumption after the voting deadline (early December). Even then, you stated regional and state representatives "will take your explanation into consideration when determining the 2013 electorate.
So this is what Heisman double-secret probation feels like. It's not worth it. Not like this: Bill, it seems that you didn't send letters to all the "violators." I know that. I've received at least one call from a media member who did the same thing as me — wrote about his ballot for an annual column. So now we have a case of a previously unenforced non-disclosure agreement being applied arbitrarily."
That type of policing sounds AWFULLY FAMILIAR coughcoughNCAAcoughcough.
"It's called transparency, Bill, and there is precious little of it these days in college athletics. I am resigning my vote because I cannot in good conscience participate in a process where there is more secrecy, not less. You may have noticed, there's a huge need to keep things on the up and up in college athletics these days. The world has become a very skeptical place because of the implied words from the NCAA: "Trust us.""
Dodd makes many good points. This new rule is utterly pointless in its aim to "protect" one of the oldest traditions in college football. The policing in general, “you can’t talk about this,” screams of an archaic and out-of-touch institution. It’s another example of how college athletics is becoming a business run by people who are seemingly clueless. What the Heisman Trust should focus on is sportswriters who don't watch a lick of college football who still have votes.
The worst part of this whole thing is that the trust does not have a legitimate reason for instilling this rule. Dodd was able to speak with one trustee, who said:
"We want to keep it [voting] under wraps like the Oscars or another announcement. We don't want any announcements going out before the television announcement."
That's not a reason! People still watch the ceremony! Writers have been revealing their picks for as long as I can remember and it hasn't taken away from the presentation, often an emotional one for players, coaches and families. How does a handful of writers offering their opinion have a negative affect on the telecast? There's no legitimate reasoning.
This rule is just another example of higher-ups trying to fix something they thought was broken, while ignoring actual issues.