Tuesday, May 3, 2016

College sports really ought to be banned

I read in the Detroit Free Press this morning that most collegiate football programs, indeed most college athletics, are effectively underwritten by the schools through their general funds. That means tuition and fees pay for them. That means that too, at least for many, our taxes through our state governments pay for college sports. All this is fuel to a fire which has burning in my gut for years now. I think we ought to get rid of college athletics, or at least those which are not self supporting.

Be honest: athletics by and large are peripheral at best to the academic mission anyway. Why should our taxes pay for them? And please don't bother about how they help kids get college education who otherwise might not, because that presumes two things both of which by and large are wrong. First, with all the money available for education these days those who really want to go to college will make it. Second, it assumes higher education a value in any and all areas of life. It is not.

Granted, to that last point we need to destroy the mentality that you must have college to be successful. As with many other things, college can be good in some areas yet not in others. To the first point, many things are presumed which I don't think ought to be expected of tax monies. Why must taxes however indirectly pay for someone's playtime? Why should taxes offer a springboard for someone else to command millions of dollars playing games?

Yes, yes, yes, some will argue that sports bring prestige to schools. Perhaps they do for some. But I can't see that a serious researcher would believe that important. Someone looking for a cure for cancer surely isn't about to argue that a football program, especially when (as is true the bulk of the time) the game drains the school of funds, is really worthwhile. And I simply cannot imagine The University of Michigan or Michigan State losing image without sports. It doesn't seem to have affected Harvard or Yale, two universities not exactly well known for sports, but well known just the same.

I know this will never happen if for no other reason that too much money for too many folks is at stake; that's the same reason the tax codes will never be simplified. But we really ought to ban college athletics. They take money from the schools, taxpayers, and college loan students which they simply should not.

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