Skip to main content

I've actually thought so for some time, and not just because I spent some time today reading the report of the special investigative counsel (the "Freeh report") on the way Penn State handled (or rather, didn't handle) the investigation of allegations that a former football coach had sexually abused minor children on the university campus. However, the conclusions of that report and, even more so, the investigative findings that it presented, certainly lend new weight to my belief that it's time to do away with college sports--at least in their current form. Follow me below the squiggle and I'll tell you why I think so, and what I think things should look like.

There are any number of seemingly plausible justifications offered for the existence of the anomaly known as "college sports." Alumni donations and pride are perhaps the most common of these, but there are many others. Unfortunately for the hopes and dreams (and the Saturday television viewing habits) of many, those justifications turn out to be a lot less plausible upon reflection--to say nothing of rigorous investigation.

Most college athletics programs lose money. And in the rare cases when a program turns a profit, chances are better than even money that the success is entirely due to one solid program that keeps all the rest from going under...for a time. And while people don't tend to think of it, donations to athletics programs go to support the athletics programs--not the school that sponsors them. So if you give money to your favorite college sports team, not a dime of that donation goes to make the school a better place. It just goes to make the team better.

It's also true that success on the playing field tends to promote awareness of a college or university, and often a spike in applications will follow a championship season or even a reasonably splashy bowl appearance. That's nice, but could there possibly be a less logical way of picking the place where your parents will be sending tuition checks for years to come? Anyone who would choose a college or university on the basis of having an outstanding (fill in your favorite sport here) team, assuming s/he isn't planning to be a sports management major and hopes to gain real-world experience by working with it, would be better off taking their tuition payments and flushing them down the toilet for the experience in how to repair plumbing: at least then they might come out of the game with a marketable skill.

The idea that there are collegiate coaches (usually in football, but some in other sports as well) that earn considerably (sometimes to the tune of an order of magnitude) more than the university presidents they work for simply boggles the mind. In what kind of warped and twisted world does that make sense?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association uses the term "student-athletes" to describe the individuals whose lives it scrutinizes (and supervises). That has a nice ring to it, but, certainly at Division I schools (i.e., the powerhouse teams), the emphasis in that compound noun is decidedly almost always upon the "athlete" portion, and far too rarely on the "student" bit.

While it is true that athletic scholarships make it possible for some individuals to get a college education who might not otherwise have the chance to do so, that chance is offered only to a tiny fraction of students in any given year, and then only if those students are willing to attend a school that (a) is allowed to offer such scholarships (Division III schools, for example, like my alma mater, are not), and (b) has an open slot available on a team for which that student is qualified. And when you factor in all the other costs associated with maintaining that team, it seems to me that we'd do better simply to take all of that money, stop wasting it on stadia, practice facilities, equipment, coaches' and trainers' salaries, and, yes, athletic scholarships, and simply hand it out as grants to qualified but underprivileged students. We'd be able to make college a reality for a lot more people than we do now, and there might even be a few bucks left over to support giving the faculty a raise to teach those students well, and perhaps even to buy a few new books, or a journal subscription, for the library.

The Penn State situation, and in particular the Freeh report, shines a very strong light into some incredibly dark corners--and what that strong light reveals is far from pretty. I found it instructive, for example, to compare the reaction of Penn State President Graham Spanier and his staff to allegations that Jerry Sandusky had sexually assaulted a minor child in the university's athletics facility and to an incident involving a sports agent who violated an insignificant NCAA eligibility rule by buying a football player $400 worth of clothing. In Sandusky's case, the university did as little as possible either to investigate the allegations or to ensure that the proper authorities were brought in to do so, and that those authorities were kept abreast of all pertinent information. In the latter case, which is detailed beginning on page 52 of the Freeh report, Spanier stated publicly that the agent had "fooled around with the integrity of the university, and I won't stand for that." The university swiftly conducted an investigation of the matter, and provided the details of that investigation to both the NCAA and to the cognizant law enforcement agencies. Within a short time, the president took action to ban the agent from campus--an action that was never taken with Jerry Sandusky up until the moment he was arrested last year: fourteen years after the first incident of molestation was reported to university officials. Buying clothes for a football player in violation of an NCAA eligibility rule will get you kicked off campus. Raping innocent boys in the coaches' shower, not so much.

