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Curtain of Distraction: Con

T. Opinion

Why should a mediocre team hide behind a curtain to get ahead in the competition?

The answer is: they shouldn’t.

Arizona State’s college basketball team, the Sun Devils, initiated the Curtain of Distraction in the 2013-14 season. The sole purpose of the Curtain is to distract the opposing teams while they shoot free throws in the second half of the game.

Statistics have shown that more free throws are made during the last half of game. Free throws can either help determine if you are victorious or if you leave with your heads hanging low.

In February 2015, ASU played against rival team, the Arizona Wildcats, which was the sixth-ranked team in college basketball. ASU won by the skin of their teeth, and unfortunately, all thanks to the Curtain of Distraction.

ASU didn’t deserve to win because they didn’t play as well as the Wildcats did. Arizona lost by three points. If the ridiculous Curtain of Distraction wasn’t there, then they would’ve won, because they’re the better team and deserved the victory.

ASU fans unveil curtain of distraction in their game against UCLA in February. Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
ASU fans unveil curtain of distraction in their game against UCLA in February. Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Arizona Wildcats missed four free throws that game due to the shirtless male students twerking in animal masks that were revealed by the Curtain.

The only thing the Curtain does is give the ASU student body more school spirit, but at what cost? ASU merely found a loophole in the NCAA rule book that allows them to slither their way up the totem pole regardless of talent or skill. This just shows students and fans, that you can get what you want by finding a legal way to cheat, instead of getting ahead because you worked hard for it.

There is an organization at Harvard University called the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC), which uses quantitative analysis in the wonderful world of sports. At the beginning of 2015, they decided to crunch the numbers and see how successful the Curtain of Distraction really is. So after doing the math, the HSAC found that the Curtain enables approximately 1.41 points per game.

Their report said that “teams shoot 68.6 percent in the 1st half and 60.6 percent in the 2nd half on free throws, while there is not a detectable difference in [free throw] percent between the 1st and 2nd half nationally.”

The effectiveness of this ploy is completely beside the point. Even a monkey can win a game if they have a cheat behind their back.

The NCAA shouldn’t condone the use of the Curtain of Distraction because it is unfair to those players and teams that work their asses off to become the best they can be, while others use tasteless tactics to squeeze out an undeserved win. Not only is the Curtain cheating in my book, it is also completely off the charts for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It is foolish to use absurd and obscene stunts to win a basketball game instead of just working harder to perform better.


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Curtain of Distraction: Con