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Sep 22 2013

Smart talk about school sports

US schools are weird places where athletes, not scholars, are the stars — it was that way when I was growing up, it’s that way now. High schools spend huge sums of money on sports, and colleges are on their way to becoming professional sports franchises instead of institutions of learning (I was shocked in the grocery store yesterday to see Time’s cover story: It’s time to pay college athletes”. No, it’s not.) It erodes the purpose of education and skews priorities…and too often, the coach is the highest paid employee, and when they also acquire cult status, abuses follow. Think Penn State. Now go take a shower.

This story in the Atlantic, The Case Against High School Sports, starts off dismally, describing the sorry and familiar state of high schools across the country, where more money is spent on football than math. And just to make it even worse, we get a brief history lesson: would you believe our emphasis on sports is rooted in racism and Christianity? Of course you would.

At the time [1900s], the United States was starting to educate its children for more years than most other countries, even while admitting a surge of immigrants. The ruling elite feared that all this schooling would make Anglo-Saxon boys soft and weak, in contrast to their brawny, newly immigrated peers. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. warned that cities were being overrun with “stiff-jointed, soft-muscled, paste-complexioned youth.”

Sports, the thinking went, would both protect boys’ masculinity and distract them from vices like gambling and prostitution. “Muscular Christianity,” fashionable during the Victorian era, prescribed sports as a sort of moral vaccine against the tumult of rapid economic growth. “In life, as in a foot-ball game,” Theodore Roosevelt wrote in an essay on “The American Boy” in 1900, “the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

But that isn’t what the story is about. It’s about an experiment: a school in Texas shut down their athletic program in the face of a budget crisis.

Last year in Texas, whose small towns are the spiritual home of high-school football and the inspiration for Friday Night Lights, the superintendent brought in to rescue one tiny rural school district did something insanely rational. In the spring of 2012, after the state threatened to shut down Premont Independent School District for financial mismanagement and academic failure, Ernest Singleton suspended all sports—including football.

To cut costs, the district had already laid off eight employees and closed the middle-school campus, moving its classes to the high-school building; the elementary school hadn’t employed an art or a music teacher in years; and the high school had sealed off the science labs, which were infested with mold. Yet the high school still turned out football, basketball, volleyball, track, tennis, cheerleading, and baseball teams each year.

Football at Premont cost about $1,300 a player. Math, by contrast, cost just $618 a student. For the price of one football season, the district could have hired a full-time elementary-school music teacher for an entire year. But, despite the fact that Premont’s football team had won just one game the previous season and hadn’t been to the playoffs in roughly a decade, this option never occurred to anyone.

“I’ve been in hundreds of classrooms,” says Singleton, who has spent 15 years as a principal and helped turn around other struggling schools. “This was the worst I’ve seen in my career. The kids were in control. The language was filthy. The teachers were not prepared.” By suspending sports, Singleton realized, he could save $150,000 in one year. A third of this amount was being paid to teachers as coaching stipends, on top of the smaller costs: $27,000 for athletic supplies, $15,000 for insurance, $13,000 for referees, $12,000 for bus drivers. “There are so many things people don’t think about when they think of sports,” Singleton told me. Still, he steeled himself for the town’s reaction. “I knew the minute I announced it, it was going to be like the world had caved in on us.”

Texas was smarter than Minnesota. Our local schools had a budget problem a few years ago; they gutted a fantastic theater program in response. They still have a football team, so I guess that wasn’t cut.

People are always trying to argue that these sports programs pay for themselves, and I don’t believe it for a minute. There’s a fair amount of deceptive accounting going on: when a college is sinking millions into a new stadium and flying coaches and players to Hawaii for a bowl game, you know there is a tremendous amount of cash flowing all which ways, and that it’s not an indulgence the school would spend to send the chemistry club to Iowa for a conference.

In many schools, sports are so entrenched that no one—not even the people in charge—realizes their actual cost. When Marguerite Roza, the author of Educational Economics, analyzed the finances of one public high school in the Pacific Northwest, she and her colleagues found that the school was spending $328 a student for math instruction and more than four times that much for cheerleading—$1,348 a cheerleader. “And it is not even a school in a district that prioritizes cheerleading,” Roza wrote. “In fact, this district’s ‘strategic plan’ has for the past three years claimed that math was the primary focus.”

Many sports and other electives tend to have lower student-to-teacher ratios than math and reading classes, which drives up the cost. And contrary to what most people think, ticket and concession sales do not begin to cover the cost of sports in the vast majority of high schools (or colleges).

But the real question is, what was the result of the experiment? Did unspent testosterone lead to region wide riots? Did unhappy, depressed students slump into nihilism and despair? Nope.

That first semester, 80 percent of the students passed their classes, compared with 50 percent the previous fall. About 160 people attended parent-teacher night, compared with six the year before. Principal Ruiz was so excited that he went out and took pictures of the parking lot, jammed with cars. Through some combination of new leadership, the threat of closure, and a renewed emphasis on academics, Premont’s culture changed. “There’s been a definite decline in misbehavior,” says Desiree Valdez, who teaches speech, theater, and creative writing at Premont. “I’m struggling to recall a fight. Before, it was one every couple of weeks.”

Suspending sports was only part of the equation, but Singleton believes it was crucial. He used the savings to give teachers raises. Meanwhile, communities throughout Texas, alarmed by the cancellation of football, raised $400,000 for Premont via fund-raisers and donations—money that Singleton put toward renovating the science labs.

That last line? Ernest Singleton is my hero. Here’s his picture.

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times Ernest Singleton answers questions from school board members from across the state Thursday, March 7, 2013 at the Premont school district’s board room in Premont. On the wall hangs each of the large checks the district received from schools across the Coastal Bend to help Premont build their new science labs.

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times

Ernest Singleton answers questions from school board members from across the state Thursday, March 7, 2013 at the Premont school district’s board room in Premont. On the wall hangs each of the large checks the district received from schools across the Coastal Bend to help Premont build their new science labs.

Now if only more schools would follow suit. School athletics are fine, if they are regarded appropriately, as light entertainment and an exercise in community engagement. It’s when they become the focus of the school that they become a destructive distraction.

182 comments

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  1. 1
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I actually approve of high school sports.
    But of a different kind.
    The healthy exercise for kids who get less and less of it outside of school sort.
    I’m also in favour of funding that appropriately so no one gets hurt because of bad equipment.
    But I guess that’s not the kind of high school sport we’re talking about, right?

  2. 2
    jand

    Totally agree. Period.

  3. 3
    consciousness razor

    I actually approve of high school sports.
    But of a different kind.
    The healthy exercise for kids who get less and less of it outside of school sort.
    I’m also in favour of funding that appropriately so no one gets hurt because of bad equipment.
    But I guess that’s not the kind of high school sport we’re talking about, right?

    Nope….

    Even in eighth grade, American kids spend more than twice the time Korean kids spend playing sports, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Advanced Academics. In countries with more-holistic, less hard-driving education systems than Korea’s, like Finland and Germany, many kids play club sports in their local towns—outside of school. Most schools do not staff, manage, transport, insure, or glorify sports teams, because, well, why would they?

    Yet you wouldn’t find American kids are healthier. Probably less so because of their diets, despite being better able to afford healthy food.

    Anyway, “sport(s)” is not synonymous with “exercise.” Sports involve competition. In the US, students take physical education (PE) classes, which are about getting exercise, learning about health, etc. That’s not what anyone is referring to when they’re talking about “sports” or “athletics” programs. People are in extracurricular sports teams (or in individual competitions, depending on the sport), on top of any PE classes they have to take.

  4. 4
    00001000bit

    As a parent of elementary/middle-school aged kids, I also notice an earlier push into sports compared to when I was a kid.

    It seems now kids are almost required to pick “their sport” at an elementary-school age, as the sports season is no longer contained to the typical couple month window during which they normally compete. You see travel leagues (parents going to regular competitions hours-away for 9-year olds) that host “training clinics” during the off-season. Instead of allowing a kid to play in all sports in which they are interested, they are pushed to excel in one. The kids who don’t are viewed as “not being serious” and left on the sidelines.

    Rather than using sports to foster an interest in general physical well-being, they are pushing the sport itself as the end goal. While I agree that many people will learn good life lessons (teamwork, etc.) from playing sports, the goal should not be to be a training mill to turn out professional athletes.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    In countries with more-holistic, less hard-driving education systems than Korea’s, like Finland and Germany, many kids play club sports in their local towns—outside of school. Most schools do not staff, manage, transport, insure, or glorify sports teams, because, well, why would they?

    Yep, only that indeed more and more people can’t afford to send their kids to the sports clubs, school days are getting longer so there’s often no time* and that sports clubs, too become more and more about competition, competition, conpetition instead of kids getting exercise and having fun.
    The results are often injuries and frustrated kids (because there’s only going to be one team that wins the championship).
    * I have troubles fitting my daughter’s one hour of ballet class each week into her timetable and she’s in first grade

  6. 6
    burgundy

    In the US, students take physical education (PE) classes, which are about getting exercise, learning about health, etc.

    Oh, how I wish. My experience with PE classes was that they just reinforced competitive sports culture. Kids who already knew how to play the game in question would do well, the rest of us would suck at it, and it would never change because no one ever actually taught us how to swing a bat/kick a ball/whatever. And then we’d have these physical evaluations that we’d never really been prepared for. What’s the point of seeing how many pull-ups I can do when you’ve never done anything in class to improve upper-body strength? In elementary school I twisted my ankle because part of the “obstacle course” we had to go through involved sliding down a pole. I didn’t have the first clue how to slide down a pole. How could I? I’d never done it before. In middle school I sprained my arm because we were doing “gymnastics” and it takes more than someone explaining it to you once to learn how to do a somersault after diving over a couple of people.

    Sorry, I’m a little bitter. No one in my immediate family is into sports or is at all physically inclined. If I had ever had anyone actually try to teach me any of this stuff, maybe I would have found a physical activity that I enjoyed doing. People talk about the concept of giving trophies to all kids in a sport as though it’s the stupidest thing in the world, but there’s a place for that mindset. Even kids who will never be great should be encouraged to play. If the only thing that matters is winning, and there’s no attention paid to non-competitive exercise, then only a small percentage of kids will have any motivation to be physically active.

  7. 7
    rogerfirth

    I’m reminded of a commercial that used to play on TV when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area (waaaay too long ago). It was a shot of a hockey goalie, with shot after shot getting by him. He was falling all over the place and every shot was a goal. The voiceover went something like this: “Dr. XXX, chemistry processor at XX State University (University of …??)” and proceeded to list all his accomplishments, awards, papers, accolades, etc. And then it ended: “XXX State University, XX years and still no sports program.”

  8. 8
    badboybotanist

    My mother has recently become an elementary PE teacher (she is nominally the school counselor, but the ever-shrinking budget has forced a number of hats onto her head) and her experience is that a very large percentage of kids just don’t equate physical activity with fun anymore. Even when they are playing active games that (to me) sound appealing to kids, many of them just whine or try to find excuses not to participate. Sadly, the parents will often come to school to back the kids up and say that their precious snowflake shouldn’t be forced to join in.

  9. 9
    consciousness razor

    00001000bit:

    The kids who don’t are viewed as “not being serious” and left on the sidelines.

    Part of it is also that there often isn’t enough time, for the kids or the parents, to manage everything else. It’s not just time that could be spent on homework. My siblings rarely have enough time to cook and clean and watch after their other kids, much less have some social life of their own or private free time, because they’re always on the move going to a game or practice or fundraiser. So it’s routine that other family/friends help with babysitting/etc., just so they can get by with only one sport.

    Rather than using sports to foster an interest in general physical well-being, they are pushing the sport itself as the end goal. While I agree that many people will learn good life lessons (teamwork, etc.) from playing sports, the goal should not be to be a training mill to turn out professional athletes.

    I doubt how much teamwork is reinforced, given how competitive it is. I recall, when I was in band class, how much more I learned (about teamwork, among other things) in non-competitive exhibitions. In those kinds of events, there was more of a focus on spending time with judges so they could give feedback that might actually be helpful. It was like having access to a bunch of new “coaches” who could offer a fresh perspective from the band teacher, partly because what they were seeing/hearing was brand new to them too. Compare that to “learning” how many trophies we won in a competition: I personally never learned a damn thing from that.

    And going back to my sibling’s case, I’ve certainly noticed a “mill to turn out professional athletes” side to it. I hear the kids mulling through which colleges to attend based on what their coaches say about the sports programs. They’d have a great shot at being the star of the team, if they went to community college X! Well, that’s good, but is X a good school? Are they even accredited? Are you checking any of that? Does it even matter to you what you plan on studying?

    And how likely is this trajectory, anyway? star of high school team -> star of community college team -> professional athlete ….Does anyone sincerely believe that, or is it just bullshit?

  10. 10
    Inaji

    Look at that, a school being a school. The emphasis on sports in the States is seriously unhealthy, and the roots of it do go back a very long way, and are seen as the one healthy way to raise “red-blooded ‘merican men” these days. A lot of things which are culturally bad aren’t going to change until sports culture changes, and a good start in that respect is to stop allowing sports to swallow schools whole.

  11. 11
    consciousness razor

    Oh, how I wish. My experience with PE classes was that they just reinforced competitive sports culture.

    Sorry, I agree. I should’ve said that’s what they’re supposed to be about. I was just trying to clarify the distinction between “exercise in school” and “sports programs,” but of course our sports culture blurs that a lot.

  12. 12
    redwood

    I did football and track & field in high school and learned a lot from them. The first thing I learned in football was that if I used the right technique, I could knock someone down. That seems silly, but it gave me a confidence about my body I didn’t have before. The last thing I learned in football was that I hated it and the coaches were mostly idiots, trying to foster a “hate them” mentality that I thought was wrong. That was a good lesson as well. In track & field, there weren’t any coaches for my fields (shot and discus), so I trained on my own, making up regimens that seemed appropriate. I also found out that I made my best throws when I wasn’t trying to. That taught me a lot about effort and also about discipline, as well as about teaching/learning as I went on to become an educator. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have been as successful a person as I am now had I not participated in high school sports.
    This doesn’t mean they are perfect and that it’s possible that I could have done just as well playing sports outside of school (had there been such programs in my small town), but I do think that the ideal would be for schools to have enough money to do academic programs and extra-curricular programs too, not only sports but music and art and even home economics and industrial arts (shop), all of which I participated in as a junior high and high school student. Why can’t we do it all, like we used to?

  13. 13
    Inaji

    CR:

    I doubt how much teamwork is reinforced, given how competitive it is.

    Yeah, this. I was swim/dive teams in high school, and teamwork was seriously emphasized in swim team, but there’s still intense pressure to be stellar, to be the best, and of course, the competition to be one of the captains was close to insane. Dive team was all competition, all the time. That was all about being a star.

    All that said, swim team was one of the *less* competitive team sports going.

  14. 14
    kantalope

    I’m going to have to disagree on the not paying professional college athletes. Everyone else is making money: TV networks, the coaches, the school president – but the students are taking the risks. One hit and it is everything from having knee pain for the rest of your life to dying. And for what? Tuition? A $200 math book they will never open? The athletes should be paid – like any employee. The professional football and basketball teams seem pretty successful and they are paying their employees what they are worth. It is a risk benefit thing. And the athletes are the only ones taking the risks.
    The idea that paying the athletes somehow skews the purpose of the school…well, that boat has sailed. College sports are big business and it is time that the low-end employees start getting some of the cash.

    As for the high schools info, the cost per participant data does not really give a complete picture. How often is the $1300 per football player also the $1000 per basketball player and the $1000 per baseball player? The other students are subsidizing an elite few to a larger extent than just a per participant number indicates.

  15. 15
    Rey Fox

    Well, what else are people going to do on Friday night?

    Can’t help but notice that athletics only got cut after there was nearly nothing else to cut.

  16. 16
    timgueguen

    The treatment of high school sports is one of the interesting differences between the Canadian and US cultures. We do have high school sports teams, but they don’t get anywhere near the kind of money, or attention, that they do in the US. In most cases if there was a major funding crunch it would be the sports program that would probably get cut. This continues into the universities. Again, there are sports teams, and they get quite a bit more attention and money than the high school level, but again they don’t dominate the operations of the schools involved as they do in the States.

    Having said that part of the reason for this is because hockey, still the dominant pro sport in Canada, doesn’t use the high schools or universities as its primary recruitment ground. Rather the teenagers that are the most likely to end up as pro hockey players play n the various junior hockey leagues. The top level of these, the major junior leagues, are actually considered to be pro leagues by the NCAA, although not by Canadian schools, and cannot play on US university teams. If high school hockey teams played the same role high school football teams do in the US we’d probably have more of a problem with high school sports up here.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    kantalope:

    I’m going to have to disagree on the not paying professional college athletes. Everyone else is making money: TV networks, the coaches, the school president – but the students are taking the risks.

    No problem then, remove sports from colleges altogether. If someone loves X sport so much, clubs can be formed outside of schools, which are supposed to be about learning. All you’ve done is to illustrate that sports aren’t being done for “love of the game” or all that crap, but in the hope of gaining mass amounts of money.