Athletes in American society have it pretty good. They are looked up to. Behavior is tolerated from them, to a large extent (and not just at Penn State, though for the moment theirs is the most egregious example of the problem that is rampant on college campuses across this country), that would get any other student expelled or severely disciplined. Because they're skilled at throwing a ball or handling a puck or hitting home runs, they get a free or mostly free college education. There are always people who are willing to do for them pretty much anything that they want--whether or not it's either legal or appropriate. The end result of that state of affairs is exactly what the Freeh report describes: a culture that says it's OK to do anything as long as it's to protect the reputation of the team and the good name of the university. Somebody gets injured in a fight? Hush it up. Somebody gets raped? Hush it up, and maybe send the responsible party or parties to a few counseling sessions so it looks good.

I think we should just go ahead and admit what we all know or suspect to be true. To wit, that college sports are little more than unpaid farm teams for the professional leagues (at least for the sports that "matter": and the ones that don't don't generate enough revenue--or interest--to cause many problems). We should acknowledge that reality, and divorce the teams from the colleges and universities. That lets the universities get back to concentrating on what they're supposed to be good at, which is teaching and research, and lets the pro teams concentrate on what they're supposed to be good at--and what they want to get--which is better incoming draftees for their own leagues.

Junior hockey offers what I think might be a reasonable, and reasonably effective way of getting the best of both worlds out of this mess. When a young man (so far it's only men, but that may change some day--and I'd argue that it should) plays for a junior team, he gets a small stipend (on the order of $100 per week, which basically covers food and his phone bill, and maybe a few bucks once in a while for equipment and such). He stays with a "billet" family, who make sure that he's got a place to stay when he isn't on the rink, and that he isn't out getting into trouble when he's supposed to be sleeping. And the league puts money into an escrow account for the player, for him to use toward furthering his education when he's done with hockey. As I recall, for each year of junior the player plays, the league ponies up the equivalent of a year's tuition, or something close to that. When the player's done--whether because of a decision on his part (or that of the profession) that he's not good enough to play at the next higher level, a career-ending injury, or, in theory, because he's retired and wants to go back and finish the education he interrupted to have a hockey career at all, that money is available to him. I presume it garners interest, and I don't believe there's either a requirement or an expectation that the money has to be spent on a university education (i.e., if the former player decides he wants to go to a trade or a professional school, he can).

To me, that sounds like a much better way of integrating sports and higher education. I think it might also help make sure that nobody ever gets to do what Jerry Sandusky did to all those young men over the course of so many years. No professional team, dependent for its success on the loyalty--and the dollars--of its fan base, would ever countenance keeping something like Sandusky's abuses secret for more than a decade. It would absolutely ruin them if they did. And, frankly, I think that's what should happen to Penn State's athletic programs, at least until the university demonstrates that it's mature enough to handle them again.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I love college sports (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD

    particularly men's basketball which is probably the worst offender of the "student" athlete tag. I loved college sports as a student and cheer my alma mater and follow them year round. But I think that it is more than football and men and women's basketball that are the heart of intercollegiate athletics. Both my daughter and son-in-law were Div I collegiate athletes and each won four varsity letters, but in sports that are never on TV, and don't have any professional leagues. The life lessons, and leadership skills, they both learned were invaluable. They both graduated on time, with honors, but feel the lessons they learned on the field of sports were ever bit as valuable as those they learned in the classroom.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:53:08 PM PDT

    •  I didn't say "do away with sports" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justus, quill, splashy

      I said "do away with college sports." If people want to play organized sports (or, hell, chess or Frisbee golf or anything else that gets them excited and, preferably, up and moving around once in a while), I'm all for that. I just don't see the need (or the benefit) to tying that to a college or university setting.

      •  college sports would be ok if like the old days (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, craiger

        instead of the University of Oregon playing Louisiana State University and the University of Southern California and such, they could have a schedule like they did in 1912. Here's who they played in football:

        Willamette (located in Salem)
        Whitman College (Walla Walla)
        Washington State
        Idaho
        Washington
        Oregon Agricultural (now Oregon State)
        Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club (Portland)

        All bus rides. No need for TV.

