I really shouldn’t have to be talking about this, but here I am. This is not a specific attack on a specific program, although it should be obvious what sparked this post.
College sports makes a ton of money. Even a mediocre football or basketball program can be financially successful for their school. Coaches can make multiple times more in salary than even the best professor, a problem that seems to be growing every year.
When the NCAA placed sanctions on Penn State for their scandal, it involved the loss of football scholarships. Fine. Think what you want about the scandal and the punishments but while I am not happy with the loss of any scholarships for potentially deserving individuals, these scholarships should have been kept and pushed to academic programs. That is where they could have been truly useful.
I do not want to say that every person on an athletic scholarship is there for some easy-A free ride, but it is a system that benefits from such actions. Someone in a law or economics program would never have the same chances afforded to them because, well, no law or Econ program is going to make the school millions of dollars a year. Off topic, but is there a good reason tuitions keep raising at these schools? I hope it’s not to pay a coach a few extra hundred thousand. I don’t care how good your team is.
I’ve said it before, but putting athletics over everything else does no one any favors. It is this mindset that creates the cult-like atmospheres of programs like Penn State, Miami, and others. This is not to say that every college sports program is inherently evil, but the chance always is there because of how much these schools seem to desperately need success out of their athletics in order to feel important. Sure, non-athletes love attending a good sports school, but it is not the most prevalent factor to deciding a university to spend four or more years and thousands upon thousands of dollars to be a student of. Athletes are not even a major percentage of the student body, but it is damn sure the percentage that matters to pop culture.
If you wanna support a team, fine, but maybe do a little better to support the whole school instead of just the few dozen people you might see on television. Those other people, the ones in the classrooms, are who really matters. Never forget that.