The Sad State of College Sports

This week has proven to be a very sad week for the NCAA. It started with the Pac-12 and the scandal over the officials being bullied by the head referee to call a technical foul on the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats in exchange for $5,000 or a trip to Cancun.

The very next day ESPN reports that Mike Rice, head coach of the Rutgers mens basketball team, was using homophobic slurs and violence as his coaching strategy. He would use the slurs when addressing his players. Rice would throw the ball at the players, including at the heads of the players. He’d push them and kick them. If that wasn’t enough, the assistant coach was doing the same. The Athletic Director of Rutgers suspended Rice without pay for three games back in December as well as fined the coach $50,000 (the coach ended up losing $75,000 for ordeal, I think I heard on a radio show this morning).

Then comes the dual accusation that the University of Auburn was changing grades of their football players as well as paying them money to play for the team. And secondly, that many of those players failed synthetic marijuana tests as well. The team that is under the microscope is the 2011 national championship team that featured players like QB Cam Newton, now the QB of the Carolina Panthers, and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, now playing for the Detroit Lions.

The referee in question of the Pac-12 scandal has resigned. The head coach of Rutgers has been fired and his assistant resigned. The Rutgers Athletic Director mutually agreed to step down from his position after the uproar, including some of the Rutgers University faculty, called for both the AD and school president to be fired along with the coach. The Auburn situation still needs to be investigated further.

How has the NCAA come to this? It’s very sad to me. These athletic programs were meant to be ways that kids could get scholarships to college through the various sports. Yet this institution has become a disastrous monster. Programs are soliciting prostitutes to recruit high school seniors to play for their schools (University of Miami anyone?). Grades are forged to keep star players on the field. Questions of the legitimacy of the majors picked by many athletes are rising up. General Education major? Really? I’m studying English and I find this ridiculous. At Penn State the head football coach was the most powerful man on campus? Coaches are the highest paid employees on the faculty?

I think America needs to take a hard look at itself. We have turned what should have been a great tool to help our young people get the education they need to make something of themselves and turned it into an idol that is killing us. Sure there is outcry when these terrible evils occur, as there should be. But we let it get like this in the first place. I can tell you that I get extremely mad when Mizzou didn’t play well this year in both football and basketball. College kids, whom I’m a full decade older than the freshmen, are making me angry at their failure to win ball games. Not the acceptable kind of angry. But the wrong kind.

As I listened to the horrible news that unfolded this week, I couldn’t help but think may be it’s time to see college athletics go. I hate thinking this way because I know kids that could use these scholarships. But when star athletes are getting special treatment (changing grades?) so that they can get a scholarship to play for a college, then the athletic departments have lost their way.

It’s time for America to own up to this culture we have cultivated. Admit that we have turned a good thing into a bad thing. And then let’s reconsider the NCAA and college sports. There has got to be a better way to do college sports than how it is being done now. Or has this monster gotten so out of control that it is totally lost and needs to be put down all together?

The sad state of college sports is this: it’s a moral monster than is participating in the destruction of America’s soul.

~ by hankimler on April 6, 2013.

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