There has to be some kind of standard for giving out rings, or the whole thing becomes kind of weird.
A national championship? Go crazy. Nobody is arguing the significance of that.
Conference championships? Sure. We're getting into a little murkier ground, however. A NFL team isn't going to give out AFC North division title rings. But for a Big 12 football championship, we can see it. But that's the line. Anything less and you might as well start handing out rings for participation, like certificates at a third-grade spelling bee.
And that's why the sudden trend of divisional championship rings is odd.
Ohio State gave out rings. They didn't play for a conference championship or a bowl game. And North Carolina did the same. Both were on NCAA probation. They gave out the rings for winning a division championship.
Georgia wasn't on probation. It went to the SEC Championship Game and lost. It then landed in the oh-so-prestigious Citrus Bowl. It got a ring.
Georgia pretty much won a half of a conference championship, lost to Alabama in the SEC title game, and it got a ring that looks like it won a Super Bowl. Look at that ring on the top of the page. It's enormous. That's what they got for a season that ended with a bowl win against a reeling Nebraska team that finished 25th in the final AP poll. They didn't exactly beat the 49ers in the Superdome to earn that ring.
And North Carolina won half of a conference championship too, kind of. It finished in a three-way tie for the Coastal Division title. So, one-third of a half of a conference championship. 16.7 percent. The Tar Heels' ring proudly says their record on the side: "8-4."
Eight. And. Four. Here's a ring.
And while it's nice for the players to get rings, you can then say it would be nice for each player to get a ring next year. Beat Purdue in September? Here's a ring. Kick a game-winning field goal? Here's a ring. Pick up that big third and 1 in the first quarter? Here's a ring.
Rings are being given out for going 5-3 in ACC play and winning a third of a mediocre division in an average conference. Nobody will notice if the bar goes lower.