Friday, April 6, 2012

Collegiate Sports in the 21st Century

Sometimes I just have to write about something you aren’t really going to find interesting; but it’s a matter of getting a nagging thought off my chest.
by Charlie Leck

I felt uneasy watching various collegiate sports championships played this year. Only the most ethically immune people can watch these games and not sense the professionalism of it all in what is supposed to be part of the academic development of young people. That’s an unclear way of wondering about what’s happened to college sports in America in my life time. I hate to be a negative S.O.B., but it’s all so disgustingly commercial and nonacademic.

In January, Alabama and Louisiana State tangled in a game to determine the collegiate football champion for 2011. The head coaches for each team make far, far more than a million dollars per year in salaries and hundreds of thousands of dollars each in endorsements and bonuses. Football coaches in American universities make more money that any of the professors in those respective schools and even more than the schools' Presidents. Big time players are recruited to play for the top college schools and these young men and women are, in most schools, virtually escorted effortlessly through the academic programs. The young people are often placed in undemanding programs that are laughable in their lack of academic difficulty.

There are exceptions! I know that. I know it clearly. Yet, the bulk of the student athletes in top-level college football and basketball are in school to compete in these sports and not to get a significant education that might serve them well after their sports careers are over. A few of them will go on to make significant money in the professional sports ranks; however, most of them will not and most of them will not have a good college education to fall back on.

Don’t write to me of the exceptions. I know about them and I know several such young men personally.

America’s college and university sports system (mainly the National Collegiate Athletic Association) is doing these student athletes a great disservice. And they are also playing a big joke on us – those of us who take seriously things like March Madness and the annual collegiate football championship game. The money that these two events produce is so enormous that no one wants to look at the ethical implications behind these crazy athletic games.

With a wink at each other, we just settle in to watch the crazy, exciting games on our high definition TVs.

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1 comment:

  1. Problem is easily solved - do not watch. No viewers, no sponsors, no professional collegiate sports, March sanity restored.