Q: Are there certain myths about college sports that should be examined?
A: Although a great many people prefer not to think about it, it continues to be a problem of concern.
By the time this is read either Alabama or Texas will be National College Football Champions. The hype building up to this game, and the game itself, will contribute to the myth that millions and millions of dollars have been generated for college funds. What people choose to forget is the cost it takes to have big athletic programs like this.
Several years back a professor from Purdue University named Murray Sperber wrote two books exposing certain myths. One was "College Sports Inc." which revealed the excesses of college athletics, and the cost involved to compete in the big arena. He proved that most schools lost money in this attempt; and put their athletic departments in a deep debt that had to be picked up academic budgets.
In "College Sports Inc." Sperber said that even the largest football programs were often deep in debt. He named colleges; and also college coaches that had taken advantage of academia in order to promote athletics, or fill individual pockets. So far no law suits have been instituted against him.
Sperber's next book was "Beer & Circus," which accused certain colleges of undermining undergraduates in order to compete in the athletic world.
Shortly after that, the magazine, "Sports Illustrated," ran a story incorporating some of the matters Sperber had taken up. In that article even Alabama's National Championship Coach, Gene Stallings, admitted that there were problems that needed to be addressed.
Now William E. "Brit" Kiwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and Gerald Turner, president of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, have written an essay in the Washington Post that says, "College football is headed for meltdown unless they develop a business model consistent with the economic realities of our times, and that would benefit student-athletes and educational institutions alike."
Kiwan & Turner say that despite the influx of significant revenue, including cash from bowl games, television contracts, and ticket sales, nearly all football programs are subsidized by the universities through student fees, allocations from general funds, and even state appropiations.
Kiwan & Turner point out a report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association that says in the 2007-08 school year, nearly 80 percent of major athletic programs reported operating deficits, with programs in the red losing $9.9 million.
Most of us love sports. But has it become a mania detrimental to our education system? While a great many other countries are passing us in math, science, and other fields, should we continue believing in this myth that big time college athletics contributes to academia? Or is our pleasure so great we are willing to sacrifice the future for the spectacular?
Is this just another one of those problems to be handled by the future generations?
Q: Is golf a sport?
A: A lot of people don't believe so.
A phenomenon coming out of the Tiger Woods mess are the amount of blogs
saying that golf is not a sport, or even a part of athletics.
And a lot of people don't want to hear anymore how tough golf is.
There are some people who think if you are not running, or tackling someone, it is not a sport. Admittedly, those of us struggling with golf can thank Providence we don't have to deal with either of those.
Maybe some of these bloggers ridicule golf because if you are lucky in health you can play it to a ripe old age.
Well if that is true you have to eliminate other athletic endeavors as sports, such as: bowling, tennis, badminton, ping pong, and skating. There is even athletic skills involved in bass fishing - and competition.
Just about all athletics require specialization.
Pitchers and catchers in baseball are specialists. Infielders and outfielders require different skills. No one cares whether a quarterback can make a tackle or not, and a offensive lineman is not judged on his ability to catch a pass. Coaches gasp when they see a seven footer bring the basketball down the court, but love him under the basket.
Golf is just another form of specialized sport. And requires just about everything in athletics except running and hitting someone. Thank goodness!!!