    Oh, and athletes being paid what they are worth? Please.

  18. 18
    PZ Myers

    The claim that school sports are for the benefit of the students’ health is nonsense. They don’t work that way. The article points out that only a small percentage of the students get any advantage.

    From my personal experience, it actually undermines that benefit. The physical ed courses we had to take were a joke: they were always split into the jocks (the kids who were in team sports) and the rest of us, and we were mainly there to be the butt of jokes by the jocks and the coaches, who treated us like dirt while heaping praise on the star athletes.

    You didn’t dare try harder. The one time I decided to have fun and push myself a bit in PE, playing basketball and actually doing reasonably well against the jocks (this particular class was heavy on football players), one of them decided to take me out the only way he knew how, and tackled me. In a basketball game. He took me out as I was making a jump shot, slamming into my knees from the side. He totally wrecked my left knee, dislocating it, and I spent the next three months in a hip-to-ankle cast.

    The coach high-fived my attacker as he ambled over to see why I was screaming.

    That was the culture at my high school. The football players could do no wrong.

    The one time I tried out for team sports (because my father wanted me to, and because I thought I’d actually enjoy it), I went to the baseball field on the day of their information meeting, and the coach took me aside and told me to not even bother to suit up — I was a skinny little nerd who’d never make the cut. I had no interest in being on the competitive teams, I just wanted to play for fun, and I was discouraged.

    And forget about most college sports. Small schools like UMM, it’s more reasonably managed, but at the big schools, like the University of Washington, the football players are a breed apart, given special privileges, special living quarters, special meals. They aren’t part of the university experience, they’re prepping for the pros.

  19. 19
    PZ Myers

    Hey, kantaloupe, how about if they go to college to get an education? Like the rest of us?

    Novel idea, I know.

  20. 20
    unbound

    So a couple of thoughts from my personal experience (I have kids across college, high school and middle school, and I have fought with the school board on several occasions over the past 15 years).

    Our county during a budget crisis a year ago was threatening to severely curtail sports (but not cut them outright). More people protested at the school board than even the redistricting fights that the county is famous for (which overcrowds the school board meeting room regularly). Virtually no one protested cuts to other programs such as fine arts. As much as we want to blame the school system starving for money, the majority of parents are just as much to blame (at least in my area).

    The other thing I noticed with sports is that you can get into much better colleges if you have a good GPA and are an athlete. One of the people that works for me has a daughter with a 4.1x GPA (so she has a few college level courses under her belt from high school) who couldn’t get into Duke. Yet her friend, with a 3.3 GPA was able to get into Duke because she plays volleyball. Something is definitely amiss here. While I admire an athlete that can do decent in school, they should not be knocking people out who lack athletic ability which is as much or more genetic (to get into a Division I school) as it is hard work.

    Before someone accuses me of sour grapes, my daughter is a very gifted athlete with a high GPA, so she’ll be able to use the system to the fullest and is under consideration by several Division I schools (although she is actually strongly considering a Division III school based on educational programs offered, so no athletic scholarships…she would have to get academic scholarships only). She doesn’t work out multiple hours per day, so her amazing speed (well above the top 1% for her age and gender) is definitely genetic. Other students shouldn’t be penalized getting into college for something they weren’t born with.

  21. 21
    magistramarla

    “Texas was smarter than Minnesota. Our local schools had a budget problem a few years ago; they gutted a fantastic theater program in response. They still have a football team, so I guess that wasn’t cut.”

    This jumped out at me as very wrong. Not Texas, but just this tiny little school district did something smarter than Minnesota in this instance.
    I live in San Antonio, Tx. and I used to teach here in a huge high school (over 3000 students). It is just one of the 12 or 13 high schools in the district. Sports are HUGE in all of the districts in this city. A ridiculous amount of money is spent on huge stadia, fields, equipment, coaches and staff, etc.
    There is a “no pass, no play” policy, but it is a joke. At the end of each grading period, we were sent an e-mail stressing that we should look at and re-think the grades of the athletes in our classes with a thought to how well these students represent our school and the district. In other words, we knew that we needed to change those Fs to Ds so that those athletes could continue playing. One of my colleagues referred to it as “spreading the end of grading period pixie dust on the grades”.
    My daughter recently had a run-in with her son’s high school swimming coach. The coach was trying to force the boy to choose between band and swim team, saying that he couldn’t do both. My daughter had attended a health careers oriented high school, where trying any sport or activity was encouraged so that the students would be more likely to find an outlet for lifelong fitness. She told the coach that she wanted her son to participate in both activities for this very reason.
    The coach reluctantly allowed him to try out for the team and seemed shocked at how well he performed. He’s been swimming on our local summer league team and loving it since he was 4 years old. He’s now doing both activities (as well as theater!) and is having a blast. That’s why I helped him with a couple of online courses this summer so that he would have room in his schedule. Our family has stressed to him that winning trophies is not important, but having fun, learning new things and being physically fit should be his goals.
    We are not the typical Texas family (probably because we’re not from here!). Most families here are very much into competitive sports and of course, football is king. I would love to see more emphasis on academics, with sports being an extra-curricular activity meant to be fun and a way to stay fit, but I don’t see that happening in most of Texas.

  22. 22
    consciousness razor

    kantalope, #14:

    I’m going to have to disagree on the not paying professional college athletes.

    Uh, this is meaningless. Pick one or the other: professional athletes or college athletes.

    Everyone else is making money: TV networks, the coaches, the school president – but the students are taking the risks.

    Okay, so you mean students. In other words, non-professionals.

    One hit and it is everything from having knee pain for the rest of your life to dying. And for what? Tuition?

    They’re not getting tuition money for doing well in school, that’s for sure…

    A $200 math book they will never open?

    Indeed, why would anyone open such a vile thing? How very reasonable of you.

    The athletes should be paid – like any employee.

    They’re not employees. They’re “students,” going there (ostensibly) to study.

    The professional football and basketball teams seem pretty successful and they are paying their employees what they are worth.

    Define “success.” Also do it specifically for a college or university.

    It is a risk benefit thing. And the athletes are the only ones taking the risks.

    You think they’re paid so much, entirely because of the risk of injury? How very reasonable of you.

    Also, an economist would not agree with you that the only ones taking a risk are the athletes. There are these people called “investors,” you see….

    The idea that paying the athletes somehow skews the purpose of the school…well, that boat has sailed.

    You’ve said so many absurd fucking things, that I feel like I ought to inform you that colleges are not boats. Anyway, I think the point long ago sailed way over your head.

  23. 23
    burgundy

    The other thing I noticed with sports is that you can get into much better colleges if you have a good GPA and are an athlete. One of the people that works for me has a daughter with a 4.1x GPA (so she has a few college level courses under her belt from high school) who couldn’t get into Duke. Yet her friend, with a 3.3 GPA was able to get into Duke because she plays volleyball.

    This is (one of the reasons) why people who bleat about including race in college admission decisions piss me off so much. They don’t seem to have a problem with legacy students or athletes getting preferential treatment.

    (And to be fair: there were a lot of kids who worked harder than I did whose GPAs and SAT scores were lower than mine. There are many different kinds of unearned abilities and privileges. The problem with different standards for athletes is not that physical ability is genetic to whatever extent; the problem is that it is not relevant to getting a good education.)

  24. 24
    sarah00

    As someone from outside the States, I find the fanaticism that US high school and college sports attracts truly bizarre. I’ve never attended a sports match for my school (except when participating) and I’ve no idea of any of the sports teams at any of the universities I’ve attended (I’m a bit of a perennial student!). The only university-level sports that gets any sort of wider attention would probably be the Oxford-Cambridge boatrace and that’s only because it’s been going on for so long and is shown on TV. Though I doubt anyone outside of the teams and their friends could name the rowers.

    @kantalope, under the present circumstances I get your point but I think the larger question is why are college sport so lucrative? Other countries are able to produce professional-level athletes without the need to send them all to college. That’s not to say there aren’t scholarships for athletic students, but they don’t seem to have the status that they do in the US, and certainly don’t have the expectation that they will lead to a career in that sport.

    I don’t understand how the system works so this may be a stupid question, but what if you’re not academic? What if you’re a great basketball player but just not academically inclined. Do you still have to go to college to get noticed? I get the impression from reading stuff online and from films/tv (which may well be biasing my view) that college athletes are not necessarily expected to do particularly well academically. If this is the case, why bother with college at all?

    And in case I’m giving the impression that other countries tackle the sports/academic balance better than the US, my school experience pretty much parallels everyone else’s here. Team sports where all the sporty people were encouraged and everyone else pretty much sidelined. I tried for the netball team and was on the b-team, but never got picked to play any matches and as practice was after school (so I missed my bus and had to have my mum pick me up, causing a lot of inconvenience for little pay-off) after a term or so I quit. I have no idea how to exercise and despite quite enjoying sports the lack of encouragement means that since leaving school I’ve done very little of either.

  25. 25
    narciblog

    Hey, kantaloupe, how about if they go to college to get an education? Like the rest of us?

    For one thing, I’m told that a lot of these students wouldn’t be able to afford to go to college if it weren’t for the football scholarship. And, yes, there are lowered academic standards for them and the usual Rocks for Jocks geology classes, which cheapens the university. (I was lucky enough to go to an elite Southern private university where some of the football team was smarter than I was, but I don’t think that’s typical.)

    I have to agree with kantaloupe. At the college level, the athletic programs are essentially part of the entertainment industry. The universities and NCAA and whatnot make a fortune off the effort and risk borne by the players. Oh, you got injured and can’t play anymore? Sorry, there goes your scholarship.

    Money poisons everything. If it were a matter of eliminating the entertainment industry part of the athletics program, and letting these athletes play the game for the love of the game and be students as well, I’d be all for that. But that’s not going to happen. Until then, yes, I think they should get some piece of the pie they participate in.

    Here, at the University of Illinois, there has been a small scandal as the president of the university just got a $90,000 bonus on top of his $450,000-ish salary. That’s considerably less than his predecessor, who resigned stepped down as president to take a cushy faculty position after a scandal. The football coach makes $1,600,000 a year. After his second year, he got a $200,000 a year raise.

  26. 26
    Inaji

    narciblog:

    At the college level, the athletic programs are essentially part of the entertainment industry.

    The point, which is whooshing overhead, is that they shouldn’t be, and most certainly don’t need to be.

  27. 27
    redwood

    PZ, that’s a terrible experience you had in school. That kid the tackled you should have been punished. I was a mix of athlete and scholar, so the sports kids didn’t quite know what to make of me and ended up leaving me alone for the most part. My friends were the nerds and band kids. But there was never any kind of animosity like you described at your school. Maybe because we didn’t have particularly strong sports programs, jocks weren’t treated much differently than regular kids in PE and some of the farm boys who didn’t play sports could have beat the crap out of some of the athletes anyway. Of course, this was 40 years ago, so I’m sure there have been many changes since.

  28. 28
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I don’t like putting harm reduction and harm elimination in direct conflict. Ending rape is not in conflict with providing support for victims/survivors. Ending drug addiction is not in conflict with providing support for addicted persons. And ending the current school-distorting regime is not in conflict with paying student-athletes.

    I am in favor of the #APU movement. I doubt I’m in favor for all the same reasons, as I would like to see no more government support for athletic entertainment. But the NCAA actually forbids students from taking paid jobs – and even if it didn’t, the schedule of coursework and football or basketball is so demanding as to make it ridiculous to expect someone to pile a paid job on top. A stipend for food and free housing is not at all unreasonable.

    The stipend should be the same for all athletes, based on the practice, travel, & competition schedule of the sport. Students from those sports that expect 48 hours a week from student athletes should get the same as some lesser number, maybe 28-32 hours. But at some point below that, the stipend can be lessened as it becomes more reasonable to expect a student to fit work into a week. Stipends can be minimized through use of on campus housing and food, but shouldn’t be eliminated even when the cafeteria is available for 21 means per week: every once in a while you’re far from your cafeteria and need to eat. That shouldn’t be made into a rules violation that threatens the student’s eligibility and scholarship.

    Moreover, the students are right that when their names and likenesses are used to make money (such as in college-football video games) the NCAA is wrong to keep more than an agent’s fee.

    Finally, the rules are constructed in such a way [particularly the rule against outside work] that it makes lying, cheating, and stealing normal. If that’s what you’re teaching students, you’re doing it wrong. Making sure that reasonable flexibility in meeting one’s needs is possible within the rules is just practical.

    ========
    Finally, that is all about college, but the OP was about high school.

    I have nothing but contempt for schools that “can’t afford” music programs but spend money on football stadia.

  29. 29
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Crap, I implied it with my intro, but I didn’t state it directly:

    I am in favor of the elimination of collegiate entertainment-sports. I just think that there’s a huge monied interest that will take time to defeat in public debate. Many people will change their minds slowly, if at all. To oppose paying reasonable student stipends where students are forbidden from working or reasonably precluded from putting in the hours because we are in favor of this long-term elimination of education subsidizing entertainment is, I think, wrong.

  30. 30
    hoku

    The reason to pay college football players is because of the extremely exploitative nature of college football. You get a free ride to college, but now your expected to spend all your time practicing. You earn millions for your school, and yet if you want to make a single penny off the your image, name, or body, you get banned (e,g, the player who was also a rapper). If you get hurt playing, or just aren’t as good as they thought, they cancel your scholarship. If you do something they consider wrong, you have very little recourse (e.g. the player who took doctor prescribed steroids in highschool to help recover from shoulder surgery, suspended three years in college).

    At the very least they should allow players to profit from their images. No money from the school, but the kids benefit from their success. They should also guarantee the scholarships for a full four years.

    Most college football teams are extremely profitable. They then funnel the profits back into things like renovations, salaries, and other things designed to hide that profit and allow them to get a “donation” from the school. It should really just be investigated for the fraud that it is.

    Fun fact, I went to school in one of the ten states where a college coach is not the highest paid public employee.

  31. 31
    hoku

    Also, full agreement with CD @ 29.

  32. 32
    Travis

    The claim that school sports are for the benefit of the students’ health is nonsense. They don’t work that way. The article points out that only a small percentage of the students get any advantage.

    Someone always seems to make this claim whenever the topic of school sports is brought up. I do not understand why anyone thinks it helps student health. That thought is so disconnected from reality that I have to wonder if the people making it actually believe it, or if it is just a line they use to convince others.

    As I Canadian I find the US obsession and culture of school sports to be extremely bizarre (I should admit in find sports fandom in general to be pretty ludicrous as well). My high school had a few sports teams and they usually did well, winning provincial titles on a regular basis (it was also a pretty huge school in a small province, probably helps), but honestly, very few people cared and while there might be a little noise if they tried to shut the program down, I doubt it would be all that big. There simply was not that much attachment to the sports teams. My university also had a fairly successful group of teams but in much the same way, no one particularly cared, they did not go to games, one could easily coast through their time their and rarely even be aware there was a sports program.

  33. 33
    Anthony K

    The claim that school sports are for the benefit of the students’ health is nonsense. They don’t work that way. The article points out that only a small percentage of the students get any advantage.

    From my personal experience, it actually undermines that benefit. The physical ed courses we had to take were a joke: they were always split into the jocks (the kids who were in team sports) and the rest of us, and we were mainly there to be the butt of jokes by the jocks and the coaches, who treated us like dirt while heaping praise on the star athletes.

    You didn’t dare try harder. The one time I decided to have fun and push myself a bit in PE, playing basketball and actually doing reasonably well against the jocks (this particular class was heavy on football players), one of them decided to take me out the only way he knew how, and tackled me. In a basketball game. He took me out as I was making a jump shot, slamming into my knees from the side. He totally wrecked my left knee, dislocating it, and I spent the next three months in a hip-to-ankle cast.

    The coach high-fived my attacker as he ambled over to see why I was screaming.

    That was the culture at my high school. The football players could do no wrong.

    The one time I tried out for team sports (because my father wanted me to, and because I thought I’d actually enjoy it), I went to the baseball field on the day of their information meeting, and the coach took me aside and told me to not even bother to suit up — I was a skinny little nerd who’d never make the cut. I had no interest in being on the competitive teams, I just wanted to play for fun, and I was discouraged.

    To me, this is the problem, not the physical activity per se. (And if the skeptic/atheist/tech/STEM communities have taught us anything, it’s that this kind of bullying is by no means the exclusive domain of physically talented youngsters.) There are tonnes of ways we can get young students to move their bodies without using them to service the professional sport industries.

  34. 34
    Travis

    Another argument I often run into is that sports programs allow poor kids a chance to go to university. I am not exactly convinced when I hear that, it is just yet another sign of a broken system that needs to be changed. A very small number of students are going to make it at that level and get scholarships. It is a miserable way to improve education levels.

