1. blf says


    <snark>Rugby only recently outlawed edged weapons.</snark>

    In soccer, the lunatics are in the stands, watching. In rugby, the lunatics are on the field, playing. (So in gridiron they’re all lunatics?)

  2. Sastra says

    Had me fooled!

    I thought it was going to be about the theology department.

    Should have known it wasn’t from the reference to spending “fortunes.” Only groups like Campus for Christ do that, and it’s with their own money. Mostly.

  3. prfesser says

    Yes. The entire headbrick program at my small university gets a “subsidy” from state funds. The subsidy has increased virtually every year and is now several million dollars. However, for that money we get……..uh……..something or another………

  4. Trebuchet says

    I thought it was going to be about the theology department.

    Football IS a religion in a good many places. Look at the gnashing of teeth that accompanied the downfall of Saint Joe Paterno.

  5. fastlane says

    And those leading the headbrick groups get paid way more than those who teach actual academic classes. Totally makes sense.


  6. canadiansteve says

    Not to even mention the trickle down effect to highschools…. I have a gr 12 student right now that has sufferred 3 concussions and continues to play.

  7. alexanderjohannesen says

    Not having much knowledge of sports in general and US football specifically, could someone carefully explain what this is about? I can understand recursive cumulative histographical functions over real-time object trees auto-generate ontologies for graph structures, no worries, but this “sport” thing is having me baffled.

  8. prfesser says

    Colleges and universities in the U.S. have sports teams of all sorts, which play in various intercollegiate “leagues”. The cost to support these sports teams, with some exceptions, is significantly more than the income brought in by fans. Many players obtain full-ride tuition/room/board scholarships, and many receive other nonmonetary benefits, such as a trivial sentence for attempting to run over people with an automobile.

  9. Loqi says

    There’s also a huge scandal involving concussions in football. Thousands of former players are suing the NFL. Collegiate football is starting to feel the heat as well, since at least professional football players make millions of dollars and can afford the best health care available. College athletes (ostensibly) make nothing, and are out of luck if their brain brains go to mush.

  10. alexanderjohannesen says

    Thanks, I feel much more enlightened now. If this “sports” thing is so dangerous and limiting, why are everybody into it? Is it like self-deprecation, or mass hysteria?

    Incidentally, this has got to be the shortest Pharyngula thread in history, no?

  11. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    College athletes (ostensibly) make nothing, and are out of luck if their brain brains go to mush. – Loqi

    How do you mean, go to mush?

  12. John Morales says


    Not having much knowledge of sports in general and US football specifically, could someone carefully explain what this is about?

    Sport is competitive playing, US football is where people form two teams, armor up and then within a limited time period under a particular set of rules each team positions itself and then physically contends with the other team in small bursts of activity separated by longer pauses over a token in order to score points, with the team scoring the most points being considered the winner.

    The physical contention can occasion physical trauma and the cumulative probability of brain damage resulting from this aggregate trauma is considered an unacceptable level by some people.

    (Pretty simple, really)

  13. John Morales says


    Aussie rules is like that, except without the armor and with occasional long bursts of activity.

    (Has same issues but to a lesser degree — the armor allows the players to better cope with more energetic impacts and so makes them more likely to occur)

  14. alexanderjohannesen says

    @John : I live in rugby land, and get told repeatedly that those Aussie-rules folks are mad. Personally I think they’re all barking mad.

    My facetious “ignorance” aside, I do really don’t understand the point of sports *apart* from some primitive lust for one tribe to beat some other tribe, and the more professional it gets, the more money involved, the less I get it, and the main problem I have is this; why does it give some people pleasure to see a particular team win? Is this simply a choice we make about what pack we’re with (or some abstraction thereof), and feelings of belonging automatically flows that way? Is our affiliation with a group of people we never even socialize with (in professional sports, at least) or have actual connection with (for example, on a professional team called “Manchester” where none of the players nor the coach is from Manchester) a healthy mental state of affairs? For me, it’s the opposite of critical thinking; you’ve picked a principle or color or team or category (from arbitrary criteria), and you’re sticking with it to the point of emotional stress and relief, sometimes even violence, grief and depression, sometimes insane displays of passion and joy … from this superficial, arbitrary and abstract category people have in their minds? I don’t get it.

    You can tell I’m a lot of fun at the sausage sizzle. I don’t like talking about the weather, either.

  15. erikthebassist says

    my 2 cents; people do all sorts of dangerous things for either their own or for other’s entertainment. As long as the risks are known, people should have the autonomy to make their own risk vs reward decisions.

    I’m torn on this whole football issue. I actually like the game. The the incredible sophistication of it, the strategery and chess match like aspect just fascinates me. To watch the best of the best square off is always fun.

    But the growing evidence that these mini concussions that all players inevitably incur could have much more drastic long term effects than ever imagined leaves me wondering if there is indeed any meaningfull informed consent.

    I know the NFL is going to great pains to make the game safer. There’s all kinds of new rules about being medically cleared after suffering a concussion and what not, but what about at the entry level?

    Are parents of little league players being informed about the new science on consussions? Are highschool players who suit up for the first time being warned? I know I wasn’t.

    So I’m torn, I’d hate to lose the opportunity to see elite athletes push their minds and bodies to the limit, but I hate the thought of one of my favorite sources of entertainment being responsible for the deaths and/or disabilities of potentially thousands of people.

    Again, if there’s informed consent about the known risks, ultimately I’m ok with it, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on.

  16. erikthebassist says


    I’m with you on that, while I love the game, I don’t give a rats ass at the end of the day who wins or loses.

    I play fantasy football, where you pick players from the various teams and get points based on how they perform, so I may be often seen cheering for a particular player to score, but I don’t get the tribalism associated with being a fan of a particular team either, and I’m from buffalo, A football and hockey town with a drinking problem.

    Everybody here is a football / hockey fanatic, so much so that it can be hard sometimes to fit in around your place of work or in certain social circles if you can’t have a halfway informed discussion about the Bills and the Sabers.

  17. alexanderjohannesen says

    @john : derailing a thread going as empty and slow as this one, with something that’s actually on-topic? :)

  18. erikthebassist says

    man there’s just too many typos in my #18 to bother correcting them, but consider them acknowledged. =(