Predicting whether Notre Dame or Alabama will be victorious in the BCS final game on January 7 is a 50-50 chance. There is a certain amount of sheer simplicity in guessing winners, whether it is a local pigskin pick by staffers of The AdvertiserTribune, the upcoming NFL Super Bowl (Go Falcons), or the 2013 MLB World Series (Tigers, PLEASE!).
There's no magical formula to accurately predict the future of sports in general. However, certain assumptions can be made by just assimilating available information relative to trends, case precedents, market conditions, social preferences, and leadership changes. For instance, it's rather probable to assume that former NFL players experiencing classic dementia and the widows of NFL players who died with suspected cognitive dysfunction will receive some type of settlement from the concussion litigation. It also is probable that in another decade, stadiums no longer will accept coins or cash transactions to purchase overpriced beer, lukewarm hotdogs or stale popcorn. Cashless stadiums already have popped up in a few European countries.
Here, then, are a few predictions (with plain English interpretations) about the sports world, which are pretty safe bets for the next year:
Franchise owners in America's big-four sport leagues (MLB, NHL, NBA, & NFL) will continue to be overzealous in perpetuating their capitalistic greed focusing on maximizing profits from an entertainment approach to producing games as opposed to highlighting the inherent value of pure sport competition.
Interpretation: Owners want to make more money than players and will fight for the right to protect their personal interests in the league.
Everyone from the insanely rich professional players annually earning tens of millions of dollars to the lowest ranks of the rich rookie professionals guaranteed at least a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars each year will continue to cry foul from the savage owners perpetuating a need to restore competitive balance and sustainability within a league.
Interpretation: Players want to make more money than owners and will fight for the right to protect their own interests.
Officials in pro sport leagues will continue to authenticate their superiority by demanding higher wages and better profit earning potential while advocating a vastly sophisticated mastery skill set that can't be replicated.
Interpretation: A completely botched call on a last-second Hail Mary touchdown pass during the Seahawks and Packers game lends credibility to the assumption that replacement refs can never be as good as the original.
The NCAA will continue to be an extremely rich and manipulative membership-driven organization with top-down managerial systems that are insufficient in size and scope to foster an equitable approach to compliance as evidenced by the flurry of conference realignment decisions based primarily on economic priorities.
Interpretation: New blood at the top doesn't change the Old Boys Club. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer.
Societal perceptions of professional athletes will be heavily influenced by commercialized images of thug-like behaviors from the minority percentage of players who cheat on their wives, snort their profits, race their cars, carry guns, drink and drive, gamble their paychecks, frequent strip joints, don't pay taxes, or just place themselves above the law.
Interpretation: Not much time will lapse before another celebrity professional athlete like Lance Armstrong does something foolish enough to give reporters the ammo to boost ratings at the expense of sport.
Local sporting goods suppliers will continue to define the American spirit of successful small business ownership by standing up to the corporate discount giants pressuring the demise of independent community stores who exemplify family legacies and friendly neighborhood service
Interpretation: God bless the generosity of small town store owners like Pete Krupp of Viewpoint Graphics who pitched in to help fulfill deadlines during an extremely busy holiday season when the owners of Bair Brothers Sporting Goods were met with a personal tragedy.
Social media will dominate 2013 with enhanced digital and mobile technologies that improve the accessibility and transferability of sport clips, pics, rants, raves, and reviews authored by the very sportsman playing the game or the everyday fan resolute to leave their personal mark in cyber space.
Interpretation: Expect more tweets, Instagrams, snap chats, and yet-to-be-named applications each and every month of the New Year!
The pride of superior accomplishment exemplifying commitment, dedication, and sacrifices by small town athletic heroes will embrace communities and schools fortunate to have the support and resources ensuring an equitable opportunity to qualify and succeed in state championship competition.
Interpretation: It was way cool when Olivia Smith captured the 800 meters state track and field championship and Seneca East won the Division III state cross country championship in 2012! Can't wait to see what local high school teams or athletes make it to the state level in 2013!
So, while speculating on the good, bad, and indifferent for the upcoming year, it should also be recognized that America bid farewell to many respected sport notables in 2012 including Art Modell, Hector "Macho" Camacho, Rick Majerus, Gene Bartow, Junior Seau, the legendary Marvin Miller, Pascual "Wrong-Way" Perez, Alex Karras, and last but not least ? Joe Paterno.
Keep reading and stay tuned next month for more interesting sport stories from our small community in northwest Ohio to around the world.
Bonnie Tiell is the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Tiffin University