  35. 35
    Anthony K

    As I Canadian I find the US obsession and culture of school sports to be extremely bizarre (I should admit in find sports fandom in general to be pretty ludicrous as well). My high school had a few sports teams and they usually did well, winning provincial titles on a regular basis (it was also a pretty huge school in a small province, probably helps), but honestly, very few people cared and while there might be a little noise if they tried to shut the program down, I doubt it would be all that big. There simply was not that much attachment to the sports teams. My university also had a fairly successful group of teams but in much the same way, no one particularly cared, they did not go to games, one could easily coast through their time their and rarely even be aware there was a sports program.

    Oh, I think sports is bigger up here than that. I think the difference is that it’s much easier for people like you and I to bypass sports culture in high school and university. If you want to go to games, you find out when they are and go them, I guess.

  36. 36
    kantalope

    Razor – I think perhaps you should re-read my post and maybe wake up and smell the reality. (PZ too I’m afraid.) Sure, student athletes maybe should go to school for an education only, maybe schools should deemphasize sports, maybe the highest paid guy on campus should be the educator who does the most educating….but they aren’t. If, for everyone else involved, college sports is a big money making enterprise — then the people actually providing the content should get a cut of the pie.

    Uh, this is meaningless. Pick one or the other: professional athletes or college athletes.

    The athletes at modern athletic colleges are not just some random students that wander onto the football field. These people are recruited, they work (workout) on full-time schedules, the only way in which they are not actual professional athletes is because they are not paid – which is my point. Ought this be the way it is? Not my point. This is the way it is.

    Okay, so you mean students. In other words, non-professionals.

    The only reason that I mentioned that they are students is because that is how the language works at the moment. Would scare quotes have made it more clear? How many coaches are injured during the course of the game? How many during the season? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a college president decked by a blindside blitz. Maybe it happens but it does not make the highlight reels on ESPN. But your snark does not fix the fact that the “so called student athletes” are the ones facing injury and are the only ones not making a ton of money on the project.

    Next two or three snarky remark – I’m not saying “the professional student athlete at today’s modern university” should not open a book and should not try to do well in school – I am saying that is not the reality of the situation. They ARE there to play sports and bring in money.

    Define success of sports franchises – is this a genuine point of contention? Fine, citation provided: http://www.sportscareerconsulting.com/blog/how-accurate-are-forbes-franchise-values/

    The investors are also taking risks: right, so many university regents are at risk of losing everything, on every play, that it’s a miracle they can sit in the executive box and drink their champagne. College Presidents are always filing for bankruptcy after a couple of poor showings at the NCAA’s. Sponsoring the Rose Bowl has ended so many advertising careers it is a miracle that anyone would take the chance. Pfiffle – investment at the pro-level is next to risk free (see previous citation) – investors risk at the college level is even lower, because: what investors?

    And as for colleges are not boats…I had not realized. But the fact that college sports IS big business is a FACT http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/dollars/post/_/id/3163/a-comparison-conference-television-deals. And as that is reality, the profits going to everyone but the “professional athlete students” is a crock.

    (and just so you know (like colleges are not boats…ideas don’t really sail – they are not made of cloth and such – so maybe you should not say such silly things if you really don’t understand them.)

  37. 37
    Anthony K

    it is just yet another sign of a broken system that needs to be changed…It is a miserable way to improve education levels.

    Yup.

  38. 38
    Anthony K

    wake up and smell the reality
    But the fact that college sports IS big business is a FACT

    We’re all aware of the status quo, so no need to shout that it exists. What we’re talking about here are the problems with the current state and solutions, potential or observed.

  39. 39
    dratheism

    “US schools are weird places where athletes, not scholars, are the stars”
    As a high school student, I would have to disagree with you there. While that may have been true in high schools in the past, nowadays students are far more accepting of intelligent peers. In fact, at least in my experience, students who do well in academics are fairly popular these days.

  40. 40
    ledasmom

    Once again I am relieved that my sons inherited their father’s coordination (that is to say, not too good). Combined with a certain lack of interest on the part of their parents, it means sports even on the high-school level was never going to be an option for them.
    To hell with sports, anyway. I can no longer summon more than a mild interest in the doings of my local teams; sports don’t make sense to me, and I certainly don’t understand why so much as a penny is spent on competitive sports in any school. That is, I understand the reasons why it exists; I just don’t understand how it makes enough sense to anyone that it manages to continue.

  41. 41
    left0ver1under

    High school sports were no source of fond memory for me. The focus at my school was on games that I hate (volleyball and basketball), games the school and community considered “important” in provincial and national high school tournaments. Fortunately, those aren’t expensive sports and the teams usually had to raise their own money to travel, not paid for by the school.

    Intramural school sports were no better. Rugby? Soccer? Boooooooring. And anything I did want to play in local leagues, hockey, baseball or football, my parents wouldn’t fork out for because they didn’t consider them to be sports. Typical Brits.

    I may never have gotten to play or try sports I wanted to and was never competitive at those I did, but compared to the horror stories some people are relating in this thread (abuse, bullying, etc.), I got off lightly and will never complain about it again. And as a MAMIL (look it up) who rides my own age in kilometres several times per week, more than most people half my age could do, I have no regrets.

  42. 42
    Nick Gotts

    If, for everyone else involved, college sports is a big money making enterprise — then the people actually providing the content should get a cut of the pie. – kantalope

    So, if the colleges were running online credit card phishing scams and selling the credit card details, for example, you’d be saying that since that’s “the reality of the situation”, everyone should “wake up and smell the reality”, and the students doing the programming should be getting a cut of the proceeds.

  43. 43
    Inaji

    dratheism:

    As a high school student,

    As such, perhaps you should realize your experience is limited, and the culture in your particular area and school may well being doing better in the face of larger culture where athletics are concerned.

  44. 44
    sbuh

    I guess I’ll pitch my two cents in with the people saying that yeah, ideally we’d like to scrap the circus that is collegiate sports altogether, but until such time as that becomes a feasible goal, there’s nothing wrong with urging that athletes should be compensated. If you find paying them distasteful, though, how about something like setting up an injury fund for the benefit of those who get knocked out of being able to play but still want to finish the education they started?

  45. 45
    consciousness razor

    Razor – I think perhaps you should re-read my post and maybe wake up and smell the reality.

    I did. I’m saying it fucking stinks.

    Sure, student athletes maybe should go to school for an education only,

    I didn’t say “only.” I’ve never claimed we should ban sports. I’m happy today just to refute your ridiculous bullshit.

  46. 46
    Inaji

    Monitor Note: please use nyms a/o comment numbers when replying, and quoting properly helps tremendously when it comes to reading posts.

    HANDY HTML:

    To quote someone, use <blockquote>Place Text Here</blockquote>:

    Place Text Here

    To bold words, use <b>Text</b>

    To italicize words, use <i>Text</i>

  47. 47
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Why don’t they just split colleges into academia and sports. Let the athletes train and compete and all that (and pay them a stipend) over on one side of the campus, and have the students and classes and stuff over here on the other side of the campus? Recognize the true nature of the schism and acknowledge it outright instead of trying to sweep it under the rug by hiding it under the academic curtain {to mix metaphors, sorry} {sorry to propose an unfeasible solution}

    On the other, umm, fist, I think back to my days at MIT, where they (the admins) rejoiced in the fact that they had no varsity football team, but added, they had the most varsity teams (of all other sports) of any college in America, and no sports scholarships even. And how the “nerds” would always “hack” (i.e. sabotage) the famed Harvard/Yale football game. Even at MIT (the ‘Tute), sports played too big a part in our nerds’ life.

    I know the OP was about High School sports, I apologize. But to me HS sports barely existed (but for the Saturdays I would sit in the stands with the marching band). Isn’t athletic scholarship an oxymoron (or simply “moronic” to begin with)?

  48. 48
    consciousness razor

    I guess I’ll pitch my two cents in with the people saying that yeah, ideally we’d like to scrap the circus that is collegiate sports altogether, but until such time as that becomes a feasible goal, there’s nothing wrong with urging that athletes should be compensated.

    They are. Apparently getting a full ride isn’t enough, even when others could get their scholarship money for, you know, academics. But who really wants to go to school and open a fucking math book, am I right? Since when (that is, in “reality”) has that been what schools are for?

  49. 49
    Inaji

    sbuh:

    how about something like setting up an injury fund for the benefit of those who get knocked out of being able to play but still want to finish the education they started?

    This assumes they wanted an actual education in the first place. For those looking to pull down millions of dollars a year for star status, how would that be compensation?

    People seem to have missed how many universities give weight to athletic ability over intellectual capacity. There wouldn’t be compensation for missing out on a fabled athletic career, which is another reason for schools to be schools. There is no reason for this shit to be in schools in the first place.

    Outside sports clubs would function in the manner you all want, and leave schools to the business of providing an education. Those of you who think athletes should be paid, you should be agitating to follow the example of other countries, with outside sports clubs. That way, there could be compensation, and all those who dream of being an athletic star could do just that, without pretending to want an education.

  50. 50
    sbuh

    What’s with the passive-aggressive hostility? I didn’t suggest that they shouldn’t worry about studying or anything to that effect. You seem to have taken your frustration at another poster here out on me and ascribed to me everything you think that person believes rather unfairly.

  51. 51
    sbuh

    That last comment was addressed to razor.

  52. 52
    Robert B.

    The way college athletes are treated is flatly exploitative. College football is a huge moneymaking operation, and the athletes are the ones who make it happen (with no small effort and no small risk, as people have mentioned), but they don’t get any of the money.

    Frankly it never occurred to me that the whole system should be scrapped. Now that it’s brought to mind, that seems obviously correct and obviously impossible. Football is important to high schools in Texas, but not as important as it is to colleges, and even the high school only scrapped their sports in an emergency. The fact that it made the news tells me that most other schools who faced similar emergencies (I don’t doubt there are plenty) didn’t make the same decision.

    I support drastic reform (or “gutting,” to be more descriptive and less kind) for school sports programs, because the right thing to do doesn’t change just because no one will agree to it. But since we’re not going to do that, the schools should at least pay the poor kids rather than taking advantage of them for profit and fame.

  53. 53
    Inaji

    Monitor Note

    sbuh @ 50:

    What’s with the passive-aggressive hostility?

    Please, feel free to argue your socks off, but avoid statements/questions like this. They assume a state not in evidence, and simply aren’t helpful. It helps to recognize that sports are one of those subjects which engender much passion, on all sides of the fence. Thank you.

  54. 54
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Nick Gotts:

    We don’t live in a community where well over 90% of persons think phishing scams are a moral neutral or moral positive, with 80% or more thinking of them as certainly a moral positive.

    A better example would be cars. The US places a large social value on cars, even though there is some significant minority that thinks cars are a moral evil. Would we advocate that persons working their way through college at an auto-plant shouldn’t get paid? No, we would have concerns about the work interfering with scholarship, concerns if the universities subsidized the auto plants, concerns if students were chosen for skill on the assembly line and not skills at scholarship, and other concerns similar to the current system, but we wouldn’t have a problem with the students being paid.

    If there was a noticeable minority of people who, instead of getting a direct wage, got guaranteed tuition for their work in the autoplant, we might wish to shut down the auto plant (or turn it into a plant producing near-zev’s), but until such time as that occurs, we wouldn’t advocate continuing a regime of economic insecurity where students were forced to eat on the weekends an other times the cafeteria isn’t available, go to movies, socialize, catch a bus home, etc. all on $87/ month. Especially not one where, if the student made a you-tube video that netted them $30 the student lost the scholarship bestowed by the auto plant.

    The current scheme is unjust in many ways. We can uproot it, and I hope we will. But the athletes themselves are advocating for a fund to be set up for students to return to school after their athletic eligibility ends, reasonable stipends that allows for things like gas & bus rides home as well as flexibility in eating, medical funds for long term care of serious injury sustained on behalf of the sport, and a few other reforms.

    I say we listen to them about harm reduction while we fight for an upended system that reflects our educational values and senses of justice.

  55. 55
    sbuh

    Caine, Fleur du mal

    This assumes they wanted an actual education in the first place. For those looking to pull down millions of dollars a year for star status, how would that be compensation?

    Now it just seems like you’re assuming the worst about an entire class of people. There are surely athletes who realize that they’re not going to go pro, and there are some who think they could but still want an education.

    There is no reason for this shit to be in schools in the first place.

    I agree. And I’ll continue to agitate to cleave athletics from academics. But long-term goals shouldn’t preclude short-term pragmatism.

    I remember having arguments with Libertarians on the gay marriage issue where they insisted that “the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all.” While I disagreed, I didn’t fault them for believing that was the best solution. I simply thought that it was incorrect to use their ideal solution as a pretext to ignore short-term, pragmatic solutions to marriage inequality. Like just granting homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals.

    Please, feel free to argue your socks off, but avoid statements/questions like this. They assume a state not in evidence, and simply aren’t helpful. It helps to recognize that sports are one of those subjects which engender much passion, on all sides of the fence. Thank you.

    I think it’s pretty obvious though from the language used that consciousness_razor was simply arguing with and bludgeoning me with sarcastic representations of statements made by someone else. This isn’t about being “passionate.” It’s about putting words in my mouth because of tribalistic reasoning.

  56. 56
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @Crip Dyke, #54:

    But the athletes themselves are advocating for a fund to be set up for students to return to school after their athletic eligibility ends, reasonable stipends that allows for things like gas & bus rides home as well as flexibility in eating, medical funds for long term care of serious injury sustained on behalf of the sport, and a few other reforms.

    That’s just insulting. Let me translate that into Not-Part-Of-Sports-Culture-Speak:

    “But the people who are often getting partially or totally free tuition, at a time when this usually means hundreds of thousands of dollars, and who claim to want an education at a college despite wasting huge amounts of time on sports, and who are usually given the benefit of lower admissions and grading standards, now want their lives to be subsidized even further, so that they don’t have to pay for the day-to-day expenses which ordinary students would cover by getting a job. In particular, they want to be reimbursed for expenses which would not exist if they weren’t playing sports.”

    Does that sound fair to you? It’s certainly accurate to the, you know, actual facts.

  57. 57
    consciousness razor

    sbuh, I wasn’t bludgeoning you with that. I figured my reference to kantalope’s comments (which you evidently got) were obvious. It was just sarcasm, because I’m feeling bitter, not directed at you or trying to put words in your mouth. Sorry that it came across that way.

    But like I said, they already are “compensated,” with athletics scholarships. That’s the premise, isn’t it? And there is insurance to pay for their healthcare in case of injuries (perhaps not enough — I don’t know). But if they’re hurt and can’t continue to play, should they get what amounts to an academic scholarship , despite the fact that their scholarship was not conditioned on academics (or financial need) in the first place? That’s money that could be given to someone else whose focus would be academics, on top of what they already got for their athletic scholarship which could’ve also gone to academic (and/or need-based) scholarships.

    Maybe it should be a full-ride for four (or five or six) years, with room and board and books and spending money, even if they only play for one semester before being injured. I couldn’t say why, but maybe that’s how it ought to be.

  58. 58
    doubtthat

    Graduate students are compensated for teaching services they provide the school. Students in graduate schools focusing on performance (dance, music) are compensated and are allowed to profit from anything they create.

    Student athletes in revenue generating sports (specifically football and basketball) should be paid for the service they provide just like other students. They should also have a revenue-sharing clause for all of the merchandise they sell and the lucrative athletic apparel contracts coaches receive because people will pay money to watch student athletes compete.

    If this was a discussion about rerouting money from the education portion of Universities to athletics, I would agree with you, but it’s about rerouting the money from coaches, athletic departments, and crusty old fucks at the NCAA to the students whose labor is brining in billions and billions of dollars nation wide.

  59. 59
    doubtthat

    And just to be clear, that post wasn’t meant to contradict the larger discussion about high schools. I agree with that. I had my college education paid in its entirety because I played baseball, and that was done largely in independently funded summer leagues. There were school teams, obviously, but if there were no high school sports programs, independent structures would quickly fill that void.

  60. 60
    doubtthat

    Final thought: I would argue that one of the better bits of social legislation passed over the last half century was Title IX. If schools give up their athletic programs, there will immediately be robust independent leagues for males.

    With the exception of a few more notable sports, I would seriously doubt that you would have anything resembling equal opportunity and little way to enforce something like Title IX.

  61. 61
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    so that they don’t have to pay for the day-to-day expenses which ordinary students would cover by getting a job. In particular, they want to be reimbursed for expenses which would not exist if they weren’t playing sports.”

    No. This isn’t my argument. Note that the NCAA bans student athletes from getting most jobs. In the past, this has resulted in sinecures from boosters who recognize that all the student-athlete’s time is pretty regimented. This system was clearly unfair and only benefited a few star athletes. As a result, however, vast numbers of athletes are barred from taking jobs.

    If you ban me from having a job, you’d better take care of my expenses.

    Further, “they want to be reimbursed for expenses which would not exist if they weren’t playing sports”. Excuse me? I advocated free medical care, or rather I endorsed the players’ advocacy of free medical care. I wouldn’t both advocating it if there was universal medical coverage in the states. If you’re making money off other people knowing that those people are inevitably going to incur some serious injuries, you have a moral duty to make sure those injuries are appropriately treated. In wage-paying jobs we do this by requiring employers to have worker’s compensation insurance. Schools and broadcasters could do something similar for their athletes – unless and until they no longer use them as money-makers.