        •  And health care would be cheap if it was like 1912 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Utahrd

          People would die quickly, no high tech machines, 1 or 2 drugs that work, all kinds of great things.

          Give me a freaking break.

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:07:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That looks like the Boise St schedule... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          taffers

          ...and it seems to work for the Broncos!

          "They let 'em vote, smoke, and drive -- even put 'em in pants! So what do you get? A -- a Democrat for President!" ~ Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

          by craiger on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:57:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  eh no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, IARXPHD

    I will give you one example:

    Purdue, my alma mater, operates in the black most years. Not only does it operate in the black but a nice chunk of the profits their athletic programs make actually goes to the academic side of the university.

    The vast majority of the sports at Purdue and almost every other university are things like men's soccer, or women's volleyball, or tennis or golf, or other sports that are not farm teams for anything.

    These sports are generally paid for, at least in part, by football revenue, and to a lesser extent men's basketball revenue, and in a tiny number of school's women's basketball revenue.

    The benefits of sports, even if you don't like football or basketball and think those are just "farm teams", are numerous and well understood for both men and women.

    The idea that we should do away with college sports makes one hit the go to cliche of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    There are excesses and issues, but you fix those things and address them, you don't just say, ok no more college sports.

    •  Have you actually examined the books? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, quill, SCFrog, splashy
      Not only does it operate in the black but a nice chunk of the profits their athletic programs make actually goes to the academic side of the university.
      That would be highly unusual in my experience (and I spent 17 years working at a Division I university before taking my current position). But even if it happens to be correct, it remains the exception that proves the rule.

      Nor do I believe there is any justification for claiming that "the benefits of sports ...are numerous and well understood." Sure, mens sana in corpore sano and all that. But how, exactly, does sitting in the stands and watching people play sports do anything at all for anybody not actually on the court or the field--which represents an infinitesimal fraction of the student body?

      •  sadf (0+ / 0-)
        That would be highly unusual in my experience (and I spent 17 years working at a Division I university before taking my current position).
        Did you spend those 17 years working as an accountant or administrator for an athletic program?

        I thought you were a history graduate student.

        In any case, I don't see how experience at one university tells you whether being in the black is the except or the rule nationwide.

        My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

        by Caj on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:32:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  well then you are blind (0+ / 0-)

        or stubborn.

        Camaraderie, fellowship, entertainment, joy, passion, you know just like any other hobby or passtime that people enjoy in life.

        But obviously I wasn't just talking about watching it, but also for the players.

        •  The question is why should the college run it? (0+ / 0-)

          Why can't the sports be separate from the college?

          If they are that important, then do them as a separate thing for those that want it.

          Women create the entire labor force.

          by splashy on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:02:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Look how well that worked for everything else (0+ / 0-)

            Universities have outsourced their cafeterias to Sodexho, have signed exclusive deals with Coca Cola for vending machines (no Pepsi!) and many have outsourced their university bookstores to external vendors like Barnes and Noble.

            Was that a good idea?  Well, on my campus we are no longer allowed to have our departmental picnic because Sodexho insists on a total monopoly on food served on campus.  And our bookstore, which was once pretty awesome, is now a couple magazine racks, a few shelves of office supplies, a few shelves of pop tarts, and 50% branded sweatshirts with a Wal-Mart thread count.  I think there's less than 100 books on display now---not 100 different titles, but 100 physical books.  Most of them were best sellers rather than academic books.  I think the last time I was there, a bunch of them were replaced with yoga mats.

            Aside from the loss, we also lose something far less tangible:  the sanctity of the collegiate environment.  Our cafeterias no longer resemble dorm cafeterias.  They look like mall food courts.  Our bookstore no longer looks like a university bookstore, but a mini-CVS.  Our whole student union is starting to look like someone threw down a Taco Bell while we weren't looking.  These aspects of our campus don't look like campus anymore.

            That's what happens when you take a piece of collegiate life and outsource it to be run at a profit by a separate enterprise.  Some things suck pretty badly when run at a profit---think public transportation and libraries---and you lose a lot collegiate identity in the process.

