Geno Auriemma couldn’t select UConn to win the Big East like every other coach in the league did. Same for Tara VanDerveer and Stanford in the Pac-10.
OK, this is NOT something I get upset about or anything. It’s just that every year before the start of the hoops season, I remember that it kind of annoys me.
When coaches do their preseason ballots to make predictions about their league _ how they think teams are going to finish and who the top player and freshman of the year etc. are going to be _ it seems to be standard procedure that they are not allowed to vote for their own team or their players.
But why not?
I can understand regulations such as not being allowed to vote for your own player when it comes to giving out “real” awards at the end of the season. In that case, the thought is that coaches might be too biased by how much they personally like their own player or by how it might be beneficial to their program to have an award winner. It’s not really because the coaches wouldn’t try to be unbiased. It’s just hard to be completely neutral about something in which you may have a personal/professional stake.
But the preseason predictions are just that: predictions. They are NOT actual awards. There is no plaque that goes with being picked to win your conference or being projected as your league’s top player. In fact, how many times (I’d guess upward of 5 billion, although maybe I’m exaggerating) have I heard a coach say, “Well, I don’t put much stock in predictions … it’s just on paper. They don’t mean anything.”
Exactly. They truly don’t mean anything. Zippo. Zilch. Nada. The reason these preseason predictions are done is just to increase publicity for the upcoming season by informing fans what the coaches expect. So why put any restrictions on the coaches in voting for what they think will happen? And is it really logical that coaches can’t put their team first in the league but can put it in any other slot?
Anyway, we sometimes get these goofball press releases from leagues that say, “In a near-unanimous vote, Team X was picked to win the Blahblah Conference.” I see these and go, “Arrrrrrrrrgh! This is dumb! It really IS unanimous. You just didn’t allow Team X’s coach to vote the same as everyone else!”
But … I admit that there might be another aspect to this. Could it be that coaches _ superstitious as they are _ do not actually want to be allowed to vote for their own team in a preseason poll? Do they fear they might be jinxing themselves by picking their own team?
And might they also not want to be allowed to vote for their own player for a preseason honor, in the event that they may have more than one player who is deserving? That way they wouldn’t have to “pick” one of their players over another.
I suppose both of those things are possible. But tell you what. If that’s really the case – and I don’t know that it is _ then it shouldn’t be worded the way almost all leagues do: “Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams and players.”
Instead, it should be, “Coaches are protected from having to vote for their own teams and players.”