Sunday, February 01, 2009

Football, the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is now in progress. U.S. football two fatal, interconnected, flaws. Neither of them has anything to do with the game of football itself but instead in how players are selected. To put it out there directly, the connection between college football and professional football should be severed entirely. College football should not be the minor leagues for pro football. Doing so takes the focus, and the money, of colleges off of academics and onto something that contributes nothing to colleges in their role as centers of education. It promotes dishonesty in higher education, where the best potential players are given the kid gloves treatment academically in order to keep them at the school, and it promotes the partying, binge drinking, lifestyle among students that's gotten attention in the last few years. Huge sports complexes are built while programs starve.

Additionally, sports scholarships for college are inherently unfair. The students who I'm talking about in this case are folks who do have some academic talent and who in most likelihood won't go on to play professionally. For these folks, it's awfully fortunate that they have a genetic endowment that has allowed them to be able to compete and be successful in sports. The guy who's six and a half feet tall and has a wiry body, who plays basketball as well as study, is not responsible for being six and a half feet tall. His being that height was the luck of the genetic draw, and this thing for which he was not responsible shouldn't be the factor that gives him a scholarship and denies a scholarship to people similarly talented academically who do not have his good fortune.

This inequality cuts across all groups. What happens when you have two guys who are black, one of which is really good at school but short and not really athletic, while the other one is good at school and is also husky and on the football team? Would it really be fair for the latter person's athletic ability to push him over into a scholarship for college while the other person potentially has more problems getting economic support for his education?

All of this feeds into the college system, which then gives rise to the pro system. What should happen is that a minor league should be established for football outside of the college system and scholarships expanded to include more people who are just good at school instead of good at school and good athletes as well. College football and sports aren't bad if they're kept collegial and not turned into semi-professional training grounds.

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