FanPost

Who Plays? Meritocracy v. Demographic Selection Standards

This follows on a FanPost I put up yesterday part of which talked about giving up some wins to develop younger talent. There is so much back seat coaching going on -- which is clearly a byproduct of frustration -- and has also been a part of other sports discussions, including basketball, that I'm having a hard time figuring out the factual or policy basis behind some of the posts on who should be playing and why. It seems to me there are two ways to go:

First, we can have a meritocracy. Be the best at your position and you play. The value of this system is that there is competition at all positions and "competition" and "survival of the fittest" are part of the great American way. Whenever our coaches have said, "We are going to compete at every position" there have been strong posts of support. We are very Darwinian. However, this system only works if we trust those who oversee the competition to judge it. They are there, every day in practice, know with a degree of certainty we lack, who is screwing up in games, and have the background to make the difficult choices as to who plays and who does not. I suppose one can support a meritocracy and yet not trust those who judge the talent. But, if not our coaching staff, who? People who watch UCLA football for 4 hours, either in person or on TV, or the coaches who are there all the time.

I opt with the coaches. I am not opposed to throwing out merit to use a demographic based selection process -- let's play the freshmen and sophomores to get them ready for next year and the year after. No matter, they are not as good, today, as some of their elders -- the theory is that they will only get better by playing -- not just practicing. The fact that we may lose games that might have been won is a cost of that decision. And, the fact that younger players may be more fragile of body and mind may have a negative impact on the desired long-term strategy.

Yesterday, I threw in a hybrid system. Compete for every position, but in a push, go younger. The upside is that we lose little on the field and gain experience. The downside is that such a system does not respect some intangible values that kept some of the older players here during some desperate times. Why do I bring this up again, this time in more depth? Because, no matter the system, be it meritocracy, demographic (with two young guys at a position), or hybrid -- someone needs to make the ultimate decision as to who plays. And, who better than the coaches?

I know that some use blogs to vent and rant. I just skip those posts. But, I think it incumbent on those who are seriously suggesting that we are playing the wrong people to step up and explain why, with more than "I just think so." Not that I don't trust you. But, until I am convinced otherwise, I will trust CRN and CNN more.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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