            Frankly, I'm surprised to hear these arguments from progressives instead of full-Galt free-market conservatives.  You're essentially arguing that a major aspect of college life and college culture should be outsourced as a corporate entity to run at a profit.

            My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

            by Caj on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 11:46:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  that applies to anything that colleges do (0+ / 0-)

            that isn't STRICTLY academic.

            You want a student union, don't expect the college to run it?

            You want a Black Student's Association, do it yourself, no university support.

            Etc...

            The burden is on folks who think like you as to why  sports need to be separate from the college/university?

            •  Don't forget the campus itself (0+ / 0-)

              Why the hell do we need grass and trees and landscaping?  What does that have to do with academic subjects?  

              I find it weird that progressives are willing to embrace this radically Randian line of thinking just to find a reason to do away with sports.   Normally, progressives make a big deal about college being far more than career preparation and far more than a classroom.  It is supposed to be an environment unto itself in which you can find yourself and grow as a person.  It is supposed to be a safe pastoral microcosm shielded from external influence and particularly from the cold logic of profit motive.  

              But bring up the idea of abolishing sports, and suddenly we should offload any part of college that doesn't turn a profit and doesn't "belong" to a strictly and conservatively defined academic mission.

              My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

              by Caj on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:17:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Thank the John Purdue club (0+ / 0-)

      The John Purdue Clubraised about $11 million to make up the difference between team revenue and team expense.  Among other things, they subsidize the coach's salary so Purdue does not present the spectacle of paying more to its coach than to its President from academic funds.  The club boasts that its efforts help Purdue be one of only Division I schools that do not take money from the state or the rest of the university.

      This all said, it would be nice if the kids playing for Purdue had some pocket money on top of their scholarship.  Also, if any private workplace outside a gulag had a debilitating injury rate anywhere near that of college sports, it would be shut down yesterday.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:59:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well Said! (9+ / 0-)

    I am reminded that when Chicago, before World War II, decided to make a major advance in quality, one of the first things it did was to dump its football team.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 06:53:35 PM PDT

  •  I went to colleges that didn't have professional (10+ / 0-)

    atheletes. I have also been at some big Division 1 schools.

    At the schools without professional athletes, most of the student body played intramural sports. We had access to gyms, playing fields, and equipment. At the Division 1 schools, most of the student body sits around and watches the professionals play. You can't get access to gyms, fields, and equipment because most of it is dedicated to the professionals.

    To me that is the biggest problem- at an age when young people should be running around playing sports they are sitting and drinking beer and watching.

    •  Really, I went to a school that went to a Final (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IARXPHD

      Four my first year and won a 1-AA football championship the next year in football and the intramurals were top notch and packed and we had 8 different skill levels of intramurals and you could always find a game going at any of the student gyms. And the money from the bigger sports funnelled into all the smaller sports.

    •  Andrew - I went to a Div 1 NCAA powerhouse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IARXPHD

      with more than 100 NCAA titles to its name. We had the most robust intramural program you could ever imagine and access to great facilities. I played flag football, basketball, six man volleyball, and softball every year I was a student. Thousands of students competed in both men and women's sports.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:05:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never had this experience with gyms. Swimming (0+ / 0-)

      pools in some universities I've been in have been used by the team for the part of the day and thus were less accessible to students. But athletes didn't train at university gyms.

  •  Oh brother (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wyvern, Irixsh, IARXPHD, Dabb, VClib

    There are issues with college sports and what happened at Penn State is beyond horrific and beyond a tragedy. But over reacting by shutting down college athletics isn't a solution. And maybe and it's a big maybe Penn State's football program should be shut down. But a lot athletes and college sports have positive effect.  There is a lot more to college sports than football or basketball.  Where would the USA national soccer teams be without college sports.

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:13:56 PM PDT

    •  Oh brother, indeed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, SCFrog, wu ming, splashy

      How about you actually read the diary before you jump in and express points I've already refuted?

