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Some people say the National Labor Relations Board's decision to let the Northwestern football team organize a union will end college sports as we know it. I hope they're right. Many have rightly pointed out the ways in which universities exploit their athletes, making billions of dollars on the backs of young people who have few options and fewer rights.  An even more fundamental problem, however, is the relative value our country places on athletic prowess vs. the intellectual and technical skills that colleges are supposed to have as their primary mission.  Many of the best learning institutions in our country have let a secondary value, athletics, overtake what should be their primary mission, training students intellectually to succeed in an incredibly complex and competitive world, for which most students, including both those on the field, and those in the stands, will be woefully unprepared. Sports and athletics can be a source of joy and enrichment for many people, including those who are not particularly athletically talented. But most individuals, as well as our country as a whole, would be significantly better off if they spent less time playing and watching sports, and more time reading books or learning to code.

While we take it for granted that colleges and sports go together naturally, in most of the rest of the world, there is no connection between universities and sports--universities are to teach people and prepare them for careers.  People who want to do sports can join clubs or try out for professional teams. The advantage of this separation between sports and academics is that it's less likely that people will get confused about the true purpose of a college, and colleges can maintain a sense of intellectual integrity that our own universities are clearly lacking.

Many have pointed out, on these boards and in other places, the great opportunities that athletics give people who might not otherwise go to college by means of scholarships and recruiting. I would argue that the admission of students to colleges for primarily athletic reasons is a deal with the devil. Wouldn't colleges be sending a better message, one that might inspire students to work harder in their classes, by saying, "You can't get into college just because you can run fast. The way you get into college is through hours of practice, not at throwing a ball, but at solving algebra problems and writing essays"? How many thousands of hours do our young people spend in the hopes of getting athletic scholarships? And what percentage of those people would be better off forgetting about that elusive lottery ticket that is athletic stardom and focusing their efforts at improving their ability to handle the tough intellectual work that is crucial to well-functioning democracy and a thriving economy? 90%, at a minimum.

Truthfully, playing sports, at least career-wise, is a dead-end for most people. And the amount of emotional energy we focus on sports, I would argue, is a factor in the ignorance and intellectual disengagement that runs rampant in our country.  Marx thought that religion is the opiate of the masses, but sports have become a religion for many people in our country, and to similar effect.

So, I hope the Northwestern decision does end college sports as we know it. I hope allowing athletes to organize makes college sports unprofitable, so that colleges decide whether to include sports based not upon how much money it brings in, but upon whether the sport is good for students' overall educational goals.

I imagine a future in which a lot of students play sports a few hours a week for fun, and a few play against teams from other schools, also mainly for fun. People who are potential professional athletes can join minor-league teams that pay them and give them medical insurance, and when the majority of them realize that they're not good enough to play professionally, they'll go back to college and dedicate all of their energies to curing cancer or developing more efficient solar power or writing novels and make computer programs that inspire others, and maybe pick up a ball and throw it around with their friends to blow off steam in between Calculus III and Microbiology.

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Comment Preferences

  •  but then students will (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, spacecadet1, Jim Beard

    need to find anew excuse to get drunk on a Saturday morning.

  •  Probably won't... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    ...but Northwestern President Morton Shapiro will be clutching his pearls and landing on his fainting couch in the meantime.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 11:57:06 AM PDT

  •  As much I applaud the NLRB decision (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder if will be an effective at battling the root of all evil. If it insures quality educations and fairness for all student athletes then I'm all for it. If it raises the weekly stipend for laundry to $10k, then that's a totally different matter.

    The USA and the rest of the world face a dangerous enemy that not only threatens our freedom but our very existence. This enemy is deeply embedded within society and is actively working towards our annihilation. That enemy is ignorance.

    by Ex Con on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 12:06:26 PM PDT

  •  College sports are not going anywhere. (0+ / 0-)

    People like them.  Well, at least some of them.

  •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

    Athletic scholarships help many men and women get educations without leaving school with a huge debt to burden them.

    Most athletes do very well in academics....
    Female athletes do very well in graduation rates.

    Is the system perfect? No.

    Why not shut down movie theatres also?  
    And all entertainment?

    Why? Because the entertainment industry, which included pro and college sports, movies, music..ect....are good for our economy.
    The economic impact on a typical Big Ten town of a football Saturday is big, and the helps people retain employment.

    This exploitation of college athletes is overblown.
    What 85 football players do is fund  scholarships for the other 500 athletes on campus...most whom will graduate and become productive citizens.

