I have never seen anything like the drama that is taking place in college athletics this morning. By Monday morning a half dozen teams could end up in different conferences which in turn will bring about more change in the coming weeks, proving that institutions of higher education have the power to create as much turmoil based on greed as Wall Street.
It is highly unlikely that any swimmer, gymnast, volleyball player or 400 meter runner will be better off from this. Coaches and student athletes in Olympic sports will have to travel greater distances, miss more classes, and spend more time traveling than in practice so that more football games can be televised for more money. The increased competition means that the money will be spent (not invested) on increased travel salaries, facilities and expectations. All of this is taking place at institutions that have a stated purpose that includes helping young people develop the skills and judgement to make good decisions.
We can talk all we want about how athletics builds character, but when we make institutional decisions that are based primarily on ego and greed we are modeling the opposite of what an education is supposed to be about. Perhaps we need a new motto: The brain goes inside the helmet. – Terry Pettit