Legendary sports journalist Frank Deford recently wrote a column that did an excellent job of succinctly and creatively pointing out how irrational and unethical the college sports system is. See “The Luxurious Revenue College Sports Model.”

Deford pointed out the absurdity of Rutgers’ women’s basketball coach making $1.3 million a year, plus allowances for a car and golf, for a team that barely drew 3,000 fans to home games and lost $2.2 million last year. Meanwhile, 40 history professors had their telephones yanked out of their offices. Deford goes on to call for the downsizing of most college sports to be more in line with the educational missions of our universities.

However, he saves his most biting commentary for the way big-time college sports (basically football and men’s basketball) uses and abuses poor kids from our inner cities to make money for everyone but the athletes themselves, including bringing in the revenue that pays for the minor sports in the athletic department.

“All the worse, the current national model has it that some impoverished kid from the inner city risks concussions and obesity to play football in order to pay for the scholarship of a javelin thrower and the salary of an assistant swimming coach and the plane fare for the volleyball team,” writes Deford. “That’s a disgrace. Where is it written that that’s the way an athletic department should be operated, on the shoulder pads of poor kids and the telephonic deprivations of poor history professors?”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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