College Football in America: Athletics over Academics

This is an unsettling piece in The New York Times on the biggest college football conferences (the SEC, the ACC, the Pacific-12, the Big Ten, and the Big 12) vying to become more autonomous:

This is a portrait of life in the wealthiest districts of college sports.

The denizens of these rarefied quarters, universities like Alabama and Louisiana State, are still institutions of higher education. But athletics have become ever more central to their missions, and their bottom lines, thanks to the juggernaut programs that generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Recruiters fly on private planes, athletes train on top-of-the-line equipment, and teams compete in mammoth stadiums that are the envy of many professional teams. It is not uncommon for a university’s athletic budget to exceed $60 million.

I went to an ACC school that is known for its academic rigor: Georgia Tech. But even there, I felt the athletics often overshadowed academics. Those that attended the university on an athletic scholarship had their priorities in the following order: 1) sports and/or team the athlete was competing for and 2) academics.

The new rules will likely sway the athletics over academics even further. Sad.

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