    If you’re talking about the other monies I discussed – food when the cafeteria is closed, a bus (or gas money) home to see family, etc. Those expenses are incurred because the person is in school, not because the person is in sports.

    Finally, don’t cloud the issue by saying that admissions favoritism means that students who are barred from taking jobs can’t have expenses covered. Admissions favoritism can be eliminated without actually covering student expenses for students who are banned from taking work. Likewise, admissions favoritism can be eliminated while actually covering those expenses. The two issues are related through the individual students, but are nonetheless severable.

  62. 62
    Inaji

    About compensation, let me emphasize something others keep saying: free education. Is that not compensation? I think it is.

  63. 63
    sbuh

    consciousness_razor

    sbuh, I wasn’t bludgeoning you with that. I figured my reference to kantalope’s comments (which you evidently got) were obvious. It was just sarcasm, because I’m feeling bitter, not directed at you or trying to put words in your mouth. Sorry that it came across that way.

    Apology accepted, then. Sorry for a bit of knee-jerk defensiveness.

    It seems that almost everyone commenting so far agrees that academics and not athletics should ideally be the focus of universities in the US. The disagreement just seems to be over what to do in the near term.

    I’m also willing to admit it’s possible that by instituting revenue-sharing we might inadvertently strengthen the grip of college sports by giving the student athletes more incentives to support it. That’s worth considering.

    One other thing though is that I think the hostility toward full-ride athletic scholarships is slightly misplaced. It seems to carry an inherent assumption that if it weren’t for these jocks getting all the money, it would otherwise go to other students, but that doesn’t necessarily follow. And I would agree that it’s grossly unfair that kids who aren’t athletically gifted have to find other ways of paying their way through school, but it’s not simply because we prioritize sports. Athletic full-rides stand out because they’re exceptional, but they shouldn’t be. We as a nation should be investing a lot more in our students, all of them, than we are.

    It reminds me of the conditions of union labor vs. non-unionized. It’s not that the unions have a sweet deal they don’t deserve. It’s that the non-unionized are getting screwed.

  64. 64
    doubtthat

    @62

    No, it isn’t. Graduate students receive a free education (depending on their program), but are still paid for teaching classes and research or additional services they provide.

    Imagine if you wrote a novel while attending a university and the publishing company gave all of the sales profit to the school and not you. Hey, you have a scholarship, you’re getting a free education, but you can’t make any money so long as you are enrolled at a university.

    Shit, Johnny Manziel should be making as much money as he can right now acting like a fool in used car commercials or otherwise cashing in on his current fame. Not allowed to do that, he’s an amateur. He, personally, brings Texas A&M millions of dollars in television revenue that they would not receive without the Heisman winning quarterback, but he should just be happy with the social science degree he’s going to end up with?

  65. 65
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    No. This isn’t my argument. Note that the NCAA bans student athletes from getting most jobs. In the past, this has resulted in sinecures from boosters who recognize that all the student-athlete’s time is pretty regimented. This system was clearly unfair and only benefited a few star athletes. As a result, however, vast numbers of athletes are barred from taking jobs.

    I am well aware that that wasn’t your argument. I suggest, however, that this is because you are making a bad argument.

    If these kids want an education, then they should get an education. Sports is not “an education” in any way. If they’re going to go into these programs, then it means that, whatever they may say on the subject, in reality they actually don’t want “an education”. If anything, I think there should be no scholarships, either. If these kids want the schools to compromise their academic programs — which, I remind you, are the actual reason the schools exist — in order to give a relative handful of students a shot at being professional athletes, then they ought to be willing to make at least as much of a sacrifice of their own persons as the schools are doing by funding these idiot programs.

    Would that mean these kids wouldn’t go to college at all? You bet. That would be a sad thing — for the tiny, tiny handful of them who really are serious about academics. But it would also mean people like you might stop missing the forest for the trees. By arguing for compensation of student athletes, you are taking a system which is already pathologically bad, and trying to make it dramatically worse. Instead, let’s put some more roadblocks in the way of the bad system so that maybe, just maybe, the borderline people like you will start to recognize that the efforts should be concentrated on extirpating the bad system itself.

    (And don’t give me “stopping college athletics isn’t realistic”. I could argue with far more evidence that stopping rape culture, or homophobia, or sexism, or racism, isn’t or wasn’t “realistic” — and yet we continue to push for those things, and have made some remarkable strides forward on some of them. I refuse to say “well, okay, sports culture is stupid and destructive and evil, but I’m going to turn a blind eye to that because it’s just too haaaaaaaaaaaaard to fight it.”)

  66. 66
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @doubtthat, #64:

    No, it isn’t. Graduate students receive a free education (depending on their program), but are still paid for teaching classes and research or additional services they provide.

    A: I haven’t heard of a single grad student who was paid as much for their teaching and research services as college athletes currently receive in free tuition, and their services generally involve “putting in” a lot more than they are “taking out” from the university. Equalize the two first, and then it’s time to make this comparison.

    B: The activities of graduate students are directly related to the schools’ actual purpose (education) rather than a generally anti-intellectual sideshow which typically draws away from that purpose. If college athletes were making their schools better schools, then sure, it might be worth considering the question in that light. They don’t; in general, they make the schools worse — they draw down the grading standards, they draw down the admissions standards, and they take away money which could be going towards academics.

  67. 67
    PatrickG

    @ The Vicar, 56:

    It’s certainly accurate to the, you know, actual facts.

    No it’s not. Crip Dyke already demonstrated just how breathtakingly inaccurate your claims were, but seriously, you’re just making stuff up and assuming it’s true. Go do some research.

    @ Caine, 62:

    I’m really tired of seeing this point in this thread. There’s information out there:

    The results were none too favorable for athletes: The average scholarship shortfall — the student’s out-of-pocket expenses — for each “full scholarship” athlete was approximately $3,222 per player during the 2010-11 school year. The report also found that the room-and-board provisions in a full scholarship leave 85% of players living on campus and 86% of players living off campus living below the federal poverty line. And the estimated “fair market value” of those FBS football and basketball players to their institutions? $120,048 and $265,027, respectively.

    It also points out that, despite athletic programs’ record revenues, salaries and capital expenditures — as well as prohibitions on countless sources of income for athletes — the NCAA explicitly allows college athletes to accept food stamps and welfare benefits. “The NCAA is forcing taxpayers to pay for expenses that players would be able to pay themselves if not for NCAA rules. I guess the NCAA expects both college athletes and taxpayers to finance its greed and lavish salaries,” Huma stated.

    And of course we’ve got the predatory behavior of the NCAA towards people in unfavorable socioeconomic positions:

    While a select crop of players do go on to make millions playing professionally, they’re in the minority. Less than one percent of college basketball players make it to the NBA. Despite the fact that they’re often the face of their school’s lucrative athletic programs, many players don’t see any financial benefits.

    Facts like those, coupled with the observation that many of the top college basketball and football players are black and many come from working class backgrounds, has prompted some to call for reforming the NCAA’s system and possibly paying college athletes.

    And then there’s simply making it to graduation. In recent years, as many as 80 percent of black college basketball players haven’t graduated. While the graduation rate gap between white and black college basketball players is slowly closing, there’s been little effort on the part of the NCAA to reform its one-year athletic scholarship policy. Instead, former NCAA athletes have taken their case to court.

    I’m no fan of college athletics. I’m absolutely in favor of cleaving clearly professional athletic programs from educational institutions. But please stop pretending that the current system is providing much of value to your average “student athlete”. It’s simply not true, and it obscures the very real harm and exploitation done by the NCAA and the schools in question.

  68. 68
    sbuh

    Vicar

    Instead, let’s put some more roadblocks in the way of the bad system so that maybe, just maybe, the borderline people like you will start to recognize that the efforts should be concentrated on extirpating the bad system itself.

    But these aren’t mutually exclusive goals. You can argue that college sports are extremely exploitative and push for better treatment while simultaneously arguing for the complete abolishment of collegiate sports.

    (And don’t give me “stopping college athletics isn’t realistic”. I could argue with far more evidence that stopping rape culture, or homophobia, or sexism, or racism, isn’t or wasn’t “realistic” — and yet we continue to push for those things, and have made some remarkable strides forward on some of them. I refuse to say “well, okay, sports culture is stupid and destructive and evil, but I’m going to turn a blind eye to that because it’s just too haaaaaaaaaaaaard to fight it.”)

    No one has made such an argument. This isn’t about resigning ourselves to our fate. It’s about looking at both short and long term problems. The short term problem is exploitation. The long term problem is the interference with academics by athletics. But there’s no dilemma here. Everyone who is arguing in favor of solutions to the former is also throwing himself or herself behind the latter.

    Now you can make the argument that the two goals, while not mutually exclusive, might nonetheless interfere with one another. I’ve admitted as much above. And you can justify choosing to focus on the long-term goal while accepting that in the short term student athletes are going to continue to be exploited (although I greatly dislike the victim-blaming language used to brush their concerns aside). But you can’t accuse those who have made it clear they they support both goals of being defeatist. That’s flatly untrue.

  69. 69
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @the Vicar

    By arguing for compensation of student athletes, you are taking a system which is already pathologically bad, and trying to make it dramatically worse. Instead, let’s put some more roadblocks in the way of the bad system so that maybe, just maybe, the borderline people like you will start to recognize that the efforts should be concentrated on extirpating the bad system itself.

    Search for “crip” in this discussion. You’ll find me saying more than once what I said at the beginning, in comment #28:

    I don’t like putting harm reduction and harm elimination in direct conflict. Ending rape is not in conflict with providing support for victims/survivors. Ending drug addiction is not in conflict with providing support for addicted persons. And ending the current school-distorting regime is not in conflict with paying student-athletes.

    Lying about my argument is a jerkwater move.

    If you want to say ending harm reduction improves the odds of eliminating a problem, then just advocate ending treatment for rape victims, b/c mitigating the harm done causes society to be less pissed about, and thus less motivated to end, rape.

    You stand on that “no harm can be mitigated til its ended” platform and enjoy the view. Honest debaters will make progress on both fronts without you.

  70. 70
    PatrickG

    @ The Vicar, 66:

    A: I haven’t heard of a single grad student who was paid as much for their teaching and research services as college athletes currently receive in free tuition, and their services generally involve “putting in” a lot more than they are “taking out” from the university. Equalize the two first, and then it’s time to make this comparison

    Hi, former grad student here! I got tuition and registration fees completely waived for several years and and stipend. At my school, undergraduate and graduate in-state tuition were virtually identical (outside of the “professional” schools, e.g. law). Also worth noting that this was for both my GSR (research) and GSI (teaching) positions.

    So yeah, no, you’re wrong.

    B: The activities of graduate students are directly related to the schools’ actual purpose (education) rather than a generally anti-intellectual sideshow which typically draws away from that purpose. If college athletes were making their schools better schools, then sure, it might be worth considering the question in that light. They don’t; in general, they make the schools worse — they draw down the grading standards[1], they draw down the admissions standards[2], and they take away money which could be going towards academics.[3]

    [1]: Yes, I remember all those nights with my professor, grading their lab reports and finals, and thinking “well, hey, they’re an athlete, can’t grade them too hard”.
    [2]: Definitely have a point here.
    [3]: I would correct that to say that the NCAA/coach/administration take away that money. If (big if, I know) college sports actually redirected the money to nobler pursuits (while treating their students like something other than indentured labor), I bet you’d have much less problem with the existence of said sports. I know I would, at least.

  71. 71
    PatrickG

    Typo correction: “and and stipend” should read “and a stipend”.

  72. 72
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @sbuh

    you can’t accuse those who have made it clear they they support both goals of being defeatist. That’s flatly untrue.

    thank you, sbuh.

    Frankly, taking on both tasks is both more hopeful and more work than taking on only one. Maybe it’s because it’s too haaaaaaaaaaaaard for the Vicar that in the Vicar’s comments harm reduction and harm eradication are put into conflict.

  73. 73
    Inaji

    Monitor Note: this isn’t about personalities, argue the substance of comments, please, and not the [assumed] characteristics of people posting. Thank you.

    Recognize that your words may not perfectly convey your content — and that the words of other commenters may not perfectly convey theirs. When necessary, clarify what you mean, or ask other commenters to clarify what they meant.

    When someone says something apparently stupid or vile, verify before opening fire. Express your objection and ask them to rephrase their statement. Then open fire.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/rules/

  74. 74
    doubtthat

    I haven’t heard of a single grad student who was paid as much for their teaching and research services as college athletes currently receive in free tuition, and their services generally involve “putting in” a lot more than they are “taking out” from the university. Equalize the two first, and then it’s time to make this comparison.

    That’s flatly false as the graduate students are also receiving a free degree. Assistant positions pay graduate students a salary or a stipend in excess of the cost of classes. In both cases the education is paid for.

    B: The activities of graduate students are directly related to the schools’ actual purpose (education) rather than a generally anti-intellectual sideshow which typically draws away from that purpose.

    This is just pure anti-sports bias. What’s the difference between practicing music and dance to perform for the entertainment of others and practicing sports to perform for the entertainment of others? Hell, include writing and other arts in that, as well. Learning to write so you can publish books for others to pay money to read for their entertainment is not significantly different enough from sports to justify setting them aside in colleges. I think theater departments will gladly train actors even if they just end up on low-brow sitcoms.

    If college athletes were making their schools better schools, then sure, it might be worth considering the question in that light.

    Sure, but that’s because of the corrupt NCAA and coaches siphoning off millions of dollars and athletic departments generally fucking things up. Proper compensation of athletes, rather than extorting their free labor to enrich NCAA officials is a solution to the problem, not the problem itself.

  75. 75
    karpad

    I agree with Kantalope upthread. I think a major stumbling block here seems to be when we say “College athletes should be paid” there’s an assumption that they should be paid by the school. They should not.

    They should be paid by the NCAA, which is a private organization. They should be paid by the major sports organizations, which use College athletics as a pool of training and recruitment without actually contributing anything to pay for it. It should work much the same as Minor League baseball: Individuals with enough talent to start pursuing a career do so. If they have enough ability to move up, they have a chance to earn those big money contracts, but if they’re not quite that good, they still can earn a living helping their teammates and opponents who do have that ability have someone to train with and against. A wide receiver good enough to go pro still needs a quarterback to throw to him, even if that quarterback is just good enough to play a few years to pay his tuition before getting a job as a dentist.

    The current system is essentially: they are paid. exactly how much tuition costs. and with additional stipulations and regulations attached. And if they are injured or violate the stipulations, they are fired with no recourse.

    I know it’s tough to be sympathetic since so many problems in academia stem from the corruption that college athletics bring to the table, but the players are not the problem. It’s intertwining sports with schools. Pay the athletes and disentangle the teams from the schools.

  76. 76
    Travis

    After rereading this article, I realize that there was one thing that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy:

    Meanwhile, communities throughout Texas, alarmed by the cancellation of football, raised $400,000 for Premont via fund-raisers and donations—money that Singleton put toward renovating the science labs.

    I do love that he took the money and did something useful with it. Of course, I cannot feel too good about it, the fact that they were able to raise $400 000 makes it clear there is plenty of money available for schools, but people apparently do not want it to go towards education. Wouldn’t it be amazing if those communities had rallied together and raised the money to renovate the moldy science labs rather than being obsessed with keeping a sports program at the school?

  77. 77
    unclefrogy

    great story and great it stands out because it is anomaly, that is why its news.
    That pretty much points out that education as practiced in the United States and in this case Texas is in educating the future members of our culture and society our priority is competitive sports not science or the arts or even history.
    It is kind of surprising that the most enthusiastic sports fans seem to be so anti-intellectual and are quick to claim to be patriotic and would defend the founding fathers who were part of the intellectual ferment of the 18th century.

    uncle frogy

  78. 78
    doubtthat

    @75

    They should be paid by the NCAA, which is a private organization.

    This is the fundamental truth. There may be some specific need of a different procedure, for example: the schools take the money currently gobbled up by the NCAA and then distribute it to athletes rather than coming directly from the NCAA, but the important point is that the money that needs to go to the players is NOT money currently with the schools. It’s money that the NCAA takes, it’s money that coaches take in gargantuan salaries and endorsement contracts, it’s money that video game companies pay the NCAA to use the identity of players in their games without compensating the players…etc.

    The professional sports is a little more complicated. Law firms don’t pay schools to train lawyers, yet they benefit from the education in the same way that professional sports teams benefit from college athletics. I think plans involving the pro sports leagues are worth thinking about, but the issue is slightly more complicated than an athletic department making money from selling a specific jersey with a player’s name on the back who receives nothing and will be suspended if he/she makes some extra money signing it.

  79. 79
    Nick Gotts

    We don’t live in a community where well over 90% of persons think phishing scams are a moral neutral or moral positive, with 80% or more thinking of them as certainly a moral positive.

