PROBLEMS IN BASKETBALL


Basketball season, one of my favorite sports to watch, is with us. Unfortunately, what is being revealed at the same time is corruption in sports in some colleges. The size of major university football stadia and basketball courts is an indication of the amount of money coming in through ticket sales and donations. The money brought in to sportswear producers through the sales of uniforms and sportswear equipment has to be enormous. And, beyond these sales are those to fans who turn stadia the color of their school on game days. The coach of one basketball team playing yesterday looked worried, and well he might since the president and director of sports of his university had already resigned over corruption charges.

The smaller colleges that don’t attract TV don’t show up in this business enterprise. Also, most private universities who, through belief system or lack of money, also stick with sports for the students. George Washington University acquired a new president in the 1960’s who came to the faculty with a recommendation that we abandon football. The faculty thought a medium size program was worth keeping and the President conceded. But, the coach changed, the philosophy about where we should be in the conference ratcheted up and the cost went up. The President came back to the faculty and this time they agreed. In this case, including the faculty has made the decision stick.

In primarily rural states, college athletics are unifying activities. Those who haven’t attended college are as caught up in the variety of sports at their universities as are the alumni. So cutting out football and basketball are not an option.

It is understandable that sports directors and coaches get caught up in the “professionalization” of their sports. But, upper level administrators are also attracted by money that is not controlled by state directives and laws. That money provides opportunity to create special programs, hire outstanding (and higher paid faculty) and maybe even provide a little improvement in their own remuneration.

This is why state supported activities need constant supervision.

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