Saturday, May 05, 2012

Ban College Football?

Well, maybe  .   .   .

In more than 20 years I've spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education: academics.

That's because college football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned. A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today's times.

-From Why College Football Should be Banned, in today's WSJ.  This is written by Buzz Bissinger, the author who wrote Friday Night Lights.

This idea started going through my head as a student at Duke who lived in a quad across from the KA section.  The KA's gave a home to the football players, except for the skill players, who were either Phi Delts or ATO's.  I didn't have much use for any of them.  (Somehow the University of Chicago seemed to get along just fine without much of a football program.)

On the other hand, college football undeniably builds "community," and community - at least healthy community - has to have a positive impact on "academics." 

I would also suggest that to define "higher education" in terms of "academics" begs the question of what is (are?) "academics," as Mr. Bissinger views academics?  For that matter, what does he mean by "higher education" beyond a simple definition of what happens after high school.   I would suggest that college football needs to be put in its place, rather then banned, and I would also suggest that the problem can be traced to the board of trustees at a given institution. 

Bissinger, then, can't really be serious about banning college football. And, finally . . .

Go, Canes!


Sean Meade said...

unfortunately, much of big time college football (which you know i like plenty) devalues academics. the resources, the violations (USC here in town just got caught again), etc.

funny story: i was at college homecoming and a friend said he was going to the football game. i said 'why? we never went when we were in school?' he said 'yeah, but i don't know any of these guys.' so true.

the priority and pressure of football is a nice chunk of reality at big universities, but is that what we want?


Paul Stokes said...

Thanks, Sean. I think of the 'Canes and the mess they are in with that convicted thief. I think of the Penn State program. In the middle of it are young males on the threshold of manhood, and we see what what they are exposed to. On the other hand, the Press doesn't tell us about FCA and its work or of the work Christian ministries are doing (at least, when they are allowed to do their work, cf. Vanderbilt). Why should we expect college football to be whole, when other institutions are just as broken.