    A better example would be cars. – Crip Dyke@54

    It would only be a better example if the colleges themselves were making money by manufacturing cars, and this was distorting their student recruitment policies with auto-manufacturing scholarships, providing huge salaries for the managers of the car plants and so on. In such circumstances, I would be against paying the students on auto-manufacturing scholarships, because I would see this as propping up a fundamentally flawed system. It’s right in some cases to support both harm reduction and harm elimination, but you can’t argue from that, that it is always right: a tendency to entrench the greater wrong sometimes outweighs the benefits of harm reduction.

    This isn’t about resigning ourselves to our fate. – sbuh@68

    It is for kantalope@ 36 and Robert B.@52.

  80. 80
    quarky2

    Suggestion: coaches should make no more than the highest paid professor/teacher on staff.

  81. 81
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    @sbuh:

    But these aren’t mutually exclusive goals. You can argue that college sports are extremely exploitative and push for better treatment while simultaneously arguing for the complete abolishment of collegiate sports.

    Technically, you can eat the occasional ham sandwich while claiming to be a vegetarian, too. It means you aren’t really serious about that goal. Making everyone feel good about how sustainable and welcoming the system is will actively sabotage any effort to eliminate the system itself.

    No one has made such an argument. [that changing the system is too hard]

    That argument is implicit in everything kantalope has said in this thread, and also to every single person who is asking for student athletes to be paid as a stopgap measure. “We can’t possibly get rid of the system, so we should make it marginally less harmful to the people who are benefitting from it”.

    @crip dyke, #61 (further than before because I hit “submit” too early and didn’t want to flood the section):

    If you’re talking about the other monies I discussed – food when the cafeteria is closed, a bus (or gas money) home to see family, etc. Those expenses are incurred because the person is in school, not because the person is in sports.

    Yes, and it’s worth noting that the students who don’t play sports have no problem either meeting those expenses or doing without, and are expected not to complain about it if this is too much. But athletes are somehow so much more deserving than people who, you know, actually want to study that when they can’t be bothered to get a whole meal during the cafeteria’s hours (which are usually very reasonable), the universe at large is expected to bend over backward and hand them a check. You know what would be nice? If people with academic scholarships were given a stipend to spend on food and gas to go home and visit their parents. Of course, when you put it that way, it suddenly sounds like a huge waste, doesn’t it?

    Finally, don’t cloud the issue by saying that admissions favoritism means that students who are barred from taking jobs can’t have expenses covered.

    These students have made a choice, over a period of years in high school, to prioritize athletics over scholarship. I really have no problem whatsoever with penalizing them for it when they are applying to a place where scholarship should be supreme. You want to run around chasing a ball for a double-digit number of hours a week most of the year, rather than going home and hitting the books? Fine. But that means you should not be able to whine when the people who hit the books surpass you in the realm of book-hitting. This is a simple cause-and-effect thing. People who are athletes have no business getting any consideration whatsoever from colleges. None.

    @PatrickG, #67:

    No it’s not. Crip Dyke already demonstrated just how breathtakingly inaccurate your claims were, but seriously, you’re just making stuff up and assuming it’s true. Go do some research.

    Yeah, I’ve done some research. This article was interesting only because it extended the usual “sports programs harm education” thing — which multiple studies have found at the college level — to high schools.

    You and other pro-athlete folks seem to think that the colleges are making money off the athletics programs. They aren’t; with a few exceptions (the really, really huge programs which emphasize a single sport at a single school in a state) sports programs at the collegiate level are a drain on the finances of the institution. This is usually waved away with “but the football program attracts donors and new students”, which also tends to be debunked in most of the studies. I invite you to do a little research.

    The results were none too favorable for athletes: The average scholarship shortfall — the student’s out-of-pocket expenses — for each “full scholarship” athlete was approximately $3,222 per player during the 2010-11 school year. The report also found that the room-and-board provisions in a full scholarship leave 85% of players living on campus and 86% of players living off campus living below the federal poverty line. And the estimated “fair market value” of those FBS football and basketball players to their institutions? $120,048 and $265,027, respectively.

    So what? For students not on a scholarship, the out-of-pocket expense is at least an order of magnitude greater than that, and I doubt that most of them are living very far above the federal poverty line. Have you been paying any attention to the recent stories about student loan debt in the U.S.? Kids (that is, the ones who aren’t athletes, and therefore don’t get any consideration from people like you) are graduating with debts ten or more times that. If an athlete is having to pay ~$300 a month for their education, they’re getting a deal that most people would sell their grandmothers to get access to.

    (Besides, at every school I’ve heard about, being enrolled gives you pretty comprehensive health insurance, and “living on-campus” automatically gives you so many things, like a meal program, that “living below the federal poverty line” is a technicality rather than an indicator of prosperity.)

    @PatrickG, #70:

    Hi, former grad student here! I got tuition and registration fees completely waived for several years and and stipend. At my school, undergraduate and graduate in-state tuition were virtually identical (outside of the “professional” schools, e.g. law). Also worth noting that this was for both my GSR (research) and GSI (teaching) positions.

    Ah, the “the status quo was okay for me, so therefore anyone who complains is just wrong” position. I’ve heard it a lot recently, such as for example Richard Dawkins’ wonderful lines about pedophilia. Remember the line about “anecdote” not being the singular of “data”? Think on.

    I’m glad you had a great experience. Your state was less screwed-up than the average. Congratulations. That says nothing about the average or prevailing conditions, though. (I also note that you don’t mention how much your stipend was, or how many hours of work you were putting in roles which the school would otherwise be required to pay someone for. I’ve never seen any study which didn’t conclude that grad students were being exploited. Perhaps you can link to one which contradicts this?

    Yes, I remember all those nights with my professor, grading their lab reports and finals, and thinking “well, hey, they’re an athlete, can’t grade them too hard”.

    Since the more pampered athletes probably weren’t even doing serious lab classes, and you present no data about how the athletes in your class did in comparison to the non-athletes, your sarcasm is meaningless.

    @doubtthat, #74:

    That’s flatly false as the graduate students are also receiving a free degree. Assistant positions pay graduate students a salary or a stipend in excess of the cost of classes. In both cases the education is paid for.

    You are ignoring the fact that grad students actually perform roles which make the school a better place for education, which is the reason the school exists. As I pointed out above — and I admit that I didn’t realize I had to point out, because I thought this was common knowledge by now — studies keep coming out which strongly suggest that the mere existence of athletic programs makes a school a worse place for people to get an actual education. (Heck, the article PZ referenced way back in the blog post would be enough of a suggestion, all by itself!) That means every athlete is a roadblock in the way of performing the institution’s stated purpose even if they aren’t getting a scholarship. Think about that for a moment, please.

    Sure, but that’s because of the corrupt NCAA and coaches siphoning off millions of dollars and athletic departments generally fucking things up. Proper compensation of athletes, rather than extorting their free labor to enrich NCAA officials is a solution to the problem, not the problem itself.

    See? I knew that people would conflate “solving this specific problem” with “making the situation better”. Opening the door to paid athletes will very quickly end up with schools paying the athletes sums which are similar to those paid the pros — there’s too much TV money involved for this to end otherwise. Your proposed “solution” will exacerbate the problem we already have.

  82. 82
    Jacob Schmidt

    This assumes they wanted an actual education in the first place.
    Caine

    For the record, I can think of two people I know who used their scholarships for education: an old friend and my 7/8th grade English teacher.

    I have a rather different experience. People at my university mock the kids who got in on sports, calling them stupid and mentally ill. They often compare the sports program to a special needs program (the fact that my partner needs the special needs program for her dyslexia makes this all the more infuriating). The program isn’t that lightweight, either. The sports program is heavy on anatomy, medicine, and chemistry. There’s also a focus on physical skills. Some options require first aid and life guard training. Others require learning physical therapy. These kids aren’t fucking around.

  83. 83
    lorn

    I’ll have to disagree with you on the paying athletes thing. Yes, it is expensive, but it also changes the context and framing of athletics in schools in a way that makes it an intermediary step in correcting the situation. It is also the right thing to do if you are interested in fairness.

    Presently college athletes spend several of their few short years of maximum athleticism chasing the illusion of getting an education. They play each game risking injury that can/will shorten or end their athletic career. The only real compensation is that hey might, get a third-rate degree from a first-rate school. And every potential employer knows that the degree is a sham. Most of these kids would be better off going pro. They wouldn’t have that less than 50% chance of getting a worthless degree but they would be making real money. If they blow out the knees they have money in the bank and can apply to a university and work for a degree as seriously as the college team works for a bowl game.

    The question also comes up as to why everyone around the athletics programs makes money except the athletes and the majority of colleges. A few to name teams show a profit, largely from getting paid by broadcasters for bowl games, but the majority of programs lose money every year.

    Pay athletes a professional scale and the colleges may have to pony up some big money. It won’t last long. But those year/s will serve to clarify the relationships. College athletes are employees working a job in a business. Run as a business the question of return on investment comes up. Fact is most athletic teams, even without paying athletes, fail to show a profit. The people who make money are the broadcasters, vendors, the sellers of franchised team color items, advertisers, scalpers, coaches and trainers. As it is everyone gets a cut except the athletes and the non-athletic powerhouse schools.

    Pay the athletes and the schools that lose money every year have to drop out. That is the majority of colleges and universities. Even some of the powerhouses falter. Once the minor schools leave the leagues the majors, those who don’t drop the semi-pro model, have a problem; who are you going to play against? The whole system breaks down and colleges have to get serious about what their core mission is. I suspect that most of the colleges and universities get out of the semi-pro athletic system and eliminate all but intramural teams. Those more than adequately fill the light entertainment and exercise needs.

    A few athletic powerhouses may wish to establish professional athletics programs as profit centers. The athletes give up all pretense of getting an education but they get paid professional wages. Those teams are private businesses just like other pro teams and they would be shoehorned into the professional leagues in the NBA, NFL, or other professional leagues.

    The point I’m trying to make is that the majority of problems with college athletics have to do with the programs trying to split the difference between professional athletics and intramural athletics. They fail to protect both the athletes and the schools effectiveness as institutions of learning and research. Being forced to pay athletes professional wages is exactly the sort of traumatic even that will force those institutions to quit straddling the line and commit to one side or the other.

  84. 84
    PatrickG

    @ The Vicar:

    Since you seem quite intent on misrepresenting people’s positions, I’ll confine myself to rebutting your accusations against me and then stop responding to you.

    Yeah, I’ve done some research.

    No, you apparently hadn’t. Your original argument rested in part on the premise that student athletes should just get jobs, like every other student does to make end meets. It completely ignores that student athletes are bound by the terms of their scholarship to not do so.

    You made a clearly false statement. It’s not “pro-athlete” to point that out.

    You and other pro-athlete folks seem to think that the colleges are making money off the athletics programs.

    If you actually read what people like me, Crip Dyke, etc. are saying, we’re explicitly arguing that the NCAA and college administration are making money. We are not arguing that colleges are making money off the athletics program. We’ve been quite clear about this. Stop misrepresenting our position, please.

    Ah, the “the status quo was okay for me, so therefore anyone who complains is just wrong” position. I’ve heard it a lot recently, such as for example Richard Dawkins’ wonderful lines about pedophilia. Remember the line about “anecdote” not being the singular of “data”?

    You made the remarkable claim that no grad student — ever, to your knowledge — has ever received a compensation package comparable to free tuition. I responded by noting that at many institutions this is factually incorrect, and used my own highly relevant experience as a single data point to refute your sweeping and baseless claim. Despite your apparent problems with basic logic, it is, in fact, quite valid to refute a categorical statement such as yours with a single point of data.

    I pointed out that your claim is demonstrably wrong, and you compare that to Dawkins defending pedophilia? Have a free Fuck You. Seriously, fuck you.

    Again, your claim is false, and and it’s surprising you would even debate this point. It is not pro-athlete to point out that you are wrong, and it is pathetic that you would defend your warping of facts by wild accusations of “defending the status quo”.

    I’m glad you had a great experience. Your state was less screwed-up than the average. Congratulations. That says nothing about the average or prevailing conditions, though. (I also note that you don’t mention how much your stipend was, or how many hours of work you were putting in roles which the school would otherwise be required to pay someone for. I’ve never seen any study which didn’t conclude that grad students were being exploited.

    Well, actually I didn’t have a great experience, and no, my public, strapped for cash institution was not less screwed-up than the average. I didn’t claim to be living high on the hog — I simply stated that I received tuition/registration and a stipend, which is not unusual. Anything you want to read into this beyond that is frankly born of speculation devoid of factual basis.

    I really don’t feel like arguing with your fevered imagination, so I’ll not bother responding to you until you pick up some basic reading comprehension skills. Do feel free to continue flailing wildly at strawmen, though.

  85. 85
    Ichthyic

    communities throughout Texas, alarmed by the cancellation of football, raised $400,000 for Premont via fund-raisers and donations—money that Singleton put toward renovating the science labs.

    LOL

    nice. I can just imagine the response:

    “But… we raised that money for football!”

    Sadly, I would not be surprised if the fundraisers hire a lawyer to sue the school district to get the money back.

    *sigh*

  86. 86
    Ichthyic

    Most of these kids would be better off going pro.

    Doesn’t that effectively defeat the argument that there even should BE college athletics, let alone paid college athletics?

  87. 87
    Ichthyic

    . It completely ignores that student athletes are bound by the terms of their scholarship to not do so.

    but if they have a scholarship… they are no different than any other student.

    do all students with scholarships at every university forgo the right to also work part time?

    …. and you were speaking of sweeping generalizations….

  88. 88
    Ichthyic

    Being forced to pay athletes professional wages is exactly the sort of traumatic even that will force those institutions to quit straddling the line and commit to one side or the other.

    I don’t think that is the solution to the problem though. In fact, it is likely to create far more problems than it solves, just to satisfy the vague notion that it would force the issue.

  89. 89
    PatrickG

    @ Ichthyic, #86/87:

    Well, yeah, kind of the point. These are professional athletes in every sense of the word, except for the ridiculous “amateur” status they’re given so they can be exploited.

    do all students with scholarships at every university forgo the right to also work part time?

    No. Not to my knowledge, and certainly I never heard anybody say this when I was at undergrad/grad. I’m not understanding your comment here. Could you clarify?

  90. 90
    Ichthyic

    Presently college athletes spend several of their few short years of maximum athleticism chasing the illusion of getting an education

    If you compare pro athletes who got an education at the college level in their chosen profession, say basketball, to those who went straight to the pros from high school, you will find a much higher chance of success in the pros for those who took the time to learn their sport well in college first.

    Yes, that’s right, college sports are TEACHING students how to play their chosen sport better.

    This is simple fact.

    based on that, should we pay students getting science majors because they too are being trained to be better scientists?

    no.

    college athletes receive training in their chosen field, just like any other student.

  91. 91
    chigau (違う)

    The USofA is a very strange place.

  92. 92
    Ichthyic

    Could you clarify?

    yes, you were saying that athletic scholarships prevented athletes from working as a stipulation.

    but it doesn’t for other students with scholarships, and I doubt that’s true for ALL athletic scholarships as well.

    specifically, you attacked this:

    Your original argument rested in part on the premise that student athletes should just get jobs, like every other student does to make end meets.

    so, why are you trying to argue a position based on a specific, non generalizable, set of circumstances?

    either students who have scholarships can also get jobs to make ends meet, or they can’t. it’s nothing specific to athletics, and frankly, nothing specific to scholarships either.

  93. 93
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Yes, and it’s worth noting that the students who don’t play sports have no problem either meeting those expenses or doing without, and are expected not to complain about it if this is too much.

    Maybe because they aren’t prevented by rule from taking jobs?

    This has been mentioned upthread, if you could read for content.

    But athletes are somehow so much more deserving than people who, you know, actually want to study </blockquote
    No. they aren't more deserving. They are, however, prevented by the rules of the university and the NCAA from getting a frickin' job. The argument is that if you prevent someone from independently earning one's own keep, one has an obligation to provide the basic necessities. This is why we feed jail and prison inmates instead of letting them starve and screaming, "Well, why didn't they get a job if they were hungry?"

    when they can’t be bothered to get a whole meal during the cafeteria’s hours (which are usually very reasonable), the universe at large is expected to bend over backward and hand them a check.

    Have you not read the articles – many universities’ cafeterias are **not open on weekends**. Students prevented from having a job, who are getting room-and-board with their scholarships, are given $87 for 12 meals…plus, y’know, it’s not uncommon for students to want a snack or a cup of coffee when up late studying. You know, studying? Because the brain performs better when not deprived of food, if by “perform better” one means, is more successful at learning.

    We kind of think it’s bad that the university will provide $30 million dollar training facilities, but not the caloric intake necessary for proper learning.

    This is all over-and-above those flights of fancy like coin-op-laundry (I don’t know of any university that does students’ laundry for free), buying a bike for getting around campus when your last bike was stolen, buying a lock for the same bike (my bike was stolen 3 times, twice the lock was gone, once the cut chain with the still-good lock was still there), going home to visit family, paying for bus fare to get to a student internship at a corporation or non-profit that’s not on-campus, etc, etc, etc.