      Where would the USA national soccer teams be without college sports.
      Building regional leagues and scouting high schools. Just like they already do--both here and in most of the world. (Hint: Not a lot of colleges have soccer teams.)
      •  You didn't refute you came up with an alternative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        Hint every single member of our national teams came out of a college program and yes regional teams  U-teams and high schools all play a role, but you cut off the ability of some players to go to college and online to play

        Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

        by jsfox on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:42:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Landon, Tim, the Germans, Herc Gomez (0+ / 0-)

      Ask Algeria is the US needs college players.

  •  Two problems with your arguments (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wyvern, IARXPHD, VClib, kingfishstew, Utahrd

    One:  if lack of profit is a reason to cancel college sports, shouldn't we also cancel a lot of humanities and arts programs?

    I would argue that college programs are not supposed to turn a profit.  Colleges are supposed to make enough money to be financially secure, but they are supposed to spend that money creating a university environment that includes a lot of money-losing enterprises.

    Two:  if this child molestation scandal is a reason to cancel college sports---not simply to fire the people involved, not simply to cancel programs at Penn State, but to abolish college sports in general, nationwide---will you apply the same broad standard if an English professor is arrested for molesting children?  By this diary's logic, such an event is an argument for doing away with all creative writing programs.

    My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

    by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:18:15 PM PDT

    •  No (4+ / 0-)
      One:  if lack of profit is a reason to cancel college sports, shouldn't we also cancel a lot of humanities and arts programs?
      First off, humanities and arts programs are at least in the realm of things that colleges and universities are supposed to be doing. If it weren't for the humanities, we wouldn't have universities (look at their history). Secondly, if we stopped wasting all that money on sports, we'd have plenty left over to support arts and humanities programs (which tend to cost way less than even a modest sports program: the grants that my humanities people crow about when they get them wouldn't amount to a rounding error in one of the science department grant budgets).
      Two:  if this child molestation scandal is a reason to cancel college sports---not simply to fire the people involved, not simply to cancel programs at Penn State, but to abolish college sports in general, nationwide---will you apply the same broad standard if an English professor is arrested for molesting children?
      Nice straw man. When you find an English program that's willing to cover up for a faculty member who's engaged in sexual abuse of minors for 14 years (or who even has access to minors), we can discuss it.
      •  Pretty appropriate use of a straw man, actually. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        Why should one facet of the system be held to a different standards?

        Most the humanities professors at my school do next to no research and whine to high heaven if they teach more than 40 students in a semester.

        I teach an average of 110 students a semester and have a list of peer reviewed papers longer than most of the humanities faculty after only 3 yrs of being on faculty.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:33:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking of straw men (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ciganka, wu ming, splashy

          You might want to consider looking in the mirror.

          First off, if you're teaching an average of 110 students a semester, you're probably teaching a quarter of what the average humanities prof sees--since most of their courses are the intro-level gen eds with enrollments of 200-300 per section. Second of all, if you knew how humanities departments grant tenure, you'd know that comparing peer-reviewed papers isn't the correct metric: most humanities disciplines care about books, not journal articles. And books take longer to crank out. Lastly, your experience of humanities faculty and mine are vastly different. I don't know any of them that aren't doing research--at least assuming they want to keep their jobs, get promoted, or get a raise, that is.

          •  Don't like it very much do you? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, kingfishstew

            Didn't like the tables being turned, did you?

            And by the way, you didn't answer the question as to why both groups should be judged differently.

            WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

            by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:42:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, I have a high regard for truth (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming, splashy

              Sue me.

              And it might interest you to know that I have degrees in both the sciences and the humanities. I know both sides of that equation, unlike you.

              •  Again, why should an athletics program (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                with a despicable coach be treated any differently than an English department with a despicable professor?

                WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

                by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:47:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Find me such an English department (0+ / 0-)

                  and we'll discuss it. Since you won't be able to, I don't see the point in bothering.

                  •  Give me a break..Are you telling me there has (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, kingfishstew

                    never been an English professor caught doing something inappropriate...ever?

                    Oh wait, there is this thing called the internet...

                    Decision cited rule on harrassment

                    I don't see you calling for Evansville's English Department to be closed.

