BassFan.com published an opinion piece by some dude named Steve Chaconas who uses the Nate Wellman scandal as a pretext to make the suggestion that the Bassmaster Classic should be an Elite Series Angler only tournament.
Here is his thesis in a nutshell:
But an even stronger argument that the Bassmaster trail is off track remains. The case is made for only Elite Series anglers to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Allowing anglers to qualify for the sport's biggest championship from lower-level competitions only opens the door for desperation and dishonesty.
No winners of the Opens, no collegiate champion, no Federation Nation anglers, no Bassmaster Weekend Series champion. Only Elite Series anglers should be in the “Big Game."
In my opinion this is nothing but crazy talk. I don't know about the collegiate champions, winners of the Opens, and Bassmaster Weekend Series champion, but if B.A.S.S. were to take the Federation Nation anglers out of the Classic than I as a fan would be done with the Classic. No blogging about it. No caring about it. This is something I have already done with the sport of professional baseball and hockey.
As far as I'm concerned it's the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society with it's Federations that built the foundation of the sport of bass fishing and the Bassmaster Classic so it could grow into what it has become today. Cutting out the grassroots tradition of participation in the Bassmaster Classic would be a monumental mistake. I highly doubt the new owners of B.A.S.S. would even entertain the idea and Elite Series Pro's would be cutting off their nose to spite their face to suggest such a thing. However K-Pink on Facebook seems to endorse the idea. I think less of Kevin Short now than I already did and he already wasn't one of my favorite pro's to begin with because he has put his foot in his mouth in the past.
As for the Chaconas contention that "Allowing anglers to qualify for the sport's biggest championship from lower-level competitions only opens the door for desperation and dishonesty." I think the desperation part is in the equation if it is Elite Series Pro's only. There certainly have been a fair share of unfortunate instances of lack of sportsmanship in the Elite Series over the years.
The only area where I think he has a point is where it comes to dishonesty. The more people you exclude and the more you put that smaller group under the microscope the less likely you are to have people try and cut corners because they simply wouldn't be able to get away with it. But I don't think the trade off is worth sacrificing something that makes this sport go round. The Bassmater trail is not "off track"; However, implementing Steve Chaconas ideas would do just that.