“There is so much money tied into big-time college athletics that it forces some people to make bad decisions,” says Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League.
A more accurate understatement has never been uttered.
At universities with NCAA Division I athletic programs, most notably Bowl Championship Series (BCS) schools, the school’s educational mission takes a backseat to the greed-based arms race for bigger and better facilities, so bigger and better athletes can be recruited, in order to land bigger and better television and sponsorship deals.
“We’re talking big, big money here,” says Jason Lanter, assistant professor of psychology at Kutztown University, and a member of the Drake Group, a college faculty organization whose mission is to defend academic integrity on campuses.
The biggest crime is that money from schools’ general funds are feeding a large portion of this arms race during a time of cutbacks everywhere else on campus. Of 53 universities surveyed by Bloomberg this year, 46 diverted money to sports in in their fiscal years ended in 2010. Rutgers spent more money on athletics than any other public institution in the six BCS conferences. According to a Bloomberg report, more than 40 percent of sports revenue at Rutgers came from student fees and the university’s general fund. This at at time when budgets were being cut for professors salaries, and while tuition, housing and other fees were on the rise. Even things like the use of photocopies for exams were being chopped at Rutgers during this time period.
“There are a lot of people chasing the Holy Grail,” Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said. “Chasing leads to some bad decisions.”
On second thought, in the wake of the Penn State, Miami, Ohio State, and USC scandals, that is probably the most accurate understatement ever uttered.
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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