                    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

                    by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:01:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  do you feel individual cases are comparable? (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ciganka, splashy

                      to institutional coverups? You've successfully found an example a a harassment charge. Did the English department go to the University President and try to squash it? Did the professor then go on to assault victims for years while it was being hushed up?

                      And was it because the English department was such a huge money maker that everyone was afraid to cross it?

                      Your comparison is pretty ridiculous.

                      •  Oh...so it's a matter of degree... (0+ / 0-)

                        yeah right.

                        Because 1 program had a program that did this, they all should be shut down.

                        C'mon, that's right wing black white thinking.

                        What Penn State did is horrible. But should a well run honest program like the one where I teach have to be eliminated over it?

                        That's as ridiculous as shutting down every English department because a chair hushed up a faculty who was harassing students.

                        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

                        by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:20:35 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  nor has there been a call (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      splashy

                      for academic "sports-athletics" programs to be closed.  Or recreational or local intramural sports programs.  The oxymoron that is "college football", however . . .

                      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                      by Deward Hastings on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:18:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  This is a logical fallacy. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    IARXPHD
                    Find me such an English department and we'll discuss it. Since you won't be able to, I don't see the point in bothering.
                    The question is:  if an English department is embroiled in the same kind of scandal you had at Penn State, would you then argue for the abolition of English programs from colleges and universities?

                    You cannot dodge this question by demanding a specific example.  It is a hypothetical question, and you don't need a specific case for it to be a valid line of reasoning.  It is a logical fallacy to dismiss a hypothetical scenario because it is hypothetical; for example, we cannot dismiss general relativity because Einstein couldn't provide a real-world example of an elevator floating in outer space.

                    It appears that you are simply trying to avoid this question, or to delay for as long as possible.  Why not save yourself some trouble and simply answer it?  

                    My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

                    by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 09:21:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  This is mathematically implausible. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IARXPHD
            First off, if you're teaching an average of 110 students a semester, you're probably teaching a quarter of what the average humanities prof sees
            If the average humanities prof sees 440 students per semester, and the average student takes 5 courses per semester, then the college would have a student-to-faculty ratio of 88-to-1.  So no, your estimate is way off.

            Even if you don't do math, your common sense should tell you that 400 is way off.  300-student courses exist, but departments usually have far more faculty members than they have 300-student courses.  

            My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

            by Caj on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:44:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IARXPHD, VClib, kingfishstew
        First off, humanities and arts programs are at least in the realm of things that colleges and universities are supposed to be doing.
        "Supposed" to be doing?  Where is the list of things that colleges are supposed to be doing, and by whose authority?
        If it weren't for the humanities, we wouldn't have universities (look at their history).
        I have.  The first universities in the western world started out with programs in religion, law, medicine, augmented by a smattering of arts and letters.  If you took away the humanities, of course the universities would still be there.

        You should also be wary of historical arguments:  universities now have far more humanities programs, and far more non-career-oriented majors, than ever before.  If you use historical curricula as a basis for what universities "should" do, the humanities would lose a great deal.

        Nice straw man.
        How is this a straw man?

        A straw man is not simply a comparison that makes your argument look wrong.  A straw man is a specific type of logical fallacy that attacks an argument you never made.

        In your diary, you clearly state that the Penn State scandal lends weight to the argument for abolishing college sports.  This is a real argument that you made, not something I invented, and debunking it by analogy is not a straw man argument.

        I repeat:  by your logic, if an academic program or department is embroiled in a scandal a la Penn State, then we should not only shut down the program but shut down all such programs nationwide.  You are arguing for the abolishment of college athletics at all colleges because of Penn State---this is no less absurd than abolishing all English programs if an English department is embroiled in a similar scandal.

        My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

        by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:01:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD, VClib

    ..as far as fans are concerned, college athletics serves as a binding force between people from all walks of life.

    The college team I pull for, it's the rare instance in the American experience when conservatives, liberals, moderates, fundies, atheists & every oddball that defies description can come together for a common cause...to pull for [insert your team here].

    When I am watching my favorite college football team conduct an 80 yd drive in the final minute of the game to beat a hated rival, me & the Tea Party guy by me are high-fiving each other.  In that moment, political beliefs mean nothing.

