Oh Mike, I hope you have an entire volume of Mother Goose at your disposal because tanking is here to stay. Tanking is an institution. Every sport in America has their share of teams who will do every dastardly deed they can to make their team the worst they can be in hopes of adding a franchise altering star to their ranks. Boston did it in 1997 in an unsuccessful attempt to get Tim Duncan. The Washington Nationals took the plunge twice to acquire the services of both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. My beloved Colts even went on the "Suck For Luck" campaign trail two years ago to get the prized Stanford quarterback. This is nothing new and it will NEVER change.
Why won't it ever change? It will never change because our major sporting leagues in America make sure that being bad isn't always a bad thing. Overseas leagues have relegation as a deterrent to a team being noncompetitive. You finish at the bottom of the standings and you lose more than pride. You lose out on substantial money and prestige. If you can't handle your finances, you go into administration and are docked wins, points, or postseason opportunities. In American sports, the last placed teams are given the chance to get the best talent from college. If they get in a fiscal bind, the league buys them while waiting for new owners or relocates them. So why is Coach K is appalled that an AMERICAN team would stoop so low as to intentionally lose games? Mike, what repercussions do they face for their crimes?
An angry fanbase? Not really, I am sure Jazz and Kings fans are salivating at the thought of getting their Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, or Marcus Smart jerseys. Teams at the bottom of the NFL and MLB standings know they'll have the cream of the amateur crop at the end of their seasons. Not even the lottery systems in the NBA and NHL can act as a scarecrow to NBA GMs roaming the fields of atrocity. They can sell the promise of the next big star to their fans and unless they have a horrible track record of good will in this regard (cough***Jets***cough) being bad doesn't kill your bottom line.
The threat of a lower league or less revenue sharing? Relegation will never happen in the United States as the infrastructure is just not there. I'm sure if the Houston Astros faced the possibility to end up like English soccer team Portsmouth, who've been relegated three times in five years, they'd field a lineup that didn't resemble one in Double A. As for the money, teams on the lower end of the payroll scale in the States are afforded the same piece of the pie as the big dogs. Jacksonville can be as abysmal they please because they know full well that in 2014 they'll have the same hundred million dollar relief drop falling on their heads.
As long as there are phenoms to be had and no real downside to being horrible, tanking will continue to happen. Coach Krzyzewski (thank you copy/paste), the quicker you come to grips with this staple of American sports the better. I mean, you've been through this before.
Trevor Utley hopes the Knicks swallow their pride and tank, tank, tank. He has no shame.
Image Credit: Coach K (thekevinburkeproject.com)