Category Archives: college sports

December 3, 2011, 12:24 pm

Friday Night Fights: Protecting Football At Every Level, Any Cost

Questions about why college football programs breed scandal and off the field violence might want to look at high school football for clues.  Today’s New York Times has a story about Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey, which will take the field against Old Tappan in the state sectional championship game tonight minus nine players.  The nine were suspended from playing only this week following aggravated assault charges filed well over a month ago: “The nine players, all but one of whom are minors,” Harvey Araton writes, “are accused of beating two students from the district’s other high school, Wayne Valley, after an earlier confrontation at a house party. One of the victims was said to have been left unconscious in the street.”  The second victim, although not beaten until he was unconscious, was kicked and stomped after having been knocked to the ground.

No sport but…

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June 16, 2011, 12:45 pm

Question: Why Do Development Offices Raise Money For Sports When Academics Are Being Cut?

I’ve got an idea:  let’s run a fund-raiser for the humanities!

Answer: Because the entertainment value of major sports for fans, alumni/ae and students — primarily the football and basketball programs that can be packaged and sold to a mass audience –  is viewed as a necessary and normal feature of university life.  But that’s not true.  Instead, it is a competitor for funds that ought to be going to teaching and learning, and because of that, part of what threatens the survival of full-time academic labor and the accessibility of higher education to a broad range of students.

Why am I, a sports fan, thinking these crazy thoughts?  Libby Sander’s reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education this morning that 22 elite college sports programs made a profit in the last fiscal year.  This is an increase from “from 14 the previous year….The median surplus at those programs was…

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September 5, 2010, 2:16 pm

Cultural Studies; Or, The Perils Of Mislabeling Campus Problems

One of the things I have noticed, probably because I live with an anthropologist, is that academics tend to use the word “culture” to describe a variety of things that, actually, are not cultural at all. It is true that “culture” has a great many meanings, depending on the context in which it is being used, the historical period or thing that is being described, and the intellectual tradition (if any) that is being referenced: here are a few. For social scientists, most centrally anthropologists, “culture” is far more likely to invoke a set of usefully contentious questions and methodological choices than an answer to any given problem.

In a college or university setting, however, when someone starts talking about “culture” it is too frequently the end of the discussion, an explanation for why things must be as they are and/or a way of distancing from something nettlesome. You will…

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