It is often said that baseball blew up in America in the age of radio, and the N.F.L. rose to dominance once television took over. Soccer is the perfect sport for the Internet era. American fans can follow games and instantaneously track information from global leagues both big and small, feeling as close to their favorite teams as if they lived within a thrown beer of their stadium. Roger Bennett ☀
It occurs to me that the debate over whether or not college athletes should be paid is really a debate between three groups of people.
- People who think college athletes should be paid because talented and hardworking people should be appropriately compensated.
- People who think that college athletes should not be paid because I don’t know amateurism or something.
- People who think semi-professional sports teams are a distraction from the core mission of a university.
I suspect that group #2 is probably a pretty small group. And group #3 is primarily composed of people who don’t much like sports.
Count me in group #3. Though to counter the assumption, let it be stated that I love sports but big time collegiate athletics is a perversion of the core mission of the university. Tainted with corruption and all sorts of foulness. And paying athletes is just another step in the metastasizing of the cancer that serves to unravel our once model university system.
Just a quick hit here, but a few points:
Approximately 90% of all Division I schools don’t take in enough revenue to fund their athletic programs. That’s even before figuring in accounting shenanigans and other underhanded bookkeeping tricks. And, in an age where tuition costs are skyrocketing (though due to diminished state and federal government financial support), how would paying athletes not exacerbate this condition?
For the most popular sport, college football, this unfolding issue is going to become ever more troublesome to NCAA and university athletic administrative overlords. Whether paid or unpaid (though it hard for me to consider tuition and boarding an irrelevant pittance, given that it certainly exceeds what unskilled labor could reap an individual at the same station in life, and even is greater or equivalent to what minor league sports organizations pay their players), this may prove to be a massive financial hit to the business of college sports.
It detracts from the education of university students. Granted, I know that the mission of the university is multi-faceted, encompassing research and other aims (i.e, Christian universities, medical colleges, etc.), but focus on all of these does indeed take away from education.
Collegiate sports should ideally be for all the students, to create a more rounded person. Not a tiny contingent of pampered superstars, with the rest of the student body reduced to spectatorship. That should be entirely confined to the realm of professional sports.
Baseball, unlike football, basketball, hockey, and soccer, is indeed more than just a sport. Its designation as a “pastime” hints at its essential conservatism as an activity borne of a vanished agrarian civilization in which leisure was valued and in which time was to be filled with imaginative human creativity. Baseball was birthed when the concept of time had not yet been warped into an oppressive, artificial control imposed by the clockmaker captains of industry. The Magic and Mystery of Baseball ☀
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