Sports Beat “The 2018 Heisman Trophy”
New York City is not a college football hotbed, but it becomes its Mecca the second Saturday of December every year when the winner of the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in college sports, is announced. Adding to its attention is the one-hour program that ESPN televises.
This year’s winner, University of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, has gained fame for not only leading his Sooners to the college football playoffs but for his prowess as a baseball player. He was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft that was held by Major League Baseball this past June.
Even though Murray gladly talked about his dual collegiate sports career during the ESPN Heisman telecast, he clammed up about it at his press conference following his receipt of the trophy.
When I asked him about the economic benefits of an MLB playing career vis-a-vis one in the NFL (a better pension plan, stronger players union, and a longer career on the average) Murray just replied that all he was thinking about was his upcoming game with Heisman Trophy runner-up, QB Tua Tagovailoa and his University of Alabama teammates.
I was far more impressed with the poise and candor of the third nominee, Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. Perhaps it’s because he grew up just outside NYC in Highland Park, NJ but Haskins did not seem like a deer in the headlights at the press conference just prior to the Heisman Trophy presentation.
Dwayne Haskins did not hesitate when I asked him about whether college athletes should be compensated. “Absolutely. We generate a lot of revenue. I am working out, practicing, or working out at least 11 hours a day. It limits what I can do as a student,” he forthrightly replied.
He laughed when I asked if he thought about bringing his talents to my alma mater, Columbia. “Playing in the Ivy League was never a consideration,” he said with a broad smile.
Speaking of the Ivy League, the conference presented its version of the Heisman Trophy, the Bushnell Cup, last Monday at the New York Hilton. Dartmouth cornerback Isiah Swann was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year while Princeton QB John Lockett, who led his Tigers to an undefeated season and an Ivy League championship, was named its Offensive Player of the Year.
Lockett deserved Heisman Trophy consideration, but there was no way that was going to happen in the big money world of college football.