By Ken Reed
The athletic department at the University of Maryland — like the athletic departments at many of the school’s counterparts in Power Five conferences across the country — is so far removed from the educational mission of the rest of the university that there is no redeeming reason for it to be under the school’s umbrella.
Maryland football player Jordan McNair died recently of heatstroke following abusive and reckless behavior on the part of Maryland coaches and trainers during an offseason workout. A promising young man’s life was cut short and it was entirely preventable.
Following McNair’s death, a letter writer to the Washington Post powerfully decried the win-at-all-costs “subculture” at Maryland:
“Although the investigation into Mr. McNair’s death is ongoing, it has revealed, according to published reports in The Post, a culture around the football program in which these student-athletes were reportedly subjected to abusive behavior on the part of the football staff,” wrote Barry M. King.
“We have seen this movie before in any number of Division I athletic programs: Apparently, winning is more important than the purpose and ideals of the universities. These campus subcultures operate with insularity and lack of accountability until something goes horribly wrong. These subcultures are too often predictive of behavior that is antithetical to the mission of any university.”
King describes himself as a proud parent and grandparent of graduates of the University of Maryland, and a Maryland citizen and taxpayer. He says he’s “deeply disturbed” about the out-of-control sports culture that resulted in McNair’s death.
King’s willingness to give public voice to his anger at the hypocrisy at the heart of big-time of college athletics is exactly what we need a lot more of in this country if we are to get control of the college sports beast and prevent more unnecessary deaths like McNair’s.
— 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.
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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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