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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scholastic Sports


           The Penn State fiasco is a trial for Pennsylvanians and PSU grads everywhere. And there is more to come: more trials, lawsuits, studies and counter studies, and the investigation of Governor Corbett’s role. The jury is still out on large parts of the drama.

But one thing seems clear at this point: At PSU football was king. Joe Paterno was the king of kings. He insisted on an exit package including being paid $3 million at the end of the 2011 season if he agreed it would be his last year as coach. He got forgiven interest-free loans totaling $350,000 AND he got free use of the university’s private plane. (Why does a university need a private plane? No wonder the cost of a university education has skyrocketed.)

If any good can come out of crimes this heinous, then the fact that PSU has become a poster child for what’s wrong with college sports in the 21st Century (CE) may be it. The Sandusky affair is sickening. But we now have undeniable proof of what I’ve been saying for years: where there is an activity that is as influential as college football, there will always be corruption.

College football, basketball and baseball are nothing more than campus activities dedicated to finding players for the NFL, NBA and MLB.

The money at stake here is enormous and goes far beyond the millions PSU will spend on the lawsuits resulting from Sandusky’s conviction. There is a large constituency for the status quo in the areas surrounding the feetball stadia. Witness the crowds at the hotels, bars and restaurants that are jammed for miles around them on game weekends.

Will the American people finally wise up? Will they see college intermural sports for what they have become, brutal money makers using unpaid labor? It’s time to end the scam. Ban intermural sports. Use the savings to build intramural programs that complement the educational value of educational institutions.

The NFL and NBA can pay for their own minor leagues.

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