On the Tunney Side of the Street 32

by Jim Tunney

  After Further Review ... As we watched the tears stream down Mark's face, as well as those of his mother, one could feel the sense of pride of accomplishment both were enjoying.  When Mark Ingram, RB of the University of Alabama's 2009 undefeated T.E.A.M. received the Heisman Trophy as "College's Best Player," he was, indeed, humble and gracious.  All that we've seen and heard about Ingram is that he is a wonderful person, as well as an outstanding RB who scored 15 touchdowns and rushed for more than 1,500 yards in the 2009 football season.
My concern, as it has been for many years, is that Ingram is only a sophomore; and while John Heisman (see www.JohnHeisman.com) never had much to do with the naming of this award, many agree that it NOT be awarded to an underclassman.   I have been a long time advocate of the Heisman being awarded to the best SENIOR collegiate football player.   Since some quality players often leave college after their junior year to enter the NFL draft, they would eliminate themselves for Heisman consideration.            
              Well, so be it.  If the Heisman is considered to be a wonderful prize to be cherished, then let the player decide to strive for that, and stay in school.  However, should he choose to enter the NFL draft and forego a "possible" Heisman as a senior, then let him make that choice.  Accompanying this emphasis is the importance of a college education/degree.
                Also of concern is the naming of high school athletes as "Heisman awardees" as it has been the last several years.  I'm all for recognizing top high school athletes, but not as "Heisman."  That was never the intention when the Heisman was first presented in 1935 (then as the DAC Trophy).  Let young people enjoy what they have now and not rush them into the prestige that the Heisman carries.
                Further, how did the "Heisman Humanitarian" award get started?  While it is a worthy accomplishment to be recognized for "selfless behavior of giving back," there is no need to name it "Heisman."  The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, started in 1994, located in Boise, Idaho (see www.sportshumanitarian.com) honors those athletes - both men and women - who do just that - give to others and make their communities better!
                Will you be in favor of the sanctity of Heisman by awarding it only to a senior?

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