    Out beyond the east coast and the ivory towers of the Ivy league,  people care about college sports.
    Pushing to take it away thru a union will only accent the disconnect between the elites, and the rest of the country, where the voters often live.

    I get it...it is an easy rim shot at the ''illiterates'' out beyond the beltway....but in that real world, it simply alienates voters.  It is not the evil that some make it out to be.

    I personally know several football players who have gone to medical school and are highly regarded in their fields.

    NW is the worst example to attack the system as exploitive...now maybe Bama or SEC schools, where they do push thru kids who should not be in college, but NW does not do that.

    •  Wow... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim Beard, blueoasis
      Out beyond the east coast and the ivory towers of the Ivy league,  people care about college sports.
      Pushing to take it away thru a union will only accent the disconnect between the elites, and the rest of the country, where the voters often live.
      That's some mighty fine "Real America"ism there, Ms. Palin.
      •  Go ahead (0+ / 0-)

        and sneer at us Midwesterners( who happen to be blue states) but there is a reason that the polls say that 75% of americans reject the notion of paying college football players.

        I know, screw those 75% of voters because they are just Palin-ites....right.

    •  I don't mind entertainment . . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, Jim Beard, blueoasis

      But if colleges reserved a large number of admissions spaces for actors, and scoured the country for the best actors and promised them stardom, then it would, like college sports, distort the primary purpose of the university.
      Sports brings in money, but that's not really a reason that educational institutions should be involved in them.  I'm not really interested in how this "plays" to middle America, nor do I think I'm being a snob about it.  Middle America can watch all the sports it wants, I don't really care, but there should be some countervailing force that reminds people that sports are primarily for fun, and if your personality is dominated by them, and ignores intellectual pursuits because sports are all you live for, than you probably don't have a very balanced personality. The nation that is obsessed with sports is probably doomed to intellectual mediocrity. If the elite colleges of this country are not willing to point out that sports should not be as important as academics, then who will? It's no wonder than we continue to elect the same cadre of idiots who think evolution comes straight from the pit of hell, because we're too busy filling out our brackets to learn enough to tell the difference between  well-reasoned arguments and the basest of prejudices.

      •  Umm, no. (0+ / 0-)
        The nation that is obsessed with sports is probably doomed to intellectual mediocrity.
        Tell that to the football-mad people of the UK, France, and Germany (to name but a few), or the hockey fanatics of Canada, or the baseball aficionados of Japan.

        Not only is your implication that there is some kind of inverse proportional relationship between one's penchant for intellectual pursuits and one's interest in sports extraordinarily elitist and insulting, but it's also completely lacking in any semblance of evidence. Can you provide such evidence?

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 01:22:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My argument is not (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, Jim Beard, blueoasis

          that we, or any country, should do away with sports, only that we should achieve a healthier balance.  If you're satisfied with the level of intellectual discourse among Americans, with our scientific and political literacy, than it makes sense that you'd be perfectly happy having the institutions who primary job is supposed to be to encourage intellectual growth dedicate a large percentage of its energy towards determining the best way to throw a ball around.  If it's elitist to suggest that there may be a better balance than the one we currently have, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.

          •  You need to show evidence. (0+ / 0-)
            If you're satisfied with the level of intellectual discourse among Americans, with our scientific and political literacy, than it makes sense that you'd be perfectly happy having the institutions who primary job is supposed to be to encourage intellectual growth dedicate a large percentage of its energy towards determining the best way to throw a ball around.
            Please present evidence that "a large percentage" of American universities' energy are being dedicated to intercollegiate sports.

            Acceptable evidence could include such things as:
            —evidence that the primary role of "a large percentage" of faculty, staff, or administrators at American universities is to service the intercollegiate athletic departments;
            —evidence that "a large percentage" of university budgets are going to the intercollegiate athletic departments;
            —evidence that "a large percentage" of on-campus conversation revolves around intercollegiate athletics; or
            —evidence that "a large percentage" of on-campus activities are either wholly or mostly centered on intercollegiate athletics.

            Since the whole of your argument is that American universities are wholly or mostly responsible for the decline that you suggest has occurred in American intellectual life, and that the primary reason for American universities' contribution to that decline is the existence of college sports, you've got a pretty high evidentiary burden to meet.

            That burden not only includes providing evidence to support your claim about "a large percentage" of the "energy" at American universities above, but also to provide evidence of the intellectual decline that you stipulate is happening, evidence that it is a lack of intellectual leadership on the part of American universities that is causing said decline, evidence that rules out any other possible cause for said decline, and evidence that rules out any other possible cause for American universities' changed role in American intellectual life.

