If there's one thing that Benito Mussolini and Kent Brockman both got right, it's that democracy doesn't work.
The actual Soccer Hall of Fame website should have the press release at some point here, but suffice to say that the bar has been lowered. Instead of 75% and the chance of an empty class, the threshold is now 66.7%. Failing that, the Hall will send the voters - the stupid, insensate, teeming mass of mediocrity that led us to this sorrowful fate, but I'll get to that - the list of the top five vote getters, and re-poll. The top vote-getter (or vote-getters, if there's a tie) will then be inducted. Call if the Preki-Fawcett Act of 2008.
We had two problems here, and I don't see how the Hall could have solved them. One is continuing to put men and women in the same voting pool. Which I agree with, I can't emphasize that enough. Right now, women's soccer is based on a single club which calls itself the United States National Team. Until a women's pro league establishes itself enough to consistently produce memorable players, any separate voting for women's players will eventually be forced to induct the entire 1999 team, one player at a time. Call it the Tracy Ducar Event Horizon.
The other problem is the paucity of the voting pool. Let's compare with baseball for a minute. The Base-Ball Writers Association of America consists of around 750 vapid, mouth-breathing Red Sox fanboys. Er, I mean, 750 professional writers whose job is to cover one sport in two "leagues." The Oneonta voting pool is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Er, I mean, 120 or so fairly randomly assorted folks from real live writers to comedy blog bottom-feeders *cough*. Those folks cover all kinds of sports, all over the world, even the soccer specialists. The dumbass who thinks that Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame can argue with the dumbass who thinks Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame using a common frame of reference. The indoor soccer partisan trying to sell Steve Zungul to a bitter Joy Fawcett supporter is speaking a different language.
In theory, the Hall would pick those who transcend these cliques, leaving only the very, very best. But, then we have an empty class this year and next.
In theory, we expand the franchise...but to whom? Some would say they're already scraping the bottom of the barrel *cough*. More to the point, it's not like more writers are being hired. The baseball model that links "expert" with "professional" is already completely broken. So the Soccer Hall would have to come up with voting criteria that's a lot closer to fan All-Star balloting than an academy of wise conferring immortality.
Or, the Hall could pick a person - for want of a better term, call him or her a Grand High Inquisitor - and provide a list of voters and some garden shears. Won't vote for women? Gone. Will only vote for women? Gone. Won't vote for outdoor players? Gone. Won't vote for foreign players? Gone. In the words of Gandhi, let the streets run red with the blood, brains and intestines of the infidel.
Who, me? Why, no, I couldn't - oh, all right, I'll do it. I'll lead as two kings.