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 #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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