The Heisman Trophy wants to improve its voting procedures.
Bully for the little bronze statue.
If only it was trying to fix the right things.
Earlier this month, the Heisman Trophy Trust sent letters to about four dozen voters saying that it had become aware that they had revealed their ballots before last year's announcement, something that the Heisman asks voters not to do. They even included printouts of said violations.
I know. I got one of the letters.
“The Heisman Trophy Trust is inquiring as to why your vote was disclosed in violation of our clearly disseminated policy for electors, and whether you are able to commit in writing by April 8, 2013 to adhere to the Trust's nondisclosure policy,” the letter states. “The Heisman Trophy Trust ... will take your explanation into consideration when determining the 2013 electorate.”
Sounds like a threat, doesn't it?
I'm assuming that it is. I'm assuming that if I don't pinkie swear to keep my vote secret from now on that I will have it taken away.
It's lunacy that the Heisman has decided to come after a few of us who believe transparency is preferable to secrecy instead of addressing the real issues it has with its voting process.
Let's start with the number of voters.
The Heisman has 870 media members as the major part of its electorate. There's no problem with giving every past winner a vote, but 870 media members? That is way, way too many.
How do we know?
Gonzalo Le Batard has a vote. If that name doesn't ring a bell, that's because he is the father of Miami Herald columnist and ESPN personality Dan Le Batard. Even though the elder Le Batard co-hosts a show with his son on ESPN, you don't have to watch the off-the-cuff, Internet-video-fixated show for long to know that he isn't exactly a full-time member of the sports media.
Unfortunately, chances are good that his name probably wouldn't be the only one at which we'd scoff if we could get our hands on the secret list of Heisman voters.
Reduce the number of voters, and you increase the quality.
That's not the only way the Heisman could better its voting.
Right now, voters have several weeks during which they can submit their ballot. The thing is, voting opens before the regular season is over. And yes, there are voters who cast their ballots before all of the games have been played.
How is that a good thing?
For decades, allowing early votes was a product of having ballots mailed in. The Heisman wanted to build in time to allow the U.S. Postal Service to work, but now, that is a non-factor. Balloting is done via the Internet, so votes are submitted instantaneously.
But still, the Heisman allows early voting and some voters choose to cast their ballots before players have played all of their games.
What if a contender breaks a leg or throws six interceptions or runs for five touchdowns? Shouldn't all of that be considered by voters?
The Heisman shouldn't allow anyone to vote before all of the games are over.
Instead, the Heisman is focusing on trying to keep a handful of voters from revealing their ballot before the selection show. Presumably, it's being done in an effort to maintain the mystery about the eventual winner and build the ratings around the selection show, but it's a misguided theory.
Last year's show was the second-most watched Heisman announcement of all time, and everyone with a clue knew that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was going to win.
Transparency by voters hasn't diminished the buzz around the selection show. Quite the opposite. It has created season-long buzz for the award, but now, the Heisman wants to put the kibosh on it.
That makes no sense.
The Heisman should be encouraging voters to talk about who is going to be on their ballots.
Revealing your ballot isn't always a fun thing to do, by the way. When I wrote a column last year explaining why I gave Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o my first-place vote instead of Manziel, I was besieged via email and on message boards by Aggie fans.
Then, the Cotton Bowl happened, and the bombardment began anew.
Then, Notre Dame got run over in the national championship game and Te'o was caught up in the fake girlfriend story, and you can imagine some of the comments that came my way.
That's part of the gig, though. I shared my opinion on the Heisman, and I welcomed the lively debate about my vote.
The Heisman Trophy Trust should do the same.
Instead, it is ready to take away my vote and that of others who dare talk about who was on their ballots. Even though there are other issues that are actually hurting the validity of the voting process, this is the one the Heisman has chosen to champion.
Hey, Heisman Trust, after receiving your letter and mulling your request, I've made a decision. You can have my vote. I don't want to be part of this anymore.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.