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Top 10: Ways to make sports better in 2016

1. MLS should have a league-wide fan fest

UFC has had massive success with their annual fan fest in Las Vegas. Fans of the sport can go out, rub some elbows with other fans, participate in fund games and contests, get autographs, buy memorabilia and watch panel discussions featuring coaches and players of teams of the MLS. They could even do a duel fan fest with NWSL to capitalize on the appeal of the women’s national team. MLS, like UFC, is still trying to break into the mainstream and giving fans a central location to share their fandom would be something to heighten the appeal.

2. Allow 30 seconds of unpenalized touchdown celebrations

As they say, the NFL has turned into the “No Fun League” because every time a player has a little bit of fun while they are playing a game they get a penalty. Still, touchdown celebrations can get out of hand but they are fun. Seriously, Cam Newton is getting scrutinized for dancing around a little bit. Guys get flagged when too many guys are celebrating at one time. Let them have fun and let the fans enjoy it for a few seconds. Remember in 2005 when Chad Johnson and Steve Smith were competing every week to have the best celebration? Wow, that was a decade ago…

3. Conference challenges in college football

Everybody loves the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in college basketball, but there is nothing like that in college football. With the playoff system allowing a team to have a loss but also making strength of schedule an important factor we should see a conference challenge happen in football. Imagine the SEC going against the Big Ten on the gridiron to determine supremacy. Or the ACC and the Pac 12 or Big 12 going against each other to determine which conference is the best. Who knows, it could also help be a tie-breaker when determining which of the power five conference champions are going to be out of the four-team playoff.

4. Get rid of having to sign off on scorecards

It made sense in the 1930s to require a professional golfer to sign off on a scorecard to make it official but in today’s day and age where we have scores being posted on the internet before the golfer even puts his club away, it is not very necessary. Every year we hear a crazy story about how a golfer was either disqualified for signing off on the wrong total because after four-straight days of golf a guy forgets to add a stroke to his card. Or we hear about a guy having a stroke added and even missing cuts because they added extra stroke to their total. But because they signed it, there is no way to change it.

5. Seed the playoffs based on overall record

People get mad about teams with losing records getting into the playoffs but winning a division should mean something, but it should not mean everything. Whether it is the NFL, MLB, the NBA or what ever the sport is, it should be seeded by record. Last year we saw the Spurs have to play a tougher team in the first round because they did not win their division, but had a better record than a division winner. The Seahawks and Panthers have both hosted playoff games and won on their home turf because the team that actually won in the regular season was rewarded less. And in the postseason with baseball the teams with the second and third best records had to play in the one-game do-or-die wild card game while teams with worse records were able to comfortably sit home and prepare for best of five series. Winning a division should be rewarded but winning more games should be rewarded even more.

6. No timeouts after timeouts

How many times have you been in agony watching the final minutes of a basketball game because it’s foul, foul, timeout, timeout, foul, timeout, timeout. The final few minutes of the game can take as long as the entire first half and it is painful as a fan. There is nothing you can do about the fouling, but the timeouts gets crazy. There can be a media timeout, then a coach calls a timeout and then the other team calls a time out. Just cut it out. One time out and then the teams have to play before another timeout in called.

7. Create more boxing tournaments

Boxing has it’s niche audience but every now and then it can get all eyes on it — Mayweather-Pacquiao proved that. While Soccer is a highly popular sports around the world it is a niche sport in American but when the World Cup happens, it takes over everything. Boxing should look at that phenomenon. Granted, there is minimal help of nationalism, but putting eight of the best fighters from each division into a tournament every four or five years would be a great way to build interest in the sport and to create stars. Imagine a tournament of welterweights in which we can definitively learn who is the best among Manny Pacquiao, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Tim Bradley, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Or what heavyweight stands tall among Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin, Deontary Wilder, Kubrat Pulev, Luis Ortiz, Vyacheslav Glazkov, Steve Cunningham and Anthony Joshua. With eight fighters that is three rounds and three fights a year. That is very easy and realistic.

8. Allow one extra overtime substitute

Soccer is a long game with minimal stoppages so at the end of the regular 90 minute period guys are regularly gassed, barely able to complete runs to get on the end of long balls up the field or through balls sent up the middle of the defense. But because teams are limited to only three substitutes per game managers often save one in case extra time happens. Or, they use their substitutes and when extra time does happen they just have worn out legs on the field. Adding one more substitute that only become available if the game goes into extra time would make for a better product in the most crucial period of a close game.

9. Put international players in the MLB draft

It’s a tough thing to say you are going to dictate just how a professional athlete from another country is going to enter into the league but every player should come in the same way. The NBA has done a great job managing their international talent, putting them in the NBA draft regardless of how many seasons they have already played overseas. It would also make the draft really mean something and give hope to struggling teams to make big turnaround because they added a superstar. Obviously there should be provisions that a team must be willing to pay a certain amount of money to get a certain player and if the team does not offer at least that then they lose the draft rights to the guy, but every single year we see these bad teams simply get out-bid for top international players and it just keeps the rich getting richer while the poor take nearly a decade to rebuild.

10. Require players sign an agent to be eligible for the draft

This is another tough thing because it can cost a young kid an education or millions of dollars if they are not drafted where they are expected to go and they are no longer eligible to play in college, but how many times have we seen a team, especially in baseball, drafted early but choose to go to college instead and now that team has wasted a pick and is left with nothing. It protects the teams from being used and takes bargaining power away from young kids, but at the same time it will force young prospective players to really take a deep look at whether they want to go to college or whether they want to play professionally because there is no turning back once they choose to go pro.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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