Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Sports Mess Deeper than Penn State

November 16, 2011
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 16, 2011

The Tribune-Star The Tribune Star Wed Nov 16, 2011, 06:23 AM EST

Sports mess deeper than just Penn State

Let’s not turn Penn State and JoePa into something unique to Happy Valley, Pa. It’s a special breed of fans who bestow cult status on Big Buck college sports across America. No stadium parking lot, no 1,000-channel dish TV, no sports bar, is without ritual and sacraments in evidence on game day. Some of these fans make the Taliban look like two-hour-a-week Christians.

And neither are the presidents and trustees at countless schools unique. Long ago many/most traded in or seriously compromised  the mission of higher education for a Final Four or bowl game mission. They exact fees from students to pay for entertainment that has nothing to do with education. They sniff at or ignore gray ethical areas. In royal coronations covered in smiling detail by the media, athletic scholarships are bestowed on many, many kids who could care less about earning a degree.

Administration leaders and involved alums pat themselves on the back for offering up these educational opportunities. Meanwhile, the opportunity to fill heads in classes are out of the reach of poor, smart kids who read and are quick with math concepts but can’t bench press two large, heavy pieces of iron on the end of a bar.

These bright, hungry students are left to scramble for financial aid/loans/a scintilla of recognition and hope.

It’s disgusting. And next weekend millions will turn on their TVs, nod gravely about the mess at PSU, make excuses for JoePa and go back to checking their bets and cheering for ol’ Siwash U.

— Gary W. Daily
Terre Haute
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November 11, 2011
The Institutional Pass By JOE NOCERA

". . . Big-time college football requires grown men to avert their eyes from the essential hypocrisy of the enterprise. Coaches take home multimillion-dollar salaries, while the players who make them rich don’t even get “scholarships” that cover the full cost of attending college. They push their “student-athletes” to take silly courses that won’t get in the way of football. When players are seriously injured and can no longer play, their coaches often yank their scholarships, forcing them to drop out of school.

“College football and men’s basketball has drifted so far away from the educational purpose of the university,” James Duderstadt, a former president of the University of Michigan, told me recently. “They exploit young people and prevent them from getting a legitimate college education. They place the athlete’s health at enormous risk, which becomes apparent later in life. We are supposed to be developing human potential, not making money on their backs. Football strikes at the core values of a university.”

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