Why Stanford star Bryce Love's absence from Pac-12 Media Day sets a dangerous precedent
Love did make an appearance -- in spirit -- just not in physical form
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Bryce Love wanted to be here. He really did.
The nut balls outside on Hollywood Boulevard during Pac-12 Media Day wouldn't have fazed him. The media's nutty questions inside the Loew's Hollywood Hotel may have, but that's not the point.
The Stanford superstar tailback was here in spirit only. That is if you count a 1984-ish Big Brother projection on a ballroom video board; Love joined the media day via Skype.
Some Love, it turned out, was better than none. Still, there was a hole in the college football universe when the Pac-12's best player -- and perhaps nation's best as well -- was a no show at media day.
Put it this way: Try to envision Tim Tebow in his heyday skipping SEC Media Days of because, well, school. Right or wrong, that wouldn't have happened. The need to better himself, the conference and his school would have outstripped another summer school lecture.
That's essentially what kept Love back in Palo Alto.
"Me, personally, I really wanted to be there to represent the university," Love said. "But I decided I just wasn't able to make it happen this year. Based on other commitments, trying to graduate in December required me to take more classes over the summer."
In one sense, you want to scream: Stanford doesn't have a private jet it can put Love on for an afternoon to promote himself, the school and the conference?!
If this had happened in the SEC, Paul Finebaum would have spontaneously combusted on the set. Here at the corner of Hollywood and Highland, there are larger issues.
Around the corner from the Loew's last night, they stopped traffic to shoot a new Quentin Tarantino movie.
In another sense, Love is example of that amateur ideal we all want to believe in. We want players to be monsters on Saturday and bookworms the rest of the week.
Stanford is that place that walks the academic walk. Love is majoring in human biology with an interest in pediatrics and stem-cell research.
In January, the Heisman Trophy runner-up decided to come back for his senior season. What's not to like?
Some media who showed up here Wednesday didn't know that the conference's marquee player wouldn't be here.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott had to know on some level this was a bad look -- his league's best player not showing for the conference's football rollout.
"We tried," Scott said. "We talked to him, but this was a serious commitment he felt he had to [make]. It's really hard to criticize that, but that's what we're preaching all the time, giving these kids a chance to get an education."
The public probably doesn't care if Love was here or not. The kid is going to win the Heisman by running for 2,000 yards again and leading the Cardinal to a 10-win season -- not necessarily by showing up in person to a media day.
But his absence does set a dangerous precedent. This is going to give every star player an excuse to Skype in.
OK, so you're already countering: Aren't we a virtual society already? Yes … and no.
The league decided to shoehorn its event into one day. Twelve coaches and selected players made their way through the typical media car wash.
MVPs of day: Washington's Chris Petersen and Arizona State's Herm Edwards. Chip Kelly, now at UCLA, seemed totally at home in his first Pac-12 Media Day in six years.
But there is still something to be said for interpersonal interaction. We have a certain chief executive who chooses to govern by Twitter.
Let's just say Stanford forfeited a bit of a leverage to protest if Love doesn't win the Heisman. Five different times Cardinal players have finished second in Heisman voting since 2009.
But at Stanford, they don't necessarily chase trophies. That's fine. too.
It's just that we thought we knew ya, Bryce. We wish we knew more.
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