“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 #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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