This morning on my way into work, I listened to one of the most inane conversations I have heard in a long time. The “Sports Director” at the WPTF radio station, a guy named Taylor Zarzour, talked about the great help winning football teams provide to the academic programs of universities like Duke, NCSU, and UNC. He explained that not only do the television networks give the universities two or three free minutes to say anything they want about their schools during the course of a football broadcast, but they build great academic infrastructure like the new study facility inside the sports training complex at one of our local universities. What is the purpose of that study facility? To give the student athletes and only student athletes a place where they are required to study with mandatory tutorial help. His thinking is that kids on the football team are not as well prepared for the rigors of university academic life as the kids who come to the university for purely academic reasons. Wow! So the universities are somehow improved academically by helping football players limp through degrees in communications studies, sociology, and psychology on their way to the NFL or, more realistically, into jobs as high school football coaches? My mind is boggled.
Our whole educational system is broken. Children leave the government schools with an abysmal education. Thomas Sowell wrote an article for Townhall.com about the absurd fact that amateurs do a much better job than professionals when it comes to the education of their children. After high school, we push kids into college who really should not be there. Charles Murray writes of people with IQs of 100 or higher in a Wall Street Journal article, “Today’s simple truth is that far too many of them are going to four-year colleges.” Read the article. He makes a very cogent case for more vocational training and less university training. So we should use football to attract people to the university who would be better served somewhere else? In my experience, those attracted to the more rigorous academic disciplines such as engineering, math, physics, and chemistry seem to go to the best school that will accept them without regard to the quality of the football team. None of them have much time to watch football anyway. They are busy studying at the dorm or in the library.