By Ken Reed
Texas and Oklahoma have left the Big 12 for the SEC because their thirst for money is unquenchable. They basically ditched long-time partners in the middle of the night because in their eyes college sports are about “me” not “we.”
The Big 12 responded by stealing three schools from the AAC (along with Independent BYU), Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati. That followed Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby taking a holier-than-thou public stance when he claimed the AAC was actually trying to steal teams from his conference. How dare they!
Listening to these pompous fools claim with a straight face that college athletics are an important part of the educational mission of their institutions is so laughable it has become truly pathetic.
Big-time college sports is simply about PAAC (profit-at-all-costs). It’s all about greed, with a nice mixture of ego and WAAC (win-at-all-costs) mixed in.
College athletics can be a great thing when the influence of greed is minimized. The problems start when greed starts driving the sports policy-and-decision-making bus. Which at the FBS level of college athletics is all the time.
When the desire to make money at all costs is the only – or, at least primary motivator in college sports – completely neglecting human considerations and what’s best for the athletes and college sports as a whole — college athletics have completely lost their way. That’s where we are today, and we’ve been there for some time now. The latest round of college realignment is only the latest example.
In the early days of college athletics, playing sports was actually an extra-curricular, or co-curricular, endeavor. Today, athletic departments are stand-alone business empires. In effect, they are autonomous, for-profit entities unethically operating under the guise of the university’s non-profit umbrella. Presidents have surrendered their oversight responsibilities.
“Sport is consistently appropriated by commercial interests and we’ve lost control of the playing conditions,” says sports sociologist Jay Coakley.
Lost control indeed. Nowhere is that more true than at the college level.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families. Linda writes extensively about how youth sports can hijack families, and family outings, non-sports activities and bonding time are lost in the pursuit of the next club team game or travel tournament.
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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.”
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.
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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