College sports v. academics

Great article in the New York Times about the interplay between academics and sports on our nation’s college campuses.

How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life from the New York Times, Jan. 20, 2012

(Full disclosure, I cheer for the Hawkeyes and grew up cheering for the Badgers.  And my daughter is playing atop a blanket made of licensed Hawkeye fleece At This Very Moment.)

Lots of aspects of collegiate sports are disgusting, low graduation rates and unfair athlete compensation among them.  This article does a great job of highlighting the eclipsing of academics by big time college sports at our major institutes of higher learning.

In his recent book “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” Dr. [Charles T.] Clotfelter [of Duke] notes that between 1985 and 2010, average salaries at public universities rose 32 percent for full professors, 90 percent for presidents and 650 percent for football coaches.

Man, if the education bubble that is so popular to cite these day were to burst, it would be a shame that the wealth that it created was not showered more evenly upon the people who were a part of it.  I know that college sports, particularly football, can draw in revenue for a school, but those universities really ought to keep their core mission at least in the back of their minds.

More evidence of the same problem:

Spending on high-profile sports grew at double to triple the pace of that on academics [between 2004 and 2009]. For example, Big Ten colleges, including Penn State, spent a median of $111,620 per athlete on athletics and $18,406 per student on academics.

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