    You know what would be nice? If people with academic scholarships were given a stipend to spend on food and gas to go home and visit their parents. Of course, when you put it that way, it suddenly sounds like a huge waste, doesn’t it?

    No. It sounds perfectly reasonable. Why do you assume that because I’m for a more holistic and realistic accounting of the expenses of student athletes that I must necessarily also be against a more holistic and realistic accounting of the expenses of students other than athletes?

    I’m getting tired of you lying about my position, the Vicar.

    Moreover, you still haven’t come out and said you’re against lessening the harm of rape victims because lessening the harm might lessen the horror and thus marginally reduce society’s motivation to end rape.

    Come on. Have the courage of your convictions. Either harm reduction is evil or it isn’t.

    Or, perhaps, there’s a 3rd way: some harm reduction might be counterproductive in the fight to end a harm to the extent that we are willing to switch to a different harm reduction tactic or ignore the current harm entirely.

    In that case, however, you’d have to provide actual data about the extent to which paying student athletes would extend the current college entertainment-sport regime. That would be a lot harder than simply screaming that we’re immoral because we take our cues on best harm reduction strategies from the actual people being exploited.

  94. 94
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    On the College Athlete thing;

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/308643/

    Basically; Colleges, TV and the NCAA are making billions on the backs of these athletes, and if these athletes seriously injure themselves, they’re shit outta luck.
    The colleges can chose to revoke their scholarships at a whim.

    The entire college sports thing is a huge fucking mess. If it’s going to be a billion dollar industry, they should be paid. And it should be seperate from actual colleges.

  95. 95
    Ichthyic

    These are professional athletes in every sense of the word

    they are no more professional than any science or engineering student.

    really really.

  96. 96
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    do all students with scholarships at every university forgo the right to also work part time?

    No. Not even all students with athletic scholarships. Thus a large part of the injustice of not paying reasonable amounts to the ones who are forced by rule not to work.

  97. 97
    Ichthyic

    the only effective difference between student athletes and student engineers appears to me to be one of risk.

    there is inherently more risk of career-ending injury in student athletics than engineering.

    so, what is the standard way to mitigate risk in any career?

    IIRC, isn’t that insurance?

    could we apply an insurance model to student athletics?

  98. 98
    PatrickG

    @ Ichtyhic:

    I’m really having trouble parsing your objection. To me, the situation is:

    1) Non-athletic scholarships don’t preclude taking other jobs.
    2) Athletic scholarships (perhaps not all, but a significant portion) do preclude taking other jobs.
    3) If scholarship prevents supplemental income, it should cover needs.
    4) Seeking an increase in scholarship funds due to being prevented from working is entirely reasonable, particularly when the money is there.

    Note this is rather independent of the entire sports-at-colleges issue, or whether scholarships should be offered. But is that line of argument really so hard to understand? It seems to be for The Vicar.

  99. 99
    doubtthat

    You are ignoring the fact that grad students actually perform roles which make the school a better place for education, which is the reason the school exists. As I pointed out above — and I admit that I didn’t realize I had to point out, because I thought this was common knowledge by now — studies keep coming out which strongly suggest that the mere existence of athletic programs makes a school a worse place for people to get an actual education…That means every athlete is a roadblock in the way of performing the institution’s stated purpose even if they aren’t getting a scholarship. Think about that for a moment, please.

    The mere existence of athletic programs as they exist now. They are based on a specific model that allows administrators and coaches to make insane amounts of money and only requires a basic level of money flowing to the actual athletes.

    I would love to see a study that isolates the athletes themselves from the athletic departments. Get rid of athletic departments and the tv dollars and endorsement money disappears, it doesn’t magically go to the schools. What I’m pointing out is that a model could be developed that eliminates the massive structure above the athletes that gobbles 99% of that money.

    But again, you’ve just set aside athletics from every other performance/entertainment program at a university. People can join a dance program to become professional dancers and if they’re grad students, they get a stipend. If a creative writing graduate student receiving a fellowship gets a book published, they get to keep all of that money, the school doesn’t take. I don’t think the “stated goal” of a university is to generate actors making shitty sitcoms, but those acting students can be paid by the university and then get to keep any money they make while in school.

    I see no reason, given the amount of money generated by football and basketball programs, why those players don’t get the same treatment.

    See? I knew that people would conflate “solving this specific problem” with “making the situation better”. Opening the door to paid athletes will very quickly end up with schools paying the athletes sums which are similar to those paid the pros — there’s too much TV money involved for this to end otherwise. Your proposed “solution” will exacerbate the problem we already have.

    First of all, there’s a real question about whether or not we should stop T Boone Pickens from paying a kid millions of dollars to play football at Oklahoma State. If money is taken from the University to pay, you have an argument, but take Kansas State, for example, they built a $100 million stadium expansion funded entirely with donations. why shouldn’t those people be able to donate to a fund to pay athletes? It’s not like they would give it to the biology department if it wasn’t used for football.

    But that’s just a theoretical discussion, your claim of inevitable chaos is not compelling. It would be fairly simple to establish a standard stipend for athletes like they do with graduate students. They manage to have salary caps in professional sports, so I don’t really understand why you think it would turn into a libertarian rule-free marketplace.

    What is the “specific problem” according to you?

  100. 100
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    2) Athletic scholarships (perhaps not all, but a significant portion) do preclude taking other jobs.
    3) If scholarship prevents supplemental income, it should cover needs.

    How do you address patrons giving the student/athlete jobs at high pay that requires no real work, or even showing up? Which is why the present rules are in place.

  101. 101
    doubtthat

    @95 Ichthyic

    they are no more professional than any science or engineering student.

    If, for some reason, a business decided to use a particular popular engineering student in an advertisement, they would be free to pay that student as much as they wanted. At a certain level of income, some need-based scholarships could be affected, but, of course, the student is making money. What wouldn’t happen is that the student would be kicked out school.

    If an athlete made a commercial for a local business, they would lose their amateur status, be unable to compete, and the NCAA would place sanctions on the University that would fuck over every other student on that campus.

    Read about Bo Jackson. When he was at Auburn, he was already one of the most famous athletes in the country. He was such an incredible athlete that the Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner sent his private jet to fly out Jackson so he could convince him to play football for him. The NCAA found out and said that Bo lost his amateur status and wouldn’t let him finish the baseball season.

    An engineering firm can fly out anyone they want and no one kicks the kids out of school.

  102. 102
    rhebel

    Why do all discussions on FTB that involve secondary school related issues get hijacked by college level discussion? I can probably speak more so than most others on this current topic, but currently choose not to, as I was volunteering all day for my high school band at a judged parade. I teach science, get a budget of about $100/class per year in supplies, write grants to supplement, and coached for twenty years in cross country and track&field. If you want to keep to the topic at hand and stop wrangling over scholarships and such, I will weigh in later after seeing replies to my post (and after making supper for my family). Otherwise, enjoy bickering over your own pet collegiate topics.

  103. 103
    doubtthat

    How do you address patrons giving the student/athlete jobs at high pay that requires no real work, or even showing up? Which is why the present rules are in place.

    A few answers:

    1) Who cares? If that’s how folks want to spend their money, what’s the problem?

    2) It’s a system put in place because those athletes can’t make money just doing commercials for the business. That would be more honest, but the do-nothing jobs serve the same purpose.

    3) I would like to see some documentation on those jobs. They must only be summer positions, as athletic scholarships at major universities will deduct any income from the scholarship.

    I played baseball on scholarship at a Big XII school. We could work during the summer in conjunction with the semi-pro teams we played on, but if I had taken a job (which would have been physically impossible as I was in class from 7am to 2pm, practiced from 3-6, worked out from 6-8, and then had to finish any homework after that), they would have subtracted that income from my scholarship dollar for dollar.

    So, I’m not sure a bunch of kids having a BS summer job is really worth worrying about.

    4) What is wrong with the boosters just giving them cash? If someone likes a musician at a university, they can just hand that person money and there’s nothing wrong with that. Why should we care if people want to give money to athletes?

  104. 104
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    An engineering firm can fly out anyone they want and no one kicks the kids out of school.

    Utter and total non-sequitur. Which is why you can’t make any points.

  105. 105
    doubtthat

    @104 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Did you read my post? That is literally what happened to Bo Jackson. A team owner flew him out for a job interview and he lost all eligibility.

    It was a bad analogy as there are a number of restrictions on athletes that don’t exist on other students.

  106. 106
    doubtthat

    Reread and think I understand the non sequitor point.

    College athletes are professionals in the sense that people really want to pay them for services. If the NCAA didn’t put bizarre restrictions on them, they could make significant money from endorsements or participating in advertising for businesses. I’m not an expert on the engineering perspective, but I don’t know of any car dealerships anxious to use engineers in their tv adds.

    But, of course, if they did want to use an engineer, they could, yet people want to give student athletes money and they can’t because the kids will be punished. That’s bizarre and ridiculous.

  107. 107
    Jacob Schmidt

    Why do all discussions on FTB that involve secondary school related issues get hijacked by college level discussion?

    We have a better understanding of college since, for most of us, college was more recent (and often current).

    Otherwise, enjoy bickering over your own pet collegiate topics.

    As opposed to bickering over your pet topic?

    If you have a point to make about highschool sports, make it. No one will stop you, and some welcome it. This is the internet; several conversations can happen at once.

  108. 108
    chigau (違う)

    Whatever happened to Apprentice > Journeyman > Master?

  109. 109
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @ichthyic:

    so, what is the standard way to mitigate risk in any career?

    IIRC, isn’t that insurance?

    could we apply an insurance model to student athletics?

    And what do you think the students are requesting? Request #1 was more money spent to prevent concussions. Request #2 was a fund to insure against severe injury.

  110. 110
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Nerd, 100:

    2) Athletic scholarships (perhaps not all, but a significant portion) do preclude taking other jobs.
    3) If scholarship prevents supplemental income, it should cover needs.

    How do you address patrons giving the student/athlete jobs at high pay that requires no real work, or even showing up? Which is why the present rules are in place.

    Read #3:
    If a scholarship prevents supplemental income, it should cover needs.

    If a scholarship prevents supplemental income, it handles sinecures exactly the same way the present rules handle them.

    Was this a trick question?

  111. 111
    kantalope

    @Ichthyic around 90

    The other difference is that the engineering department heads are not pulling down million dollar a year contracts for the work that the undergrad engineering students are doing. Major TV networks are not making billions broadcasting the robot competitions to the masses. College admins are not getting hundreds of thousands of dollars based on how well the engineering students can toss a Euler equation through a hoop.

    Sure athletes are learning how to play better, but in the mean time everyone but them is laughing all the way to the bank for their efforts. This is not true for your average philosophy student.

  112. 112
    hoku

    Who cares if some third party pays students? Does the school lose out because someone wants to pay QB X to sign autograpgs? Or how about if RB Y is offered a Gatorade commercial? Or WR J records a rap album? Or if music student Z records a successful album? Or computer science student Mark Zukerberg creates a massively popular website?

    Currently QB X, RB Y, and WR J get kicked out almost certainly resulting in them not being able to go pro in their chosen field, music student Z gets to keep all the profit and becomes nationally celebrated, and Zukerberg drops out and becomes a billionaire. Why is this fair to QB X, RB Y, or WR J?

    Also, if a great computer programer doesn’t want to go to college, she doesn’t have to, and can potentially start working right away. For a football player or basketball player college attendance is mandatory to get a job in their chosen field.

  113. 113
    Ichthyic

    If an athlete made a commercial for a local business, they would lose their amateur status, be unable to compete, and the NCAA would place sanctions on the University that would fuck over every other student on that campus.

    IOW, it’s the industry itself that is vastly different, and has vastly larger profit incentives.

    paying athletes compensation is not the answer to that, it just adds TO the problem.

  114. 114
    Ichthyic

    Major TV networks are not making billions broadcasting the robot competitions to the masses. College admins are not getting hundreds of thousands of dollars based on how well the engineering students can toss a Euler equation through a hoop.

    sounds like an industry in good shape then.

    don’t the other students actually deserve to be compensated, given that they are not going into fields with the chance at so much lucre?

    yeah, still not buying this argument.

  115. 115
    Ichthyic

    For a football player or basketball player college attendance is mandatory to get a job in their chosen field.

    tell it to Kobe Bryant.

    not mandatory, but recommended, given that training can improve a situation where you don’t have superhuman raw talent.

    again, the same for any scientist or mathematician.

    Request #1 was more money spent to prevent concussions. Request #2 was a fund to insure against severe injury.

    which has fuckall to do with paying student athletes, and the very reason I brought it up?

  116. 116
    Ichthyic

    btw, douthat @101

    you entire response doesn’t address the point of mine that you quoted.

  117. 117
    hoku

    sounds like an industry in good shape then.

    which is why the key employees should at least be allowed to profit off of their names.

    don’t the other students actually deserve to be compensated, given that they are not going into fields with the chance at so much lucre?

    Median NFL player salary: $770,000
    Average NFL career length: 3.5 years
    Chance of a college football player going pro: 1.7% (source http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/pdfs/2011/2011+probability+of+going+pro)

    So yes, a tiny percent make any money, and most of those make a lot, but not a ton, for a short time, and then are crippled. yay.

  118. 118
    hoku

    tell it to Kobe Bryant.

    not mandatory, but recommended, given that training can improve a situation where you don’t have superhuman raw talent.

    After which they made it mandatory that a player be at least one year out of highschool. So far only one player has chosen not to play for a college and actually gotten drafted.

  119. 119
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    yeah, still not buying this argument.

    I respect and read you, ichthyic, but I have no idea what you’re saying. #114 is – to me at least – totally incoherent. You appear to be attempting to satirize…something. but I have no idea what. AFAICR All your posts on this thread have been lacking in argument except to say that you don’t buy others’ arguments. This one says you don’t buy an argument, but your “satire” is so off the wall that I don’t really understand what your objections are.

    But my biggest problem with people in this thread arguing against adequate stipends is the assumption that you state clearly in #113:

    paying athletes compensation is not the answer to that, it just adds TO the problem.

    How do you know? Got a citation? Because with the strength the NCAA is fighting against this proposition, I doubt that they would agree with you that paying student athletes is stabilizing their business model …and they know a lot more about this than we do.

  120. 120
    Ichthyic

    I doubt that they would agree with you that paying student athletes is stabilizing their business model

    I do believe I said exactly the opposite. that paying student athletes would destabilize things, not stabilize them.

    the entire issue of academic athletics needs to be taken back to the basic point that athletics is indeed just like any other field of endeavor, and colleges are supposed to be working to train those students interested in an athletic career, just like any other career.

    I agree that student athletes should not be prevented from working while on a scholarship, just like any other student. they should not be penalized because the industry has a ton of money to throw around. Just so, the problem will NOT be fixed by adding compensation to athletes, but rather just removing the restrictions. Those who say that it will cause atheletes to be unfairly wooed by pros, why, exactly is this a problem? you don’t want an industry to woo potential students into it?

    I say the solution is simply to entirely remove the distinction between amateur and professional. Other countries have effectively done this.

    AFAICR All your posts on this thread have been lacking in argument except to say that you don’t buy others’ arguments.

    …citing the last post only in your conclusion. your recollection apparently needs work. but then, you don’t NEED to recall anything, given the posts are all right there.

  121. 121
    Ichthyic

    How do you know? Got a citation?

    don’t need one.

    the OP was all about how athletics is drawing dollars away from other educational interests.

    do you dispute that? I rather doubt it.

    if you start paying college athletes compensation that other students don’t get, it doesn’t require a ten year study to conclude this will only exacerbate the problem in the long term.

  122. 122
    hoku

    I agree that student athletes should not be prevented from working while on a scholarship, just like any other student. they should not be penalized because the industry has a ton of money to throw around. Just so, the problem will NOT be fixed by adding compensation to athletes, but rather just removing the restrictions. Those who say that it will cause atheletes to be unfairly wooed by pros, why, exactly is this a problem? you don’t want an industry to woo potential students into it?

    This part right here? That’s the entire point.
    They need to either pay the players or scrap the insane restrictions on them.

  123. 123
    Ichthyic

    which is why the key employees should at least be allowed to profit off of their names.

    they do, when they get to a team that pays them for their services.

    that’s the point of getting an education.

    I did not get paid to learn biology as either an undergrad or a graduate student. I got paid to teach biology afterwards, and do biology within profit and nonprofit organizations.

  124. 124
    doubtthat

    you entire response doesn’t address the point of mine that you quoted.

    Yes, it did. Unlike engineering students who need to finish a degree and then find a job to be professional, student athletes could immediately be earning money based on their status but are restricted from so doing by a set of assholes who are stealing the money those athletes would otherwise be receiving. They are professionals in the sense that they could be getting paid for what they’re already doing.

    IOW, it’s the industry itself that is vastly different, and has vastly larger profit incentives.

    paying athletes compensation is not the answer to that, it just adds TO the problem.

