September 1, 2010

The Syndrome Syndrome

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By The Daily Axe Staff
CapitalOne Customer Relations Center
They’re not our corporate sponsors, but we’ll put up Capital One’s logo for illustrative purposes. (Image by taberandrew via Flickr)

In a classic example of how corporate America and excessive money can ruin collegiate athletics, the NCAA and the credit card company Capital One today announced the new Capital One Cup. The Cup will go to one women’s intercollegiate sports program and to one men’s program at the end of the spring season each year. The winning schools will receive $200,000 each in scholarship money for graduate studies for former athletes. The NCAA will publish interim standings after the fall and winter seasons, and the final prize will go to the winning schools at the ESPY awards in the summer.

Why does anyone care? Well, the Capital One Cup is a clear intended substitute for the Directors Cup, which has been around since 1993. Since that time, only North Carolina and Stanford have won the award, and UNC only won once. Apparently the other universities in this fine nation are frustrated with their inferiority to Stanford. (And let’s face it: we’re not talking solely about athletic inferiority. The other schools that can hold an academic candle to Stanford can’t compete with the Card in sports.) In such a situation, the logical solution to one’s emotional woes is to find a corporate sponsor–preferably one that runs incomprehensible advertisements about Vikings with credit issues–and create a new award that seems easier to win. There’s no need to compete with the best if you can just make your own, new version of the best. This seems wildly appropriate in an era that has fostered Citizens United and rampant gold-star-earners, and it reminds us a lot of Syndrome’s inadequacy complex in The Incredibles.

The New York Times reports that during today’s press conference officially announcing the new award, Doug Flutie claimed that, “On college campuses, the self-pride in [non-revenue] programs will continue to escalate.” Doug Flutie is a good guy. He runs a foundation for kids. He was an admirably overachieving athlete that was hard to dislike as a player at Boston College and throughout his pro football career. However, he must not have known that the Directors Cup already exists. Does Stanford’s dominance of the award make it less interesting? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that the criteria should be changed merely to give worse programs a better chance to win.

Just think of Syndrome. He’s a jerk. Let’s throw away this Capital One Cup garbage and stay with the Directors Cup.

NOTE: Keep an eye out for The Cup. We’ll give it to some random school whose mascot we like, provided that we can find a mega-corp to pay the bill.

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The Daily Axe Staff
The Daily Axe is an independent Stanford sports website covering Cardinal athletics year-round. Find The Daily Axe on and on social media via the links below.


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