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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Anyone notice?

This is one of the polls in today's Sporting News Today:

Notice anything about the poll?

I locked onto the title - "Division I-AA." According to the NCAA the Division I-AA doesn't exist anymore. Rather it is called the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) as opposed to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). These two acronymns are not only new and forced upon the public by the folks at the NCAA, they do not convey anything about the relative status of the schools involved in the two divisions - saying that an FBS team lost to an FCS team isn't nearly as impressive sounding as a Division I-A team lost to a Division I-AA team - but the acronymns themselves are clunky and not very intuitive.

I like the fact that the public is still using Division I-AA, and that a major media outlet has decided to not play ball with the relabeling effort. This is a small but non-trivial example of how the top-down command and control approach to language doesn't generally work.

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