The Top 20 things that need to be changed in the world of sports

By Trevor Amicone

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 31 2011 2:00 p.m. MDT

It’s not as hard as people are saying it would be. All you have to do is leave balls and strikes off limits. The purists are using the “How far will it go?” argument as an excuse to drag their feet. It wouldn’t be hard to put another umpire in a booth in the press box and have him examine close calls that are challenged on the field.

Not every close call, just ones that are challenged by coaches. You can use instant replay for calls on the bases, close catches/traps, fair or foul calls, and home run calls. The opposing argument is that it will take too long. My counter argument is that they shouldn’t do it like they do it now where they take the umpires off the field to review plays. Have a guy in the booth ready to review calls.

Use a challenge system where managers get three challenges a game, that’s it. Easy enough.

Armando Gallaraga’s not-so-perfect game last season was a sign from the baseball gods. Their message: a massive screw-up like this could happen in a World Series or postseason game when it actually matters. Jim Joyce’s safe signal was more than just a blown call, it was a wake up call. If I’m a fan and a blown call costs my team a postseason spot or a World Series, I’m livid. If I’m a general manager or a manager and a blown call costs me postseason spot, it may cost me my job. Everyone should want instant replay.

2. Fire all NBA officials and hire a fresh, uncorrupted bunch

The NBA is somewhere between the WWE and figure skating in its legitimacy. I won’t go as far as saying that the NBA is completely rigged, but I also have a hard time watching the NBA and not imagining David Stern in the Jumbotron above the court pulling strings.

The first problem is that the officials have too much control over games. I often find myself watching a Jazz game against the Lakers or Spurs and saying to myself, “ya know, I might as well just turn this game off because I know the officials aren’t going to let the Jazz win this game.”

I know that the Jazz will get close just to make it an interesting game, but then Kobe will got all the calls at the end and the Jazz really never had a chance. I just have a really hard time believing that the whole Tim Donaghy scenario was an isolated incident. It is easier for me to believe that the officials are getting manipulated than believing they aren’t. I don’t think that Stern is controlling every game and picking winners throughout the season, but I can’t not believe that the officials in the NBA do not know who Stern wants to win each playoff series.

1. Replace the BCS with a playoff system

Ideally, this would be a 16-team playoff. The six power conferences would each play a championship game and the winner would automatically qualify for the tournament. Then you would have 10 at-large bids. Just like basketball, you would have a selection committee make those at-large picks. Then you take the 16 teams and re-seed them 1 through 16.

This past season the automatic bids would have probably been: Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, UConn, and Virginia Tech. The at-large 10 would probably look something like this: TCU, Stanford, Boise State, LSU, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Alabama, Michigan State, Nevada, and Oklahoma State. Yeah, maybe Mississippi State would have an argument to be in, but at least we wouldn’t be arguing about the national champion. The bracket would look something like this:

1. Auburn vs. 16. UConn: Essentially a bye week for the Tigers

8. Boise State vs. 9. Wisconsin: Remember the buzz around the Rose Bowl?

5. Ohio State vs. 12. Arkansas: One of the best bowl games of the past season

4. Stanford vs. 13. Nevada: Who wouldn’t want to watch that high-scoring game?

6. Oklahoma vs. 11. Oklahoma State: I didn’t plan that, I swear. Could you imagine the bedlam?

3. TCU vs. 14. Virginia Tech: Good, old-fashioned defensive battle

7. LSU vs. 10. Alabama: Death Valley would be rockin’ when Nick Saban comes back to town

2. Oregon vs. 15. Michigan State: A game full of entertaining trick plays