            In short, for someone who claims to value reason and intellectual discussion, your argument here is sorely lacking in the very things that make intellectual discussion of public affairs issues as valuable as it is—the presence of evidence that turns such discussions from pointless esoteric discussions about abstract philosophy into pragmatic discussions about the reality of our country's present situation.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 02:27:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you professor, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis, Jim Beard

              for pointing out my intellectual shortcomings. I'm expressing an opinion, which I believe is allowed in a public forum, not writing a term paper.  If you don't agree with me, fine. My point is to express a point of view, not to convince someone who's default position is hostility.  As evidence that some people take themselves way too seriously I present . . .you.

              •  You can have an opinion on college sports... (0+ / 0-)

                ...but to claim that universities spend a large percentage of their effort on athletics is less of a point of view and more of a factual claim, which can be backed up or refuted by actual numbers.

                Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

                by Caj on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 08:05:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  So are we having a rational discussion... (0+ / 0-)

                ...or just a speculation party?

                In rational discussions—the kind that you seem to want more of in our society—calling something an "opinion" does not exempt one from the requirement to support that opinion with evidence and reason sufficient to demonstrate their claim.

                This is particularly the case when that opinion is built on claims of fact, as yours is. Whether or not "a large percentage" of the energy of American universities is devoted to sports is not a matter of opinion; either such a percentage is devoted, or it is not. Either that claim is true, or it is false. It is a rational, knowable thing, and I have provided several criteria by which we might be able to determine its veracity.

                If you truly want more rational discourse and intellectual discussion in our society, as you claim, then I believe it is incumbent upon you to provide an example. Pointless speculation and baseless opinion-making is the stuff of the talking heads on television, not the stuff of intellectual discussion. Please support your claims.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 08:37:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  short memory? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ichibon, Jim Beard, blueoasis

              Jerry Sandusky was given license to do horror to young children, all in the name of big intercollegiate sports and the vast sums of money sports brings that particular university.

              "The will must be stronger than the skill." M. Ali

              by awhitestl on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:11:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The plural of anecdote is not data. (0+ / 0-)

                I do not deny that at some universities, the desire to "protect" the college sports programs can overwhelm other concerns, including the punishment of criminal conduct. That's the case not only for Jerry Sandusky and Penn State, but also for the many college athletes who get away with rape because the university covers it up or pressures the survivor into silence.

                However, that alone is not support of the claim that "a large percentage" of the energy of a university is devoted to sports.

                Even at Penn State, while the leadership of the university and the athletics program were shamefully involved in covering up Sandusky's crimes, the vast majority of students and faculty at the university had absolutely no knowledge of this and absolutely nothing to do with the cover-up.

                The vast majority of the activity occurring at Penn State University during the cover-up of Sandusky's crimes was not focused on the sports program or on covering up those crimes; faculty continued to research, publish, teach, and try for tenure, graduate students continued to research and write dissertations and theses, undergraduate students continued to do homework, take exams, write term papers, and drink themselves stupid.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 08:43:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Many of the cost of college athletics (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis

              are hidden in separate fees. I have seen them in University budgets.

    •  I disagree with everything you said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      but don't have the time to respond at this time.
      I went to school with college athletes also and they are USED to profit the University by attracting people like you. They are also paying for all the training for the benefit of ESPN and the Pro Team owners who also demand freebies of new stadiums.

      You would be surprised how many people who do NOT care for College sports and they are the ones fed up with paying those huge salaries to football coaches. You are caught up in the advertising hype about all the people who like it.

      I see a full football stadium with some empty seats on game nights the I calculate the population of that town plus surrounding area. attendance id less than 1%  of the population.

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
        I went to school with college athletes also and they are USED to profit the University by attracting people like you.

        ...

        You would be surprised how many people who do NOT care for College sports and they are the ones fed up with paying those huge salaries to football coaches.

        I don't see how those two statements can be reconciled.  The university is making a profit from the athletic program, then how am I subsidizing the coaches' salaries?  If the rest of us have to pay extra to cover the coaches' salaries, then how is the university profiting off the athletic program?

        Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

        by Caj on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 12:11:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  More likely, Universities will find the money (0+ / 0-)

    They'll just pay the athletes.  Everybody but the NCAA wants to do that anyway.  And, the Power Conferences are fine with paying.  It's only the second and third tier universities, without 100,000 seat stadiums and Big Ten/SEC TV contracts, that are against it.

