Sunday, May 13, 2012

College Costs and Sports ... Paying for Them

I enjoy watching sports. That said, I also like to have choices about which sporting events, if any, to attend, as well as whether and how much I'm willing to pay to see them.

Just like the rest of free market activities. If I want to buy it, can afford it and view it as a better alternative purchase than other potential buys, then I may decide to part with my money.  Or I may not. In other words, it's similar to deciding whether to attend a movie or make other discretionary expenditures. At least it should be.

Why College Football Should Be Banned puts forth a logical and compelling argument for why  students should not be required to pay for collegiate athletic departments via compulsory fees attached to tuition charges.

That argument makes perfect sense to me. Here's the case:

"In more than 20 years I've spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education: academics.

That's because college football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned. A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today's times.

Football only provides the thickest layer of distraction in an atmosphere in which colleges and universities these days are all about distraction, nursing an obsession with the social well-being of students as opposed to the obsession that they are there for the vital and single purpose of learning as much as they can to compete in the brutal realities of the global economy. . . .

The average student doesn't benefit, particularly when football programs remain sacrosanct while tuition costs show no signs of abating as many governors are slashing budgets to the bone.

If the vast majority of major college football programs made money, the argument to ban football might be a more precarious one. But too many of them don't—to the detriment of academic budgets at all too many schools. . . . What purpose does it serve on a university campus? None. . . .

I actually like football a great deal. I am not some anti-sports prude. It has a place in our society, but not on college campuses. If you want to establish a minor league system that the National Football League pays for—which they should, given that they are the greatest beneficiaries of college football—that is fine.

Call me the Grinch. But I would much prefer students going to college to learn and be prepared for the rigors of the new economic order, rather than dumping fees on them to subsidize football programs that, far from enhancing the academic mission instead make a mockery of it."

Summing Up

McDonald's gives us a choice about ordering fries with our burger. We pay only for that which we choose to purchase.

We can go to the movie or stay home and watch TV or read a book. Our choice there, too.

Choices are part of free markets. We pick what we purchase and establish our own priorities.

The menu has choices and college costs should reflect that market based system as well.

Stated simply, college sports need to become self sustaining or confine their competitive activities to intramural or club status. Men's and women's teams alike.

If the professional leagues want to subsidize or pay in full the costs involved with a collegiate sports program, that's fine. Or if the alums wish to do so, including the stadiums, that's ok, too.

But with student tuition as high as it is and with student loans as burdensome as they now are, there is no good reason to require students to pay fees to pay for the football, basketball, baseball, track, tennis, golf, swimming, gymnastics or other teams. Male or female.

That's my take, like it or not.

Thanks. Bob.