Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Should Colleges and the NFL Develop a Semi-Pro League?

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, "More than a third of the 64 college football teams headed to bowl games this season have failed to meet academic standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida."

My question: Should the charade continue or should US colleges team up with the NFL and invest in a semi-pro league that would feed players to the NFL but would not pretend to grant degrees to athletes who have no inclination or ability in the area of academics?


Ralph said...

Doktor Dee:

I agree that college sports are out of control. I mean, one of the things that really bugs me is all this talk of a national championship playoff. No one, however, seems to take into account that this would add at least one extra game to the collegiate athletes already ridiculous schedule, and even more pressure. Who the f@#% cares who wins the "national championship" of college football. It's a bunch of bullshit. Boy, I used to love the days when you could watch five or six good bowl games on New Years Day and call it a season. Now, you're lucky if you can find one or two good games on that day, and the shit gets spread out all week - late at night, no less.

Anyhow, before deciding to support a radical change like the one you mentioned, I would need to see some statistics comparing the performance of college athletes vs. the performance of students at large. As a professor, do you see the athletes performing significantly worse that your at large students, or are the atheletes performances representative of the performance norms of the entire student population. In other words, is the percentage of athletes who do poorly, middle-of-the-road, and well equal to the percentage of non-athletes who fit into those categories.


DocTorDee said...

I'm playing the Devils advocate here. I don't support a semi-pro league. It already exists in our nation's colleges and there is no need to change it. From time to time, I hear people complaining about the "charade of the student athlete," so I thought I'd toss out some red meat.

Now I know that, to some degree, it is a charade, but the majority of athletes that I know about are required to attend class, meet with study groups, complete their assignments, learn to become adults, and eventually earn their degrees. And unless you're at a program where partying and irresponsibility are tolerated (or even encouraged), coaches, faculty and support staff work closely to ensure that student athletes are working on academics.

In the end, is it the same degree as someone with an academic focus? On paper, it is; however, it is up to the degreed student athlete to make his or her own way in the world after completing the degree, because most of them will not enjoy a career at the professional level and they will have to find jobs.

I think most employers look carefully at athletes and often hold them to a higher standard, because the average person believes the notion--true or false--that student athletes are "passed along" no matter how they perform in class.

As far as the NCAA football championship, I am in complete agreement with you (although you are now taking the old school opinion and opposing the onslaught of change in the free marketplace).

I, too, don't see the need to define a single champion. There are too many teams for that. Besides, college football should be about fun, pageantry, memories--and most of all: good games---not about rankings. I can't even tell you who won the nation championship last year, but I can remember when Penn State knocked off Miami in 1989.

"Five or six good bowl games on New Year's Day and call it a year..." Yes, I'm all for that, but come on, Ralph, when they spread out the games over the entire week, you have narrowcasting, don't you? Specific games broadcast to niche audiences who are interested in those particular games, rather than broadcasting a few big games to a national audience.

Another sign of the times, eh?

And, as far as crowning a single national champ, it's all about the money, isn't it? National champs will earn money through advertising and other promotional campaigns, and this money goes into strengthening that particular college so that other student athletes can get a shot at an education.

Now, as Viking fan or a Bills fan, we don't know much about championships, but a guy can dream, can't he?



Ed Mahonovich said...

What about the cheerleaders? Is anyone looking out for the cheerleaders?

DocTorDee said...

Good point, Ed. Keep up the good work.


Ralph said...

Wasn't George Bush a collegiate cheerleader?