On Tuesday, the National Football Foundation welcome 14 new former players to the College Football Hall of Fame. Leading the class was 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, who, when he left the college game, held 59 NCAA records, including most passing yards and most passing touchdowns. If there was anyone worthy of induction into South Bend, Ty Detmer would be near the top of that list.
One name was glaringly absent when the class was announced though. It was a player who went 33-3 as a starter and won two national championships. It was a player who was named MVP of what ended up being the national championship game for three straight years. It was a player who was named the back-up quarterback of the all-century team by Sports Illustrated and the player who led the team which many have thought of as the greatest college football team of all-time in the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers. That player was Tommie Frazier.
ESPN says that Frazier was not even eligible for induction this year because of a rule that states no school can have a player inducted in consecutive years (Note: Offensive guard Will Shields was inducted from Nebraska last year). However, this rule shows up nowhere on the National Football Foundation's website, and, if it actually does exist, is either very new or has been disregarded in the past as USC had players inducted in six consecutive years in the early 2000s.
Whether the Worldwide Leader doesn't employ a fact-checker or the NFF's rulebook isn't transparent enough, it doesn't matter. After eight years of eligibility, a player like Tommie Frazier should be in the Hall of Fame.
Since 2005, the first year of Frazier eligibility, 19 different college quarterbacks were inducted into the Hall of Fame. They include some of the great college quarterbacks like Doug Flutie, Troy Aikman and Charlie Ward, but also D-III and NAIA signal-callers like Jim Ballard and Kirk Baumgartner. It even includes former Minnesota quarterback Sandy Stephens who had to wait until the last year of his 50 years of eligibility to be inducted in 2011. Out of those 19 quarterbacks, only four won D-I national championships.
I don't mean to make this whole story about Frazier. Former Buckeye Orlando Pace was also left out of the Hall while Johnathan Ogden from UCLA, who played two years before Pace, was inducted. Pace is the only two-time winner of the Lombardi trophy, an Outland Trophy winner and considered by many to be the best offensive lineman in the history of college football. While Ogden had a great college career, winning an Outland and being named Lineman of the Year in 1995, he did not come near Pace's excellence in the college game.
It's a true shame that Frazier and Pace were snubbed this year. It is an even bigger shame that, as CBS's Dennis Dodd pointed out, a great like Joe Montana will never be eligible for induction because he was never named a first-team all-American during his playing days which is requirement number one in the nomination process.
Whether it be the transparency or sensibility of the rules or the same of the selection process, something needs to change at the headquarters of the National Football Foundation. If not, the Hall will face the same scrutiny that athletic directors and conference commissioners are facing now when it comes to realignment and the postseason. Hell, they might already be there. Ban the College Football Hall of Fame before it's too late.
For more insight on the subject, make sure to take a look at friend of BSD Adam Jacobi's take on Bleacher Report.
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