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Thursday, January 4, 2007
Re: College Sports
One of the commenters at Marginal Revolution points to this handy review, at the AAUP Web site, of several books on college sports from a few years ago. (Scroll down to the review by the excellently named Randolph M. Feezell.)
I've always thought the solution to the excesses of big-time college sports is pretty simple (and it doesn't involve eliminating the football team). As with baseball and its system of professional minor leagues, you just have to provide a non-college route into the pros. College baseball never has the scandals of college basketball or football, because if you don't care (at 17) about your college education, if you just want to be the next Roger Clemens, you can do that. You get drafted and go into the minor leagues. You don't have to fake an interest in college. (And the Durham Bulls manager doesn't have to fake an interest in your intellectual development.)
A kid on my high-school baseball team, a shortstop, did that. He didn't make the pro's (good field no hit), but had saved enough of his modest signing bonus to pay for college after his journey ended. At that point, he had an incentive to study, and did. (I think.)
But think of all the people -- from ACC conference coaches to university alums to ESPN talking heads to pro-basketball-team owners (who'd have to develop the whole minor-league structure) -- who want to make sure college basketball keeps the monopoly that makes it so exciting.