    This is either gibberish or question-begging. What is the “problem” according to you? Is it a problem that athletics are a multi-million dollar industry as your statement implies? I certainly can’t see how that’s an issue in a vaccuum.

    The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but this problem doesn’t exist in music schools. The problem isn’t the money, it’s how the money is allocated. Taking money away from NCAA officials and university administrators and coaches and giving it to the players that are actually generating the assets absolutely solves the problems of a deeply immoral distribution of value.

  125. 125
    Ichthyic

    They need to either pay the players or scrap the insane restrictions on them.

    no to the first, yes to the second. Which is what I have been saying all along.

    they should be treated just like every other student.

  126. 126
    hoku

    they do, when they get to a team that pays them for their services.

    No, thats getting paid for their services. Gatorade is the one that pays for their image.

    As a biology student if you went and washed your car on campus, would you get kicked out of the biology program? If the answer is anything but yes, you were in a system that is more fair than the NCAA.

  127. 127
    doubtthat

    if you start paying college athletes compensation that other students don’t get, it doesn’t require a ten year study to conclude this will only exacerbate the problem in the long term.

    Utter nonsense. Some students earn academic scholarships, some students earn music scholarships, some students produce artwork or writing that earns them money while they’re in school, none of this has caused a problem.

    Paying athletes for the work they give to the school beyond their academic curriculum, just like graduate students, wouldn’t cause any problems. It would solve problems if the money used to pay the athletes was taken from the money currently gobbled up by the NCAA and athletic departments. Cut Nick Saban’s salary by $2 million and you could compensate those players more than sufficiently.

    Then allow them to cash in on their celebrity: endorse, make adds, sell memorabilia…etc.

  128. 128
    hoku

    no to the first, yes to the second. Which is what I have been saying all along.

    they should be treated just like every other student.

    So we are in complete agreement.

  129. 129
    hoku

    And I can’t use blockquotes properly.

  130. 130
    Ichthyic

    Unlike engineering students who need to finish a degree and then find a job to be professional, student athletes could immediately be earning money based on their status

    actually, no they don’t. plenty of engineers out there without degrees. Again, depends on the level of inherent talent, just like in athletics.

    the only difference between an engineering student and an athletics student is that SOME athletics students have access to potential earnings far beyond that of the engineering student.

    not even most, not even many.

    nope, you still haven’t made your case yet.

    What is the “problem” according to you?

    the same one as defined in the OP. The same one I redefined in the post just above your latest.

    The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but this problem doesn’t exist in music schools.

    oh? you’re sure about that? Describe your version of music school for me. Do the students in this music school go on to make megamillions in the music industry? Why not?

  131. 131
    Ichthyic

    Paying athletes for the work they give to the school beyond their academic curriculum, just like graduate students,

    your ignorance is showing yet again. graduate students are NOT compensated for being students, they are directly compensated for work they do to contribute to the education of undergraduates at the university, or as professional research assistants on specific grants.

    again, biology students, undergrad or grad, are NOT paid to be biology students. you are there to be trained in your chosen profession, that is the function of both graduate and undergraduate studies.

    if you play football at a university, that is NOT a job, that is training. just like if i do a chemical experiment in a lab that produces a product as part of a university course, that is NOT a job, it is training.

  132. 132
    hoku

    the only difference between an engineering student and an athletics student is that SOME athletics students have access to potential earnings far beyond that of the engineering student.

    And that the engineering student doesn’t have to be in the college to be an engineer. And that the engineer has a much lower chance of leaving school with life long debilitating injuries. And that the engineering student has a much higher chance of actually working as an engineer. And the engineer won’t get kicked out for visiting an engieering firm.

  133. 133
    doubtthat

    actually, no they don’t. plenty of engineers out there without degrees. Again, depends on the level of inherent talent, just like in athletics.

    Dealt with half of the argument and pretended like you responded to the entirety. To be paid, an engineering student – degree or otherwise – needs to find a job. People are willing to pay student athletes for their role as student athletes. The only thing stopping them from being professionals is a set of stupid, arbitrary rules.

    the only difference between an engineering student and an athletics student is that SOME athletics students have access to potential earnings far beyond that of the engineering student.

    not even most, not even many.

    nope, you still haven’t made your case yet.

    First, without engaging in a discussion of how many could be making money, the fact that there are some who are denied earnings due to those ridiculous rules is all I need to make my case. Johnny Manziel could be a millionaire today, instead he plays a very dangerous sport without compensation remotely worthy of his market value.

    I will also point out that businesses in most college towns would gladly offer compensation to a large number of athletes who don’t necessarily have a national profile. Even though it’s not necessary for my argument, that number is much higher than you realize.

    the same one as defined in the OP. The same one I redefined in the post just above your latest.

    Is this what you’re talking about?

    I did not get paid to learn biology as either an undergrad or a graduate student. I got paid to teach biology afterwards, and do biology within profit and nonprofit organizations.

    That sounds less like a “problem” than you being jealous. You were paid to teach as a graduate student and you took classes to get your degree (which were already covered).

    Athletes take classes to finish their degree and they play sports for the school, an activity for which people are willing to pay money to watch. The scholarship should cover their schooling and a stipend or salary should cover their athletic contribution. This doesn’t need to apply to all sports or all student athletes, just like every graduate student isn’t necessarily fully funded.

  134. 134
    Ichthyic

    And that the engineer has a much lower chance of leaving school with life long debilitating injuries. And that the engineering student has a much higher chance of actually working as an engineer. And the engineer won’t get kicked out for visiting an engieering firm.

    already discussed.

  135. 135
    Ichthyic

    That sounds less like a “problem” than you being jealous.

    what the buggering fuck?

    no, you idiot, I’m talking about the money schools spend on athletics programs to the detriment of other programs.

    unless you think that we only need jocks in the world, I rather think it has fuckall to do with being “jealous”

  136. 136
    Ichthyic

    Athletes take classes to finish their degree and they play sports for the school, an activity for which people are willing to pay money to watch.

    Biologists take classes to finish their degree and they contribute to research and teaching at the university, an activity for which people are willing to pay money in tuition fees and research grants.

  137. 137
    doubtthat

    your ignorance is showing yet again. graduate students are NOT compensated for being students, they are directly compensated for work they do to contribute to the education of undergraduates at the university, or as professional research assistants on specific grants.

    Your total lack of reading comprehension is showing. Athletes should be directly compensated for their participation in sports and receive funding for their education, just like grad students.

    if you play football at a university, that is NOT a job, that is training. just like if i do a chemical experiment in a lab that produces a product as part of a university course, that is NOT a job, it is training.

    Bullshit. It’s only “not a job” due to set of stupid rules. Eliminate the restriction on the market so that they have the same freedom that graduate students do and a good many of them would be making millions of dollars immediately.

    The same division is there: scholarship or funding for the academic degree, for which you take classes and study, payment for additional services, be it teaching or performing or competing.

    oh? you’re sure about that? Describe your version of music school for me. Do the students in this music school go on to make megamillions in the music industry? Why not?

    Yes, a good number of them do. John Mayer, for example, was at Berkely. He didn’t graduate, going pro early like so many athletes.

    But yes, people who go to music school end up making money in music sometimes. Shocking, I know.

  138. 138
    Ichthyic

    Johnny Manziel could be a millionaire today

    so could anyone. you want to deal with risks? the proposals have already been discussed.

    otherwise, you’re blowing hot air.

  139. 139
    doubtthat

    no, you idiot, I’m talking about the money schools spend on athletics programs to the detriment of other programs.

    And, idiot, I’m talking about the money that goes to the NCAA and athletic departments and coaches instead of the athletes. The entirety of your nonsensical ramblings are based on wholesale ignorance over where the money is coming from and where it’s going. NBC doesn’t choose between televising football and chemistry labs.

    unless you think that we only need jocks in the world, I rather think it has fuckall to do with being “jealous”

    The degree to which you are incapable of following this discussion is stunning.

    Biologists take classes to finish their degree and they contribute to research and teaching at the university, an activity for which people are willing to pay money in tuition fees and research grants.

    …uh, yeah, that’s sort of the point. All graduate students receive money beyond just that for their education for the services they provide the university. Athletes should be treated the same. The argument that they are already compensated with a degree is just as nonsensical as arguing that graduate students shouldn’t be paid for teaching.

    Athletes have their education paid for, they should also receive compensation for participating in a billion dollar industry generated entirely from their labor hours.

  140. 140
    Ichthyic

    Athletes should be directly compensated for their participation in sports and receive funding for their education, just like grad students.

    but they aren’t actually contributing anything. again, you seem to be missing that part.

    imagine if indeed people were fascinated to watch students run standard lab experiments breeding fruit flies.

    so much so, they were willing to pay the university just to stand there and watch them doing the standard lab exercise.

    How does that them mean the students, in doing their normal training, should be compensated?

    it doesn’t.

    now, the graduate student, OTOH, is the one who set up the standard lab, teaches the students how to do it, and grades them afterward. The graduate student is also doing their own research, in training to be a future researcher or instructor.

    The graduate student is compensated for the work they did in setting up the lab, teaching the students, and grading the coursework. they are NOT compensated by the university just for learning how to teach, or for doing their research.

    If that doesn’t make it any clearer to you, then it isn’t worth trying to discuss it with you.

  141. 141
    doubtthat

    so could anyone. you want to deal with risks? the proposals have already been discussed.

    otherwise, you’re blowing hot air.

    What? No, not “anyone” would receive million dollar offers the second an NCAA rule was changed. Those rules don’t apply to non-athletes, and no one is beating down the door to give biology students large sums of money to endorse their products.

  142. 142
    hoku

    Your averrage person could not be a millionaire instantly if not for stupid rules. Manziel could.

    Also, claiming to have discussed a point doesn’t mean it goes away.

  143. 143
    unclefrogy

    rhebel:
    because sports are obviously much more interesting a subject then the state of high school education and the priorities of education in general.
    The semi-pro world of college sports is very compelling clearly not the fact that some High school in Texas had to use donated money to repair and upgrade the science labs after cutting sports out completely.
    the vast amounts of money involved generated by the need of broadcasters to sell advertisers eyeballs so they can sell cheap beer or new cars or what ever crap they want is clearly more important than educating our youngest citizens with the needed skills, knowledge and understanding we need to prosper as a society in the future.
    pay the fucking jocks or not I do not give a shit I see no rational reason the rest of education should be shorted the needed money to do the job of education.
    The money is consistently not there year after year all this arguing about the budget constraints and should sports get as much as it needs when clearly more money needs to be available generally. Why isn’t it, because education is clearly not as important as next seasons championship

    we can just import highly trained people from foreign countries with special waivers so it will be OK!
    uncle frogy

  144. 144
    doubtthat

    How does that them mean the students, in doing their normal training, should be compensated?

    it doesn’t.

    The hell it doesn’t. If tv companies were paying billions of dollars to watch people fuck around with fruit flies, you better believe the people who deserve that money are the entertaining fruit fly manipulators.

    If an english major writes a novel that gets published, does the school get all the profits?

    The graduate student is compensated for the work they did in setting up the lab, teaching the students, and grading the coursework. they are NOT compensated by the university just for learning how to teach, or for doing their research.

    Jesus, it’s been a while since I’ve been in one of these pointless conversations.

    The entirety of your arguments rests on your assumption that athletes provide nothing to the university. This is a silly point, one that can be easily contradicted by asking yourself to imagine what Oklahoma State’s foundation would look like absent the oil millionaires giving them money because they want the football team to be good.

    The reason athletic departments IN GENERAL are bad for universities is because of the greedy fucks that siphon away the money — administrators, athletic directors, coaches…etc. On top of that, you have the completely useless NCAA gobbling up money.

    You could compensate players entirely from the money Nike or Gatorade pay schools to endorse their product. They can be entirely compensated by the money they bring into the university if you slice away the cancerous hanger-ons that are getting rich of what amounts to free labor.

    You are arguing that those athletes should be denied money generated by their work solely because they’re athletes. It’s a bizarre argument.

  145. 145
    Ichthyic

    Those rules don’t apply to non-athletes, and no one is beating down the door to give biology students large sums of money to endorse their products.

    your argument is based on instances, not theory.

    physics student stumbles on solution for cold fusion.

    biology student discovers cure for any one of thousands of incurable diseases…

    What’s more, there are in fact rules controlling how those students can utilize and profit on those things too.

    In fact, I had to sign a rights waiver as a grad student. The university owned the rights to anything I discovered while in the process of training as a biologist at the university.

    sounds like rules preventing me from getting immediately wealthy off of my discoveries.

    bastards!

    fuck me, but you’re just too ignorant of academia in general to continue this.

  146. 146
    Inaji

    MONITOR NOTE: Again, please keep personalities out of arguments. Argue substance, and try to have a constructive discussion. Please remember to use a person’s nym a/o comment number when replying. Thank you.

  147. 147
    Ichthyic

    This is a silly point, one that can be easily contradicted by asking yourself to imagine what Oklahoma State’s foundation would look like absent the oil millionaires giving them money because they want the football team to be good.

    which proves my fucking point, MORON.

    OIL MILLIONAIRES.

    has fuck all to do with athlete work contributions.

    seriously, you are really dense.

  148. 148
    doubtthat

    What’s more, there are in fact rules controlling how those students can utilize and profit on those things too.

    In fact, I had to sign a rights waiver as a grad student. The university owned the rights to anything I discovered while in the process of training as a biologist at the university.

    sounds like rules preventing me from getting immediately wealthy off of my discoveries.

    bastards!

    fuck me, but you’re just too ignorant of academia in general to continue this.

    Just because that’s how they do things in biology or other fields, that doesn’t mean it’s right.

    If you discover cold fusion using a university lab, you should be compensated. Maybe you don’t get all of the rights as if you were in a private lab, but if they said, “Hey bro, great job discovering cold fusion. Sorry you don’t get a single cent, and if you try to publish any research in your own name or try to profit from your discovery by lecturing, we are going to kick you out of the PhD program,” that would be equally as offensive as what happens with athletes.

  149. 149
    doubtthat

    @147 Ichthyic

    which proves my fucking point, MORON.

    OIL MILLIONAIRES.

    has fuck all to do with athlete work contributions.

    seriously, you are really dense.

    That was incoherent.

    It doesn’t remotely prove your point. If T Boone Pickens gave your university $300 million because he liked fruit fly experiments, you might have a point, but Oklahoma State is able to a great deal because Pickens wanted to donate, in large part to support the football team.

    Professional sports teams are owned by rich people who pay others to play sports. I’m not sure why you find that model startling. Sports teams would be brining in awesome sums for universities to use on all manner of things were it not for the remoras of athletic departments and the NCAA.

  150. 150
    rhebel

    First chance to get back to discuss, 46 points later, one on high school sports, 45 collegiate, I rest my point. Good way to alienate those of us on the fringe wanting to be part of the discussion.

  151. 151
    doubtthat

    Just a thought, but if someone presented a point about high school sports, perhaps it would pique the curiosity of others and a discussion would begin.

  152. 152
    chigau (違う)

    The OP was about High School sports.

  153. 153
    doubtthat

    Sure, and no one really responded to it. I brought up the issue of how Title IX would be affected if high schools cancelled their sports programs, no one took up the conversation. If someone has a point to add about the high school end, I will gladly read it, but I’m not sure what people want, here.

    If the discussion you want isn’t happening, start it.

  154. 154
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If the discussion you want isn’t happening, start it.

    Maybe people are waiting for you to stop your preaching first.

  155. 155
    anchor

    And nobody likes to step into a pool of scalding hot water. It just isn’t an inviting environment.

  156. 156
    doubtthat

    Fair enough, I’m done.

  157. 157
    tbtabby

    I kept waiting for the part of the story where the people of Premont started rioting and calling for rhe head of the un-American Commie Leftist Earnest Singleton for daring to question the importance of kids fighting over inflated pig skins on a muddy field over trivialities such as math and science. I kept waiting for the part where some rich and influential Texans got Singleton fired in favor of someone who brought back the athletic program and gutted math and science further. But it never happened. Faith in humanity restored. Dare we hope this could lead to other school districts following suit? After all, if one district can rid itself of the yoke of an expensive and useless athletics program, why not others?

  158. 158
    consciousness razor

    doubtthat, #99:

    But again, you’ve just set aside athletics from every other performance/entertainment program at a university. People can join a dance program to become professional dancers and if they’re grad students, they get a stipend. If a creative writing graduate student receiving a fellowship gets a book published, they get to keep all of that money, the school doesn’t take. I don’t think the “stated goal” of a university is to generate actors making shitty sitcoms, but those acting students can be paid by the university and then get to keep any money they make while in school.

    I see no reason, given the amount of money generated by football and basketball programs, why those players don’t get the same treatment.

    Who says they don’t?

    If a theater student (or similar) performs in a university venue, and the university charges for tickets to the event, the theater student doesn’t make any money whatsoever (not at any school I’m aware of). If the tickets aren’t free in the first place, it’s because there are always plenty of other things which cost money, other than labor: materials (e.g., sets and costumes), maintenance of the facilities, advertising the event, etc.