      You can't use the Penn State outlier as a reason to ban college sports.

    Using that logic, presidential campaigns should be done away with because Mitt Romney has proven to be an unspeakably horrible candidate.

    Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. ~ Proverbs 22:22

    by wyvern on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:19:08 PM PDT

    •  And colleges and universities should have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, ciganka, splashy

      to provide that "binding force" why, exactly? Let people cheer their local bowling team if they need something to rally around. Or the professional team that almost all places have somewhere reasonably close by. There is no organic connection between sports and universities.

      You can't use the Penn State outlier as a reason to ban college sports.
      Penn State is only an "outlier" in the sense that the abuses went on for such a length of time, and the degree to which the university administration was willing to cover it up. Pick any college sport, at any college or university you care to name. I guarantee you there has been some kind of scandal or abuse associated with it--grade inflation, recruiting violations, hazing, physical and/or sexual abuse. It happens. Routinely.
      •  LOL..how naive.... (0+ / 0-)
        I guarantee you there has been some kind of scandal or abuse associated with it--grade inflation, recruiting violations, hazing, physical and/or sexual abuse.
        You think this happens only in athletics? What a laugh. I've heard similar in recruitment of national merit scholars as well. And how many professors leave quietly because they've been caught doing something unsavory.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:35:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Child, when you've spent as long as I have (0+ / 0-)

          in the university system (you're nowhere near being close), you'll realize just how off-base you are. Until that time, there's no point in talking to you.

          •  Whatever.... (0+ / 0-)

            I worked in the real world for 20 years without all the bullshit protection we have in academia. So work a real job for a while and see how the same kind of coverup bullshit is 100 times worse outside of the tower.

            WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

            by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:46:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  "in the university system?" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IARXPHD

            What the hell does that mean?  

            I've been a professor for eight years, but I've been "in the university system" for 20.  Working in the cafeteria doesn't exactly make me an authority on college athletics, however.

            And for that matter, neither does being a professor.  What position do you have, that gives you all this insider knowledge about athletic programs?

            My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

            by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:45:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  so I can see from your tone here (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IARXPHD

            that you are a bit of a...well, modesty prevents me but it rhymes with ass hole.

            Why don't you tone it down a bit, get off your know-it-all superior horse, and engage in a back and forth where you consider for a moment, just a moment, that someone else might just maybe know something too.

      •  Colleges... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IARXPHD, VClib

        ..are not required to provide that "binding force."

        That binding force has it genesis in tradition.

        Most colleges in America have been fielding football teams for a century (if not longer).

        To use sportscaster parlance, the tapestry of the American landscape is, every fall, enlivened by the ceremonial pageantry of college football.

        What happened at Penn State is an atrocity, but you seem to want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

        Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. ~ Proverbs 22:22

        by wyvern on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:42:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
        And colleges and universities should have to provide that "binding force" why, exactly?
        They don't have to.  But of course they are free to do so.

        Contrariwise, we must ask:  why should they be banned from doing so?  For that matter, who even has the authority to tell universities that they are not allowed to have sports programs?

        I think you have the burden of argument reversed.  We don't have to explain why schools can have athletic programs---obviously they are free to do so.  Rather, the onus is upon you to argue why they should be disallowed from doing so.

        My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

        by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:13:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "a hated rival" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo in NJ, splashy

      You believe that the function of a college education is to "bind people together" in hatred ?  And this somehow prepares you to be a better citizen, a better person?

      If you want examples of "teamwork" and people working together to a common cause why don't you go to an orchestra concert, or a performance by the drama department.  You know . . . something with a little "college level" intellectual content . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:31:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Baby- Bath water. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, kingfishstew

    Otherwise, using a tragedy to grind an axe.

    I teach at a D-I school and every athlete in my program is good student and usually are class leaders.

    I also lettered in 4 sports in High School with a 3.75 GPA and have a PhD...yeah, some of us jocks are pretty damn smart. That drives some of the faculty nuts.

