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 #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans, why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks, and the fact the vast majority of players are for more protective netting in stadiums.
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.”
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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