Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Just in case you doubt the Clarion's carping about the evil NCAA and the villainous Myles Brand, do we have an article for you. We firmly believe the NCAA is a vicious, self-serving institution created strictly for the purpose of money grubbing.
Read about Michael Beasley's high school education, if you could call it that, here. Remember after reading this that long time scumbag cheater, Bob Huggins recruited him to Kansas State, which admitted him to college!! And you wonder why it is hard to compete at a place like Texas Tech which refuses to cheat or even admit this kind of person to their fine university.
Beasley should be forced to join the Marines. Instead he'll end up in the NBA someday scoring 20 points a game for a 50 loss team, and bitching about how hard and unfair his life is.
Until we re-evaluate the true value of a college or university education, "student-athletes" like Michael Beasley, and countless others before him will continue to erode the meaning of higher education. What is the point of subsidizing an athlete's education for one or maybe two years? Shouldn't this money be used to help an under-privileged scholar rather than a pampered soon-to-be millionaire?
Proponents of the current system argue that these "revenue sports" provide universities with the funding required to hire the best academics and administrators for their schools. This may be true to a certain extent, but our societal view of what a higher education should provide to our nation as a whole has been warped from its original intent: To ensure that our best and brightest are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to secure our nation's place in the hierarchy of global economies and societies.
We should be striving to make our universities hotbeds of academia, not football and basketball. With a paradigm shift back to the original purpose of a college education, these universities will grow independent of any need for "revenue sports."
Don't misunderstand me; I love college sports. But over the past few years, as my understanding of how such things work has grown, I find myself disgusted at the prospect of rooting for teams who bring in players, knowing that they will be there for one year, reap the financial benefits of TV exposure, and then send them off to earn their keep in various professional leagues.
What is the solution? While there are myriad obstacles to any drastic, effective changes, I would propose that we adopt a somewhat European system, in which potential pro athletes are identified at an early age and placed in "vocational" school systems, where they can hone their craft without being a burden on the separate educational system that exists for non-athletes. They could be paid for their endeavors, much like a lower-tier soccer league in any number of Euro countries. They would be free to follow the dollar or their hearts wherever it took them, without worrying about losing a year of eligibility. Eventually, and in about the same amount of time as their "education", they would be able to enter the upper ranks of their profession, based on their aptitude and performances in these "minor leagues". TV still wins, because every town with a university still has a team, just with a different name i.e. the Duke Blue Devils become the Durham Blue Devils, etc. Coaches remain, and their programs largely go unchanged, aside from not having to lie about the "educational" opportunities that recruits can expect. Teams could even use the same facilities to practice and play their games in, but, as property of the universities, they would be required to rent them out, much like many professional teams do now in Europe and the U.S. Therefore, the schools retain at least some of the revenue generated by these sports, but relieve themselves of the hassle of being associated with them in any sense other than pure business. Of course, all teams would have the option of providing their own stadiums, but I doubt that very many would spend the hundereds of millions it would take to start a program from scratch.
Will this ever happen? No, at least not on such simplistic terms. Should it happen? While I can't speak for anyone other than myself, I think that we could all benefit from re-thinking our views on "student-athletes" and their roles in our society in general.
What a thoughtful intelligent comment. Worthy of being its own full blown post on the topic.
Indeed, I heartily agree a paradigm shift is what is required.
While I feel that athletics are part of the panoply of extra-curricular options that should be available to university students, I do not believe that universities should change their admission standards for athletes.
The great majority of universities do not make money on their athletic departments. And it is getting worse yearly as the arms race to compete continues. In half the states in the South the football coach at the state university makes more money than the governor of the state.
As you correctly noted these kind of athletic programs have nothing to do with the original intent of the university system. They are a perversion and a gross waste of our tax dollars. Worse yet, to the extent athletics to have a logical place at the buffet of university offered options, their range is being limited. So-called marginal sports are being eliminated all over the place. And the NCAA is using Title IX as an excuse to blame the victim for the problem, rather than admitting no sports lose more money at most Division I-A schools than football and men's basketball.
Unfortunately, Myles Brand and his peeps are too busy renaming Division I to focus on the real problems with college sports.
As for the European vocational school track system, wow, I dunno. Maybe. My proclivity has always been that if the university wants to supplement its student athletes with other athletes who cannot meet admissions standards, then they should hire them and pay them as university employees. Why pretend they are students when they are not? If the pro-leagues set age limits, the universities can hire the younger athlete at a regulated rate, (on a scale commensurate with what they pay their other help; from janitors to professors to the university president) insure the heck out of them and continue to draw fans and get TV contracts.
I would be satisfied if (at bare minimum) universities applied the same academic admissions standards (or 95% thereof) for the student-athletes that they do for all students.
So if you have to get an 1860 SAT to get into Georgetown generally, you have to have an 1767 to play one of their sports. (especially if you are on scholarship!!)