    So here are what your options look like:
    1) One of your premises is false: theater students don’t generally profit from their participation in university-sponsored events.
    2) You think thespians, musicians, dancers, artists, etc. should be paid for university-sponsored performances, regardless of whether the “profits” are currently only enough to cover other basic expenses.
    3) You think college athletes should not participate in university-sponsored events, but instead in some kind of independent league (so that they would be paid).

    And this is all beside point. If there were a widespread problem of student athletes in general not being able to support themselves at even a basic level, ensuring a few of the biggest stars have more freedom to make the big bucks on endorsement deals ought to be somewhere near the bottom of the list.

    But yes, people who go to music school end up making money in music sometimes. Shocking, I know.

    It’s irrelevant whether some “end up” making money, any time in the future, even while they’re no longer at the university.

  159. 159
    hoku

    The difference is that if the theater student is invited to take a part in a professional production or start his own traveling show, he doesn’t get kicked out of the theater program.

    Also the theater student didn’t have to go to college in order to act.

    College sports are a massively exploitative industry, that are a problem for both the athletesa nd a parasite for the schools. But that isn’t the fault of the athletes. I think we can both push for the elimination of the NCAA while taking care of the players.

    Also, I fully agree high-school sports are a total cluster fuck.

  160. 160
    sugarfrosted

    I remember when the administration claimed that seat sales and donations would payback the cost UC Berkeley’s new football stadium. Turns out that doesn’t seem to be happening:
    http://www.dailycal.org/2012/10/19/report-shows-decrease-in-premium-seat-sales-meant-to-fund-memorial-stadium/
    http://www.dailycal.org/2013/09/19/quarterly-report-shows-decline-in-memorial-stadium-esp-sales/
    I suspect that eventually the students will end up footing the bill.

  161. 161
    hoku

    Another point: men’s football teams are great at sending women to college. Usually up to 53 per football team.

  162. 162
    consciousness razor

    The difference is that if the theater student is invited to take a part in a professional production or start his own traveling show, he doesn’t get kicked out of the theater program.

    He certainly does, if he’s not attending theater classes and misses too many of the school-related rehearsals and performances. Miss just a couple of rehearsals (at a lot of schools), and your spot will be filled by someone else.

    Don’t go to class, because you’re in a traveling show? Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble, but that does tend to generate Fs. Which is what matters as far as staying in the “program” goes, because it’s an academic program. With classes and stuff. Not a money-making scheme involving live performances.

    Also the theater student didn’t have to go to college in order to act.

    An athlete doesn’t need to either, in order to be an athlete.

  163. 163
    hoku

    If a football player has 4.0, is a decent player, and even meets with an nfl player, they will ban him from football and strip his scholarship.

    Also a football or basketball player essentially does have to play in college. There’s been one exception: Brandon Jennings.

  164. 164
    Anri

    consciousness razor:

    He certainly does, if he’s not attending theater classes and misses too many of the school-related rehearsals and performances. Miss just a couple of rehearsals (at a lot of schools), and your spot will be filled by someone else.

    Don’t go to class, because you’re in a traveling show? Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble, but that does tend to generate Fs. Which is what matters as far as staying in the “program” goes, because it’s an academic program. With classes and stuff. Not a money-making scheme involving live performances.

    He gets an F from meeting with the dance troupe?
    Oh, wait, no he doesn’t.
    Does he get kicked out of the program from having lunch with the troupe’s director?
    I’m thinking… no.
    Does our theoretical performer get dropped like a hot rock if their working in professional productions makes them a better performer, if they’re able to handle the workload?
    The answer is “of course not!”

    …and that’s the difference.

    While at school for CAD, I got a job doing CAD. Should I have been drummed out for doing so? I still got straight-A’s.

  165. 165
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    While at school for CAD, I got a job doing CAD. Should I have been drummed out for doing so? I still got straight-A’s.

    Non-sequitur unless you were there on a scholarship specifying you couldn’t take such a job. Why are to pay-the-athletes proponents so ignorant of basic thinking?

  166. 166
    Jacob Schmidt

    Non-sequitur unless you were there on a scholarship specifying you couldn’t take such a job. Why are to pay-the-athletes proponents so ignorant of basic thinking?

    Seriously, Nerd? The argument is that such restrictions are pointless. All they do is harm the player; they accomplish nothing else. So unless you can find a reason to toss out Anri from her scholarship, treating sports differently is merely arbitrary.

  167. 167
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    So unless you can find a reason to toss out Anri from her scholarship, treating sports differently is merely arbitrary.

    Seriously, you aren’t thinking. If you have a scholarship that requires you to live in a dorm, or work less than X hours a week at a part-time job, and you break those terms, you have no complaint if you are dropped from that scholarship program. Get real.

  168. 168
    consciousness razor

    He gets an F from meeting with the dance troupe?
    Oh, wait, no he doesn’t.
    Does he get kicked out of the program from having lunch with the troupe’s director?
    I’m thinking… no.
    Does our theoretical performer get dropped like a hot rock if their working in professional productions makes them a better performer, if they’re able to handle the workload?
    The answer is “of course not!”
    …and that’s the difference.

    What difference does any of that make? I don’t care if they’re simply “having lunch” with recruiters. And if they have time for a job on the side of all this, I wouldn’t be the one to stop them. (Because having a job isn’t what I was arguing against; it was the false claims about student artists making loads of money via their degree programs, and how it isn’t fair for the poor athletes. Completely made-up bullshit, in other words.)

    But what exactly is all of that supposed to do for any of the sorry cases people keep bringing up in the rest of the thread? Will it heal their injuries, so they can keep playing and keep getting their scholarships? Are they expected to play for the college and for a pro sports team at the same time (while also “going to school” if that’s still what they call it these days)? You’re saying that should be allowed, assuming anyone would be silly enough to want that? That wouldn’t dramatically increase the risk of injuries?

    The argument is that such restrictions are pointless. All they do is harm the player; they accomplish nothing else.

    Lifting the restrictions accomplishes what? How exactly is this causing harm?

  169. 169
    Jacob Schmidt

    If you have a scholarship that requires you to live in a dorm, or work less than X hours a week at a part-time job, and you break those terms, you have no complaint if you are dropped from that scholarship program.

    I understand that breaking the restrictions of a scholarship forfeits said scholarship; I’m questioning the justification for such a restriction in the first place.

    So tell me, why should such a restriction be in place?

    How exactly is this causing harm?

    You hit on it earlier:

    I don’t care if they’re simply “having lunch” with recruiters. And if they have time for a job on the side of all this, I wouldn’t be the one to stop them.

    But doing those things (particularly meeting with recruiters) can get them kicked out. From Crip Dyke above: “Note that the NCAA bans student athletes from getting most jobs. In the past, this has resulted in sinecures from boosters who recognize that all the student-athlete’s time is pretty regimented. This system was clearly unfair and only benefited a few star athletes. As a result, however, vast numbers of athletes are barred from taking jobs.

  170. 170
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    For me, the issue is that the NCAA spends a lot of time insisting that the student-athletes be amateurs and not profit from what they’re doing – then turns around and profits from them and treats them as if they were professionals (except for that pesky “pros get paychecks” thing).

    I think paying the athletes is a foolish idea – but the idiotic rules forbidding them from having jobs to pay their expenses and from profiting at all from their celebrity need to go. Fine, set a cap on how much they can bring in. Make them negotiate something whereby the student gets x% of the proceeds. But the NCAA makes millions off of these people, then bleats about “amateurism.”

    Something that bugs me as well is that a fair number of people who get into college on athletic scholarships are not doing it because they seriously think they’ll turn pro (or even want that) – their goal is to get an education, an education they’d never be able to afford otherwise. The way athletic scholarships are structured cannot be examined without examining the larger issue of just how lower-income students are supposed to afford college without them.

  171. 171
    timgueguen

    This post by Sikivu Hutchinson sort of connects with this issue. http://freethoughtblogs.com/blackskeptics/2013/09/18/the-war-against-black-children/ How many minority high school kids end up getting into sports, in the hopes it might lead them to a college scholarship, ,because they aren’t encouraged to go the academic route? Because even their teachers and parents treat academics as a “white thing?”(Unless you’re Asian of course, and then an entirely different set of stereotypes kick in.)

  172. 172
    John Caplinger

    I have to second the comments of Burgundy in #6. When I was taking physical education, there was zero education involved from grades 7 – 12. I was lucky, I was a bookworm whose parents encouraged him to lift weights, do gymnastics, and run. In each PE class, they graded your ability to perform a task that had not been taught and penalized any lack of enthusiasm, and encouraged people to think of exercise as sports that they would never, ever be able to practice regularly once they left the school system.

    Since high school, I have had a successful stint in the Infantry, finished college, and have worked in computers for thirty years. Every time one of my former alma maters calls for money, I simply tell them that I cannot donate to an organization that wastes money on organized sports, because it is against my religion. I also hit the gym twice a week to promote health, something I did NOT learn in a PE course. That, and the unarmed combat training, keep me in shape IN SPITE of the emphasis in this country on watching millionaire adults playing children’s games and the machinery to deliver these gladiators to the arena that masquerades as an educational system.

  173. 173
    doubtthat

    @158 consciousness razor

    If a theater student (or similar) performs in a university venue, and the university charges for tickets to the event, the theater student doesn’t make any money whatsoever (not at any school I’m aware of). If the tickets aren’t free in the first place, it’s because there are always plenty of other things which cost money, other than labor: materials (e.g., sets and costumes), maintenance of the facilities, advertising the event, etc.

    Sure, but no one is making crap tons of money from that theater performance. The compensation of scholarships/graduate stipends…etc. is well in line with the amount of money generated by that theater performance.

    If, for some reason, that particular performance became a massive hit and it generated millions of dollars, of course the actors and the director should take in some of that money. Certainly the school has an interest and should be able to take a share, but it would be equally preposterous in theater if the actors were kicked out of school for accepting money based on the notoriety they gained from their performance.

    Also insulting would be an independent cabal “oversight” organization that siphoned off millions of dollars from theater performances while enforcing laws that made it impossible for the actual performers to cash in on their work product.

    So here are what your options look like:
    1) One of your premises is false: theater students don’t generally profit from their participation in university-sponsored events.

    No, the premise isn’t false, the analogy between sports and theater at university doesn’t extend to the specific point you’re trying to make. Gatorade isn’t giving the theater professor millions of dollars to put on a production, and there’s no cabal ensuring that theater students are denied even a cent from the profit.

    The income->student compensation model is justified at theater departments, it isn’t for sports.

    2) You think thespians, musicians, dancers, artists, etc. should be paid for university-sponsored performances, regardless of whether the “profits” are currently only enough to cover other basic expenses.

    No, I don’t believe students should be paid disproportionately to the money their activities generate. Right now millions, hell, billions of dollars are generated by college sports (mostly football and basketball), but that money is going into the hands of athletic departments, coaches, and the NCAA rather than the people whose labor is actually generating that revenue. As I’ve said before, this isn’t an issue of taking money from universities to pay athletes, it’s a matter of taking money from greedy athletic departments and comically over-compensated coaches.

    3) You think college athletes should not participate in university-sponsored events, but instead in some kind of independent league (so that they would be paid).

    No, I don’t think that. I don’t think I’ve written anything of the sort. The pay model should be based on graduate student compensation (not necessarily the amount). This infrastructure already exists, the only adjustments are (1) giving direct stipends to student athletes and (2) eliminating the silly rules that deny them the ability to receive payment based on their status, ie-endorsements, local commercials…etc.

    And this is all beside point. If there were a widespread problem of student athletes in general not being able to support themselves at even a basic level, ensuring a few of the biggest stars have more freedom to make the big bucks on endorsement deals ought to be somewhere near the bottom of the list.

    First of all, that is a significant issue. A lot of the folks playing sports at these major institutions do not come from wealthy families.

    Second, the issue is what to do with the money that these students are generating. Right now that money flows to a long list of people who are minimally responsible for the revenue generation (this, as I said earlier, is a problem in the academic side of Universities as administrators and other unnecessary personnel receive gigantic salaries while the adjuncts and professors doing the actual work are undercompensated).

    The point is to reroute the money to the athletes, instead of NCAA officials and useless athletic department administrators.

  174. 174
    vaiyt

    Right now millions, hell, billions of dollars are generated by college sports (mostly football and basketball), but that money is going into the hands of athletic departments, coaches, and the NCAA rather than the people whose labor is actually generating that revenue.

    And yet, that doesn’t change the fact that said billions of dollars are being reinvested in sports, therefore being of little to no benefit to the academic mission of the institutions.

  175. 175
    unclefrogy

    #174
    it looks to me that the point of college as presented here by some is the production of professional athletes and pay those who remain enrolled money. The academics are the window dressing g that at best contributes to what constitutes eligibility to play at worst is a complete sham.
    at the university level sports are an entertainment business that the institutions engage in at the expense of everything else which used to be the core function of universities.

    it is worse at the secondary level they have all the expense but none of the income to offset it!

    uncle frogy

  176. 176
    Jacob Schmidt

    In each PE class, they graded your ability to perform a task that had not been taught and penalized any lack of enthusiasm, and encouraged people to think of exercise as sports that they would never, ever be able to practice regularly once they left the school system.

    I seem to have a pretty awesome PE experience. I was mandatory up to 9th grade, and after that it was totally optional. All PE classes involved practising for the sport of those 2 weeks. We’d spend a week running drills on the basics, some time practising the more complex stuff, and the last few days was devoted totally to organised play. After those two weeks, the sport changed.

    Health class was also part of PE here; every 6 weeks or so, we’d spend a week or two learning some health related thing, like sex ed.

    A functional model exists. It can be done and it isn’t that difficult.

  177. 177
    Ben G

    I went to a highschool with no sports teams. The school was designed not to have teams, they were never cut. The school developed an interesting atmosphere because of this, but it is hard to say whether or not it was better or worse off without the sports. Without sports to divide the student body, people found other ways to be divided. There was a lot of separation by race and nationality. There were cliques for the drama students and the music students which who behaved in ways similar to jocks. We had the kid who got away with poor grades because he could play the violin or chess instead of the kid who could throw a football.

    As for academics, the school performed well compared to the state average and maybe the lack of sports had something to do with it, but it’s not an easy thing to determine without rigorous study.

  178. 178
    Area Man

    “People are always trying to argue that these sports programs pay for themselves, and I don’t believe it for a minute.”

    I’m sure someone already mentioned this, but only a handful of colleges, a couple of dozen at most, have athletic departments that generate net positive revenue. Football itself is profitable at about half of FBS colleges (but at none of the FCS or lower divisions), but with a few exceptions all the profit gets spent on other sports.

    This of course badly undermines the case for paying players. I have yet to see an advocate of that grapple with the fact that there’s no money lying around to pay them with, that the money will have to come out of the pockets of students and taxpayers. It’s just taken for granted that college sports generate lots of money and unpaid players are being “exploited”.

  179. 179
    Eristae

    I find the comparison of undergraduate college football scholarships to a combination of graduate teaching assistantships and tuition waivers to be irritating.

  180. 180
    Area Man

    …it’s a matter of taking money from greedy athletic departments and comically over-compensated coaches.

    Surely, spending millions more on a new class of people with outstretched palms will totally solve this problem!

  181. 181
    Anri

    Nerd:

    Non-sequitur unless you were there on a scholarship specifying you couldn’t take such a job. Why are to pay-the-athletes proponents so ignorant of basic thinking?

    Ok, so, enlighten me: I was under the impression that a college athlete is barred from joining a professional team, scholarship or not. I personally haven’t heard of anyone playing for (for example) UNO and the Saints simultaneously – but that’s totes possible, right? Happens all the time?

    If this is not against the rules, if I am honestly mistaken about playing pro ball masking a college athlete automatically ineligible, regardless of if they are paying their own way in school or not, I’ll apologize and shut the hell up about the issue.
    If, on the other hand, it’s against the rules, then you haven’t addressed my question and I’d appreciate it if you did.

  182. 182
    maxdevlin

    I support focusing more on academics and less on sports in American schools. But I have to say, it disturbs me when I see anyone, even proponents of an idea I agree with, badly misusing statistics. Most especially when supposedly engaging in “smart talk”.

    To compare the expense per player for sports to per student for academic subjects is preposterously dishonest. It isn’t just apples and oranges, it is oranges and the color orange: two entirely different measurements of two entirely unrelated things caused by two disparate processes, which happen to be presented as if they are somehow comparable because of a visual resemblance. What led anyone to think that the amount that is spent per cheerleader (we presume that not every student is a cheerleader, but are given no indication of how many there are) is comparable or should automatically be less than the amount spent per student in math (which is taught to and therefore includes every student in the school)?

    This is the worst possible approach for anyone who thinks they’re going to be arguing against school sports programs using logic. It is bad enough you think logic is how such things are decided, by either individuals or groups or yourselves, but it is unacceptable to think so while using such bad logic.

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