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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov 11, 2011 / 14 Mar-Cheshvan 5772

The sporting life

By David M. Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You don't have to live in Nittany nation to know that college sports is in a crisis, perhaps its direst since the one that led to Theodore Roosevelt's intervention more than a century ago. The distinction between students and athletes in the student-athlete continuum is wider than ever before. Universities that once gained their identity through their sports teams -- a quality that never sat well with the faculty and always was a source of quiet embarrassment to the administration -- now are trying to live down the ignominy their coaches and sports teams have provided.

I love college sports and, like most fans, have turned a blind eye to its excesses for decades. I know athletes have special meals, or live apart in separate dormitories, or tool around campus in late-model roadsters they might not have paid for, or load up on easy courses, but the games were so much fun, the spectacle so colorful, the sense of belonging that college sports fostered so powerful and so positive, that I justified it all. Increasingly I can't, and I sense I'm not alone.

Let's stipulate before going forward that many college sports programs are as clean as the Ivory baby, that many athletes are stellar students, that athletes face greater pressures than many of their classmates and do so with intelligence and grace. Some of them end up in the Senate, on the judicial bench, in the operating theater or even in small towns where their experiences enrich their lives and those of everyone they touch.

Even so, college sports is overdue for a comprehensive overhaul, for the very pressures that some students handle so well are out of proportion to the value of their on-field endeavors and jeopardize the real reason academic institutions exist, which is to educate young people, not to provide cheers for the alumni or a cheap farm system for professional sports teams.

The word reform is often modified by the phrase campaign finance or health care, which should alert you to the danger inherent in the term. A reform is in the eye of the beholder, or more precisely the proposer, and so beware any huckster trying to sell a reform. That applies doubly to college sports, and to the so-called reforms the NCAA embraced recently. We don't need a reform, we need to return sanity to a once noble enterprise, and here is where we should start:

• Recognize there must be equal weight applied to both words whenever we toss around the term student-athlete. That means universities should insist their athletes be students, not merely be roughly of student age and not merely grazing through classes. A college education is still the steepest ladder of social mobility in America, and a college degree is worth more in all but a tiny fraction of cases than a college sports letter. Every college president, athletic director and coach mouths the words in this paragraph. Let's insist they live by them as well.

• Recognize that college sports today is principally motivated by money, and remember the Benjamin Franklin maxim that time is money. That's why the $2,000 spending-money "reform" the NCAA promulgated last month is a canard. Its proponents argue athletes don't have time for jobs -- or for the normal college experiences -- but a cash payment will serve only to separate athletes even further from other students rather than draw them into the mass of collegians. So let's transform the money question into time and ...

• Slice the amount of time athletics consumes. In recent memory, teams played nine football games. Today it's possible for a team that wins a conference playoff and then goes on to a bowl to play 14 games. That's two fewer than a regular NFL schedule -- and far too many. Pare that back to 10 and push the Ivy League, which plays 10 but can barely find opponents to schedule for competitive games, back to nine -- precisely the number the last time two of its teams were nationally ranked (in 1970).

Athletic directors will holler that fewer games means less money, but that may be the whole point. Less money might be salutary, relieving the pressure on colleges to pay $1 million or more for coaches' salaries. Besides, the world could have survived without some of the more ludicrous matchups on the schedule, like Iowa's September game against Tennessee Tech. In basketball, strip away at least half the non-conference games; who exactly would be impoverished if Georgetown didn't play Savannah State next month or if Duke didn't play Monmouth on New Year's Day?

That's without considering the great unspoken, unreported and unknown: How much do you suppose these athletic powers pay their small-time rivals to get beaten up in these games, to fatten the teams' records and to enhance the coaches' stats so they can negotiate bigger salaries? (The University of Connecticut, with an endowment barely over $300 million, this season is dishing out close to six figures to a school with an endowment well into the billions. Why? To buy an easy basketball win.)

Then again, why do you suppose that only three of the 26 members of the Cornell hockey squad list a high school as their last team? (They all played a year, maybe two, of junior hockey or its equivalent before entering college.) Call me collect if you find a Division I college hockey roster where the average age of the freshmen is 18.

One more thing. It's not only that the seasons are too long. (The college hockey season, now well under way, starts before and ends after the basketball season.) There are too many practices, in season and out. There's no reason why a college lacrosse team should be permitted 48 days of practice in the fall. The lacrosse season is in the spring.

The longer season encroaches on student opportunities to travel overseas -- and every respected university president today sees overseas study as essential preparation for today's interdependent world. It makes it impossible for athletes to have the normal undergraduate experience that colleges claim, in many cases against all evidence, they now provide.

It's time the hyphen between the words student and athlete represented the tie between the two roles, not the distance between them. We're kidding ourselves if we think it does now.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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