The Heisman Trust has made a big deal of instructing their voters to keep their ballots secret and not reveal them to the public before the trophy is awarded much to the chagrin of much of the electorate. CBS college football writer Dennis Dodd took a stand by voluntarily giving up his vote before the season and refusing to play by the Trust's new code valuing secrecy over transparency.
Lest you think the Heisman Trust was offering empty threats to clamp down on voters revealing their ballots publicly, we now know of one voter who was not given a ballot because he didn't play by those rules. Mike Imrem is a sportswriter for the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Illinois who had been a Heisman voter for almost 30 years. In a recent column about the Chicago Bears quarterback situation, Imrem slid in a few paragraphs about how he lost his Heisman vote.
He made the grave mistake of revealing his vote last year to his readers and then refused to promise the Heisman Trust that he would not do the same this year. He never received his ballot this year…
What did happen today was I was hoping to write about how I was excommunicated from the Heisman Trophy process after nearly three decades.
My sin last year was writing about whom I voted for before the results were announced on TV at the award ceremony. The Heisman Trust asked for a vow not to do that again. I said my first responsibility is to my readers. No ballot arrived this year.
So Jameis Winston of Florida State missed out on my No. 1 vote, AJ McCarron of Alabama on my No. 2 vote and Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois on my No. 3 vote.
But who cares about the Heisman anyway while the Cutler-McCown debate rages?
Yes, the Heisman Trust is taking this utterly pointless vow of silence very seriously. In an age where transparency and accountability are valued and the connection between writers and their constituents is closer than ever before, the Heisman is stiff-arming anyone who feels otherwise. The Heisman Trust kicked Imrem out of their club because he valued his responsibility to his readers over his responsibility to them. Sportswriters shouldn't have to choose.
Is the Heisman Trophy completely compromised because of the relatively small number of voters who volunteer their vote publicly to their audiences? I'd argue the award is more compromised because of the secrecy and lack of accountability versus a few votes being made public. The public should at the very least have access to the complete list of voters and who they voted for (much like we've seen recently with the Coaches Poll) in order for this to be an integral process.
This double secret vow of secrecy is little more than a needless power play from an organization that feels like they have to throw their weight around to stay relevant. We're talking about a college football award, not government secrets. I don't think the NSA is going after Heisman ballots, although you can never be sure with them.
Now that the Heisman Trust has taken away Imrem's ballot, they are tasked with taking away the ballot of every single voter that reveals their ballot publicly. Like Paul Finebaum. The radio host revealed that he voted for Jameis Winston on Olbermann this week and even joked that he would be "excommunicated" for talking about his ballot in public.
The Heisman Trust is now going to have to make a choice. Take away the Heisman vote of the most notable college football personality in the south or open themselves up to a ridiculous double standard of their own making. Good luck with that.