Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Wait - I don't understand? I thought public universities were supposed to be primarily concerned with educating students? I didn't think they were supposed to be money-making conglomerates that exist solely to suck up tax dollars and promote sporting franchises? But that's exactly what we see once again as Division I NCAA schools rejected even the minor NCAA reform that schools offer two year athletic scholarships instead of one year.  You know, presumably so schools couldn't just use up students for a year and then kick them to the curb if they weren't good enough for the team. I love this quote from Boise State:
"There is never a guarantee that the incoming student-athlete will be a good fit for the program and the institution," the school wrote in its override request. "If it is a poor fit, the program is put in a difficult situation to continue to keep a student-athlete on scholarship."
Do you live in the state of Idaho? Because if you do, you might be interested to know that your tax dollars are not being used to educate students. They are being used to build minor league football teams. [Of course, I suppose some people would be just fine with that. But if that's the case, we should be paying these athletes].  Multi-year scholarships are important to "student-athletes" particularly so we don't kick students to the curb if they experience personal problems, or they have a hard time adjusting to university life, or they get injured.  Universities are supposed to be, theoretically speaking, institutions of higher learning. They should be interested in educating young adults and preparing them for future careers, not maximizing team lacrosse performance.  Because let's be honest, after college, no one gives a fuck about Division I lacrosse, or volleyball, or rowing.

The NCAA should receive a pat on the head for at least starting to introduce minor reforms to their inherently corrupt system. They are at least pretending to care about the players they exploit (it seems Taylor Branch's Atlantic article is really making a difference in this conversation).  But it amazes me that the universities themselves can't pretend to care.  I really keep hoping and praying for one institution in America to redeem and/restore my trust in their capabilities (Congress, Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, the media, public education, etc.) but increasingly it seems like we just need to burn the whole thing down and start over. I don't know how to construct institutions to act in the best interests of all of their constituencies and stakeholders (not just the power brokers at the very top), but we really need to start thinking about these things.

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