    There is simply too much TV money in this to get out of it.  And, what real leverage do the athletes have?  Yes, they can join a union after they've signed a contract (like pro football players), and collectively bargain for working conditions.  They might get health care and a little better stipend.  Everybody at every university (even non-athletes) gets a little different deal based on aid and scholarships, which is like a contract.  But, remember, before the University admits them, they have NO leverage at all.  If you want the scholarship (i.e. the chance to audition for the NFL at Alabama or Texas or Florida State, you'll accept the deal.

    There are a few 5-star players every year who will probably be able to get a little bit better number, but that is a far more rare exception than the norm.  Afterall, even the football factories can only take 25 scholarship football players every year.

    •  The Health Care situation is just one key concern. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim Beard, blueoasis

      Most people hold high the personal value of personal health and intramural, interscholastic, travel team leagues, minor and major sports all appeal to us in part because we want personal health which we hope athletes typify. But the Health Care situation athletes truly experience is just one key concern among many.

      Will NCAA, Northwestern University and others oppose or support issues like International Bill of Human Rights (IBHR)? It has the force of international law since 1976 and the situation of athletes who are entitled to enjoy its benefits could be a tide that lifts us all.

      IBHR is a composite of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), The Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).  In 1992 the United States ratified the ICCPR and has signed (1977) but not ratified the ICESCR.

      UDHR Article 23 in part says: "Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself (and herself) and his (or her) family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection." Article 23 also states, "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his (or her) interests." The UDHR is explicitly adopted for the purpose of defining the meaning of the words "fundamental freedoms" and "human rights" appearing in the United Nations Charter, that binds all member states. United States was the primary moving force to draft and in 1948 to adopt in United Nations General Assembly this global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. Is NCAA going to prevail in assertion that athletes do not work?

      By the 1992 U.S. ratification of ICCPR (a treaty) the U.S. holds it a "supreme law of the land" under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee which reviews regular reports of States parties on how the rights are being implemented. ICCPR Article 22 is clear: everyone has the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of one's interests. The only restrictions on the right are those which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Under the ICCPR, any restrictions on trade unions must be necessary to a democratic society. Will NCAA propose that to deny athletes the ability to organize themselves in a labor union is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others? Is that the NCAA position?

      ICESCR Article 7  states that everyone has a right to "just and favorable" working conditions that are defined as: fair wages with equal pay for equal work, sufficient to provide a decent living for workers and their dependents; safe working conditions; equal opportunity in the workplace; and sufficient rest and leisure, including limited working hours and regular, paid holidays. Article 8 assures workers can form or join trade unions and protects the right to strike. Like Cuba and South Afric the U.S. has refused to ratify ICESCR. Does the NCAA oppose letting the athletes organize or join a union because in its doing so, NCAA is expressing its solidarity with Cuba and South Africa?

      Is the NCAA opposing the athletes who want to organize because ICESCR Article 9 mandates "the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance," requiring States parties: to provide some form of social insurance scheme to protect people against the risks of sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment or old age; to provide for survivors, orphans, and those who cannot afford health care; and to ensure that families are adequately supported??? Or is the opposition by NCAA because it does not want athletes to have what ICESCR Article 11 recognizes as the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living and to a continuous improvement of living condition which is in Article 12 said to include the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, through a comprehensive system of healthcare, which is available to everyone without discrimination, and economically accessible to all. Does NCAA oppose those standards?

      We all should support the athletes in their quest to form a union no matter what negative arguments the NCAA propounds.

  •  Same old, same old. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whatithink, awhitestl
    Many of the best learning institutions in our country have let a secondary value, athletics, overtake what should be their primary mission, training students intellectually to succeed in an incredibly complex and competitive world, for which most students, including both those on the field, and those in the stands, will be woefully unprepared.
    Let's be honest about the real reason universities are having trouble these days. It's not that there are too many sports; it's that there are too many administrators, too many big building projects, and most importantly, state funding for higher education continues to fall.

    And all the while, the public schools that produce the vast majority of university students are also undergoing the triple whammy of underfunding, attacks on the profession of teaching, and the bullshit obsession of legislators with standardized tests.

    Universities are becoming more about preparing people for the "workforce" than they are about preparing people for citizenship. But that has very little to do with sports, and a great deal to do with other factors.

