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NCAA Must Address Texas A&M's Actions

No consequence for Aggies would set terrible precedent

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M is supposed to be playing Incarnate Word on Tuesday before a series with Ole Miss that will determine whether Arkansas or the Aggies bring home the SEC West crown. 

However, an improving Cardinal line-up isn't going to get to show Major League scouts its growth throughout the season because of a move by Texas A&M that I can't properly describe out of respect for the teachings of my mother.

Incarnate Word had four big games scattered across its schedule, strategically placed to give the players a chance to see where they stand against elite competition, learn, and then take another crack at seeing how much improvement was made. 

It started with a mid-March trip to Texas where Incarnate Word found itself heavily outmatched in a three-game series. After a month of working on their game, the Cardinals strolled into Waco and nearly pulled off the upset, leading Baylor 7-2 in the bottom of the 7th before an epic comeback by the Bears pulled out the win late.

Three weeks later, the Cardinals traveled to No. 20 TCU, where they carried a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the 9th before the Horned Frogs forced extra innings and came away with the win with a grand slam by David Bishop in the 11th inning.

Couple the improvement by Incarnate Word and a midweek loss by Arkansas to Missouri State, and it became clear to Texas A&M manager Jim Schlossnagle that it was time to cut tail and run. 

Texas A&M hitters talk things out during a potential pitching change during a series at Alabama. The Aggies have drawn national attention for canceling a game against Incarnate World this week because manager Jim Schlossnagle said he didn't want to hurt his team's RPI.

A loss to the Cardinals would severely damage the Aggies' RPI. Fortunately for Schlossnagle, a win would also bring down Texas A&M's RPI, so he had a built-in excuse to duck an in-state team perfectly poised for an upset.

It was a gutless move that shouldn't have been allowed to happen, and it's an embarrassing black eye to the university and the conference. 

SEC baseball might be the only thing on the planet as dominant a SEC football. The idea of a member school running and hiding from a non-conference team for any reason brings shame. 

Yes, there should not be a system in place where beating a team hurts a school's standing for the postseason. That's a problem that needs to be addressed immediately to prevent other cowards from hiding behind RPI as an excuse to avoid potential losses.

Even if you make the argument that Schlossnagle didn't look at the pattern and determine there was a higher than expected risk of a late season loss to Incarnate Word, it doesn't mean other coaches won't use this precedent to bail on teams that might cause them trouble by essentially customizing their schedule while's it's in progress. 

There's a simple fix to this. Adjust RPI where you always get credit for a win, just not as much for weaker teams. 

Then, and I can't believe I have to say this, institute a policy that says teams can only cancel games in the event of an act of God or tragedy that cannot be reasonably scheduled later in the season. 

Schlossnagle selfishly took an opportunity away from the young men at Incarnate Word that might have changed their future while making his own players and the entire sport of college baseball look bad. 

The only fair thing to do is for the committee to evaluate the Aggies as if they lost the game. In essence, by Incarnate Word being willing to play and Texas A&M refusing, they forfeited, and it should be treated as such. 

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If that means a regional won't be coming to College Station, then so be it. Actions have consequences, and this is one that deserves a strong message. 

If the NCAA doesn't have the guts to set a precedent for what happens in a situation like this, then the gates are open and cowards will rule the sport.


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