The Jim Tressel story at Ohio State is a sad but not uncommon story of unchecked power, ego-driven actions, a win-at-all-costs (WAAC) mentality, and lack of presidential control in intercollegiate athletics.
In the case of Tressel, you can add hypocrisy. Here’s a guy who made a concerted effort to create an image of a moral icon, yet who’s actions have too often belied that carefully crafted image. He authored books with the titles: “The Winner’s Manual: For the Game of Life” and “Life Promises for Success: Promises From God on Achieving Your Best.”
In actuality, his “winner’s manual” could be summed up in one credo: Do whatever it takes to win (and preserve your image).
This isn’t Tressel’s first slip-up. Under Tressel’s watch, Ohio State has had to deal with NCAA problems surrounding its football program in the past. Tressel also got into trouble with the NCAA while coaching at Youngstown State.
Ohio State’s president, Gordon Gee, provided an indication of the warped priorities on campus when the Tressel allegations first surfaced. When asked if Tressel was in trouble, Gee said, “I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me,” said Gee.
While meant to be funny, Gee’s comment also points to the lack of presidential control at big-time college sports factories. Until intercollegiate athletics are treated as part of the educational mission of the university — and athletes are treated like other students on campus — commercialization and professionalization abuses will continue.
A good place for Gordon Gee to start as he begins to clean-up his football program is the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics’ Statement of Principles.
Mr. Gee should pay especially close attention to principle number two: “The responsibility and authority for the administration of the athletics department, including all basic policies, personnel and finances, are vested in the president.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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