    But most individuals, as well as our country as a whole, would be significantly better off if they spent less time playing and watching sports, and more time reading books or learning to code.
    Oddly, you don't level the same attack here against film buffs, or outdoors enthusiasts, or crafting aficionados, or those who engage in any of the other myriad ways in which Americans regularly amuse themselves through pursuits that you apparently find insufficiently academic. (To say nothing of the fact that just "reading books" is not an inherently academic or enriching enterprise; there are a lot of shitty books out there.)

    So why single out sports? Given your tone throughout the rest of the piece and the comments, my guess is that it's more based in your construction of your own identity than in any kind of evidence-based process of reasoning.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 01:50:11 PM PDT

    •  Colleges have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim Beard, blueoasis

      clubs devoted to film buffs and outdoor enthusiasts, and people get a lot out of those things. I'd suggest that universities should devote a similar amount of time and money to varsity sports that they do to those other clubs, because they are equally important. There are many facets to an interesting and well-rounded person, and sports is just one of them. Its prominence, particularly on college campuses, is like an overdeveloped muscle. It's nice that you have big biceps, but maybe you'd be healthier if you worked on your quads some, too.  I agree with you that reading books, by itself, doesn't indicate much. It was just an example, and perhaps not a very good one. Hopefully, colleges don't just make you read more, but help you  become better at deciding what's worth reading and what's not. That said, I think we'd have a better democracy if we knew that everybody graduating from high school or college could at least read.

      •  You weren't just writing about colleges there. (0+ / 0-)

        The statement from your post that I quoted was directed at "most individuals, as well as our country as a whole"—not at American universities.

        So I find it curious that you single out sports as some kind of societal plague that is keeping us from more intellectual pursuits, while other forms of amusement or practice are ignored.

        I don't disagree that intercollegiate sports take up a larger proportion of university budgets than they should, and that the system is fundamentally unfair; if you'll peruse my comment history, you'll note that a few days ago I suggested that Division I football and basketball should be funded by the NFL and NBA, respectively, as those college sports represent their developmental leagues, much like the minor-league systems in hockey and baseball.

        My issue with your post is that you take the claim much further than that.

        First, you suggest that intercollegiate sports are becoming a primary focus of university life and are primarily at fault for a decline in the academic pursuits of the university, when I know from personal experience that this is not the case. There are many factors in the academic challenges currently facing American higher education; in my opinion, having spent 8+ years in graduate programs at major universities, intercollegiate sports are minor in comparison to other factors like ballooning administrative staffs, cuts in state funding and support, and corporate encroachment into the academic process.

        Second, you suggest that the amount of time, energy, and identity in our society devoted to sports is a primary factor in a supposed decline in our social intellect, while omitting any other possible factor for whatever decline you posit to be occurring. This claim requires a great deal more evidence than you provide, and also requires you to account for the numerous other ways in which Americans spend their time and energy amusing themselves (and especially, in my opinion, the presence of television).

        There's definitely a good argument to be made for changes to intercollegiate athletics that further split those activities from the academic life and budget of the university; I've made such arguments in the past, and will make them again in the future. But I think you make the mistake here of making claims without evidence, making those claims much broader than they deserve to be, and writing in a voice that seems to suggest personal animus against sports in particular, rather than concern about all factors that detract from intellectual pursuits.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 08:58:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a crock (0+ / 0-)

    You probably drive the speed limit in the left lane too.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 03:39:50 PM PDT

  •  Costs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    awhitestl, Jim Beard, blueoasis

    The NFL is using colleges for a minor league system and are shifting the cost to colleges. The colleges use and damage a lot of (especially football) athletes who need surgery and can be disabled to some extent the rest of their lives. The costs externalized from the sports are left to the players to pay. There is enough money in the sports to pay for any related health needs of the players for life. The colleges should be required to provide more time for the students to finish their education because some of the sports are essentially a full time job. An extra year of class time after the college eligibility is over would not be unreasonable for the sports that really eat up time allowing students to take a lighter class load while being a full time athlete. Some tighter restrictions on practice time and off season camps and workouts would also allow students to get a better education. I have always thought that athletes that are scheduled for many hours 'working' as athletes should get pay like the students who have other jobs at the college. I used to operate a mainframe computer others worked in food service, security, janitors, librarians etc. and every one was paid and their hours limited to allow proper time for study.

    I think the players need the power to negotiate BECAUSE it is clear that no one else is making sure they are protected. In fact many do as much as they can to screw the athletes over at every turn.