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:28:49 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, not buying it (0+ / 0-)

      Point, please, to the place where I said "jocks" couldn't be smart. And then point, please, to the number of college athletes who actually go on to graduate these days, cull that group for the ones whose GPAs are good enough to qualify for honor roll (and I don't mean at Division III schools where they have to meet the same standards as everyone else to get in), and tell me what the percentage of athletes that represents. Then compare that number to a comparable group of non-athletes. I'd bet money the athletes' percentage would be lower.

      •  We graduate athletes at a high rate than the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        general student population. D1 school, including football. In fact, most of our student athletes graduate. I had 2 all conference football players in my class last fall, and they were on the front of the curve. In a science based professional field.

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:39:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yada, yada, yada (0+ / 0-)

          Sure, you graduate them: because you've spoon-fed them, tutored them, cajoled their professors for them...and most of them wind up majoring in the academic equivalent of underwater basket-weaving. And that, of course, assumes they don't quit school before graduating to turn pro.

          Wow, you had two football stars in your class. Out of how many students? And how many of those non-star students got the kind of academic support those football players got?

          •  What a crappy attitude towards some really (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Caj, Great Lakes Liberal, taffers

            good kids. To begin with, to even get in the program I teach in you have to have a 3.25 math science GPA after sophomore year, including inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, biology, and calculus. And then keep a 3.0 GPA in a program rated in the top 10% in the country. And every student has the opportunity to access academic support that the football team has here. These kids are constantly under suspicion of not being academic adequate by people like you. And along with the 2 football players, I've got a young lady on the tennis team, 2 more who row crew, and one of the football players also throws shot on the track team.

            WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

            by IARXPHD on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 07:54:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  musings - you are now sounding pathetic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            IARXPHD

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:12:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
            Sure, you graduate them: because you've spoon-fed them, tutored them, cajoled their professors for them...and most of them wind up majoring in the academic equivalent of underwater basket-weaving.
            So it's not just athletics that you're after, eh?

            What are some of these majors that you see as easy parking spots for student athletes?  Maybe you can add them to your diary and campaign for their abolition as well.

            My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

            by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:31:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qazplm, IARXPHD
        Point, please, to the place where I said "jocks" couldn't be smart.

        [...]

        I'd bet money the athletes' percentage would be lower.

        Come on, at least have the common courtesy to contradict yourself in two separate posts.  You broke the needle on my irony meter.

        My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes". And then my liver says "What?" and my butt's all like "Farrrrrrt" --jbou

        by Caj on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:24:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Difference between shamatuer sports and student (0+ / 0-)

    sports:

    About 20 years ago, I remember reading UofMich student paper an interview with Swim Coach:

    Yes, I have a Graduation Problem. It fouls up my planning for the next season because too many of my swimmers are graduating in 3 & 1/2 years!!
    But this was not the Graduation Problem that the reporter was asking about.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:29:39 PM PDT

  •  First, I think this is a great diary to generate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD

    discussion.  I would say that in a good many institutions there are certain college sports that dominate way too much at the university.  

    On the other hand, there are many young people that benefit from sports scholarships. In most countries, a young person has to decide between higher education and pursuing a professional career.  I would hate to see the US lose this option for bright and talented young athletes.

    I definitely think there needs to be a discussion about how schools can strike to proper balance between sports programs and academia.  

    I think that in some instances coaches are overpaid and also pressured way too much to win, win, win at any cost.

    It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

    by ciganka on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 10:11:24 PM PDT

  •  Uh, no. Dead wrong. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD

    College sports are fine - especially Title 9. There are issues but there are issues with a lot of entities.

    It's always the people who hate sports who want to do away with them.

  •  Any school that gives a shit about academics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IARXPHD

    in the first place won't be overwhelmed by its athletics programs.  Think about UC Berekely (aka, "Cal") - everybody knows the Cal-Stanford game, but who the hell claims Cal and Stanford sacrifice academics for sports?

    "I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid." - Muad'Dib

    by Troubadour on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 12:02:59 AM PDT

  •  Narrow mindedness, parochialism (0+ / 0-)

    racism, homophobia, zero-sum worldview. Us-vs-themism. Jingoism. Militarism.

    Yes, I was bullied because I wasn't good at sports. Yes, I'm gay. Still, the jocks were the biggest assholes in school.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:56:10 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site