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  1. #1
    Moderator hifrommike65's Avatar
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    Angry Racist College Sports

    I taught at a large land-grant institution in the 1980s which had big football & basketball teams popular & often successful nationally. It became clear to me pretty quickly that the entire set-up exploited the black players on the teams, many of whom could not spell their names the same way on different days. The university had changed its policy on grading for freshman English (which I taught) so that you could make A, B, C & then NC (no credit). An NC didn't count for your GPA; it was as if you had not taken the class, but you could repeat it. Even a C- was an NC grade (a C- generally doesn't transfer). However, the school was big enough & had enough loyal athletics fans on the faculty that word went around about which teachers would give an athlete a B or A just for being on the team. Thus the athletes often became seniors (& some who had been redshirted even got to their 5th year) & had a B average, but had never passed a freshman English class. These guys looked at me with undisguised hatred when they first saw me, because I was in the department they couldn't get past, & they knew they would never get a degree. There was nothing I could do for students who spelled words like "his" this way: "hi's". I came to feel the problem was historic & systemic. Since I had to require essays written in class, I started giving students a prompt to choose that stated the following: "The athletic system of this university is both exploitive and racist. Agree or disagree with this statement." I got a lot of responses to it, & almost everyone said the system was NOT exploitive & racist, but occasionally I got one or two who agreed that it was. The main point of the question was to get them to think about the issue, because football & basketball absolutely ruled the entire school. (At one point, the wrestling program was shut down because "they didn't have enough money for it." However, they DID have enough money to make the big football stadium even bigger, while cutting down the amount of space each seat had, in order to squeeze even more drunken fans into the place.)

    All this changed after I felt the school. Sort of. A national scandal that ESPN covered indicated that massive cheating was going on in the athletes' tutorial facility, where tutors were writing the students' papers for them. NCAA imposed sanctions on the school, & changed its policies to say that such programs were required to graduate at least 80% of their athletes within five years (they allowed the redshirting year, where the guys got beefed up--you can guess how), & all athletes had to maintain at least a B average. The schools who had to comply w/ this policy set up dummy majors (like "Social Science") where athletes went to special classes, & had to (for instance) turn in a one-page paper at the end of the semester to get their B. If an athlete wanted to major in something like Engineering, he was told he would lose his athletic scholarship because he might not be able to maintain the B average. So now even the non-black students are being exploited.

    I think we should enjoy college and university athletics a little less than we do. Who has been entrapped in an impersonal & biased system that fails to educate them in order for the fans to cheer so loudly for their team?
    Last edited by hifrommike65; 12-07-2017 at 05:25 AM.

  2. #2
    FREAK cook's Avatar
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    Yeah football and basketball pay the bills.Wrestling and rowing,lacross and many more don't bring in the cash.They are going to keep those on the field that bring in the cash.

  3. #3
    Moderator hifrommike65's Avatar
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    Where they really make the money is the media deals that allow TV broadcasts of the games. They are big events with big audiences. I am not against college sports; it can be a wonderful opportunity, & offer higher education to those who would otherwise not have access to it. But it's all too often cart before horse; the athletes are pressured to do well academically without giving them the opportunity to benefit from a college education.

    BTW, I was offered the job at the athletes' tutoring facility before I left the school for a job elsewhere, & turned it down. The person who took it was interviewed by ESPN when the cheating scandal hit (around 1991 as I recall). I just double checked & she is still at the institution & directs the Writing Center.
    Last edited by hifrommike65; 12-07-2017 at 10:52 AM.

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