  •  Several points about your diary: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, JamesGG
    ...in most of the rest of the world, there is no connection between universities and sports--universities are to teach people and prepare them for careers.  People who want to do sports can join clubs or try out for professional teams.
    If a sport has professional teams, then don't athletics programs prepare students for careers?  Isn't football as valid a form of career preparation as, say, accounting or theater?
    An even more fundamental problem, however, is the relative value our country places on athletic prowess vs. the intellectual and technical skills that colleges are supposed to have as their primary mission.
    Why is this a problem?  Are we supposed to devalue athletic prowess relative to other talents, gifts or technical skills?  

    If a highly talented olympic gymnast and a highly skilled accountant are in a room, are we really supposed to value that accountant over the gymnast?

    But most individuals, as well as our country as a whole, would be significantly better off if they spent less time playing and watching sports, and more time reading books or learning to code.
    Doesn't our current obesity problem imply the opposite?  If more people were involved in athletic activity, we'd have a healthier society and fewer obesity-related problems.  If more people learned to code, what impact would that have on public health?  How would our country be better off?  Do we have a dire shortage of coders?

     

    The advantage of this separation between sports and academics is that it's less likely that people will get confused about the true purpose of a college, and colleges can maintain a sense of intellectual integrity that our own universities are clearly lacking.
    Can we honestly say that universities with athletic programs are lacking a sense of intellectual integrity?  Does the University of Chicago lack intellectual integrity?  Does Princeton lack intellectual integrity?
    and when the majority of them realize that they're not good enough to play professionally, they'll go back to college and dedicate all of their energies to curing cancer or developing more efficient solar power or writing novels
    I don't see how we can dismiss an athletic career as an "elusive lottery ticket," and then imagine instead that people will have a shot at curing cancer, or even making it as a novelist.

    Indeed, there are a number of very academic majors on campus, like philosophy, where getting a job in the field is at least as tough as securing an athletic career.  We certainly can't start cutting programs on the basis of how elusive jobs are in music performance or theater or philosophy.

    Finally, isn't the point of a University (as opposed to a "college") to be as inclusive as possible?  Is it really in the spirit of a university to argue that a program doesn't belong?

    And what exactly disqualifies an athletic program, anyway?  There are other programs where the primary mode of learning is physical, perceptual and motor learning, like dance or music performance---do those programs not belong on campus either?   There are programs that aren't very academic, like business or accounting---do those programs not belong on campus?  What specifically excludes an athletic program?

    Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

    by Caj on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 08:29:31 PM PDT

    •  True (0+ / 0-)
      Indeed, there are a number of very academic majors on campus, like philosophy, where getting a job in the field is at least as tough as securing an athletic career.  We certainly can't start cutting programs on the basis of how elusive jobs are in music performance or theater or philosophy.
      But these programs have a fraction of the cost of the game little boys play and those who refuse to grow up consume. You lose.
      •  Wow. Elitist much? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Caj
        But these programs have a fraction of the cost of the game little boys play and those who refuse to grow up consume.
        Your patronizing, elitist attitude is not only insulting and offensive, it's also completely unsupported by any evidence.

        If you truly value intellectual pursuits as much as you claim to, please present evidence, based on peer-reviewed academic research, that both sports players and sports aficionados are less mature than those who do not play or follow sports.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 09:02:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are three problems with this argument. (0+ / 0-)

        First, that nasty crack about "little boys" makes it pretty clear that your argument about cost is just a rationalization for a more irrational and disparaging attitude toward athletes.

        Second, cost is a horrible reason to cut programs, one that would threaten the humanities in particular.  Programs like philosophy and history don't really bring in a lot of external research funding, and are often subsidized by those departments and schools that do.  

        Finally, universities want to have college football programs because they make money.  If not directly through ticket sales, they are a huge driver of name recognition and interest in the university, and result in higher application rates.

        Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

        by Caj on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 12:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Top salaries in the state of Texas (0+ / 0-)

    The three at the top are higher that the 4 ranked person in charge of a medical complex that does heart, lung and kidney trans plants is paid less than than someone who likes to play games.

    Mac Brown is gone but the replacement salary is still in the top three.

    http://www.texastribune.org/...

    I really like Michael Crabtree and he was smart, he got out of the freebee college stuff and started cashing on the real cash and it is a good thing because he got injured his first year. Thank god he was getting a paycheck rather than being on his own.

    I have no problem with basketball, it is not as expensive as football whith funds for cheerleaders and the marching band. Does a band really need to march. If the cheerleaders were any good, they should go on to the pros and get money

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