Gregg Easterbrook, a friend of this blog…

… has some great comments about university football in this News Hour interview:

… [I]f people begin to say that football is the new cigarettes, and you’re starting to hear that, if people begin to think that football isn’t just tax subsidies — the governor of Minnesota says he’s embarrassed by the Vikings’ treatment of Adrian Peterson…

What you should really be embarrassed about [is the] half-a-billion dollars of taxpayers’ money that the governor of Minnesota gave to the Wilf brothers to build the stadium in which they will keep all of the profits. If people become more aware of those issues, if football becomes perceived as a woman’s issue — nobody saw that coming — and especially if football — people turn their attention to the fact that the vast majority of football is played at the youth and high school level by people who legally are children, that’s where the health harm of football is done.

If public high schools begin to drop out of playing football — and there is some indication they will — that over a period of years could change the NFL’s economics very radically.

… I call [football] the king of sports because it expresses what we are as a nation. It’s too loud, it’s too crazy, it’s too violent…

But when you add the sociological impact, the distorting effect that it has on high school education, mainly for boys, for a few girls, but mainly for boys, the distorting effect that it has, … that NCAA football has at big public universities, and then add in that the public subsidizes the production of NFL profit — roughly a billion dollars a year goes to subsidize the construction and operation of NFL stadiums — where almost all the revenue generated is kept by the super rich, you have these sociological impacts…

America’s public universities: Violence, sleaze, and greed, or non-violence, class, and restraint?

No contest.

Toting up the sleaze, toting up the sleaze, we will die exhausted toting up the sleaze…

… as the great old hymn has it; and when it comes to tracing the glorious careers of America’s highest-profile university students – like the University of Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson – the toting can get complicated.

Because once these lionized grads (well, not grads; almost all of them, like Peterson, leave school before graduating) hit the professional leagues, they run into people like Yeshiva University trustee and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, and that’s where the subtle and complex synergy that is the NFL gets going:

“[Wilf himself, who allowed Peterson to stay on the team until public pressure forced him to cut him,] was just found] guilty of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, rackeetering[,] and this is the man who made the decision with all of this [domestic violence] on Adrian Peterson’s record to bring back his running back.”

So Yeshiva University’s finest meets Oklahoma’s finest and sparks fly for the Vikings! Racketeer plus accused serial child beater equals the best Monday Night Football money can buy!

There. That math wasn’t so hard after all.

“Lobo basketball is the most important thing on campus.”

This article, about impoverished University of New Mexico having just upped its coach’s already amazing compensation by $200,000, frets about a university well on its way to being about nothing but basketball.

But why fret? Honesty is the best policy. Like Nevada, New Mexico is one of our most brainless states, and UD has never picked up the slightest tremor of anyone there feeling anything but content about this.

And listen to the timid representative of UNM’s faculty senate:

“Our faculty also – and one might suggest, preeminently – contribute to the value of a UNM degree.”

UD appreciates her suggestion, but it’s obvious that the basketball team preeminently contributes to the value (such as it is) of a UNM degree.

Finally, The Classless Society.

I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base.

Didn’t Marx predict that the first classless society would occur at Rutgers University?

But hey. We all knew that.

Once again, the university’s front porch speaks.

And it would be the University of Miami, a comprehensively filthy athletics program. (Put University and Miami in my search engine if you dare.) Of course the dude in question is just your average majorly fucked up nineteen year old male (the article I link to doesn’t even specify the UM drug test he failed), but the entire media apparatus of the United States of America is currently trained on the University of Miami because… Well, they don’t call football the front porch of the university for nothing.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on the latest I love it but I can’t watch it anymore football fan confession. (Here’s another. UD thanks Dirk for sending the link to it.)

Despite the pull football exerted on [Steven] Almond, a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, he decided that he couldn’t watch it anymore because of its seamier side: its violence, misogyny and the corrupting influence of big money.

“It’s complicated,” Almond said. “But for me, the darkness was enough to realize that I didn’t want to be a sponsor anymore.”

Darkness? Them front porch lights are shining brighter and brighter.

“[The] family-values Patriots drafted Aaron Hernandez, a fine tight end about whom there had been many whispers of troubles during his college career.”

So UD‘s nodding off to yet another article about the beyond-belief-lucrative degeneracy of American football, when she lit on the sentence in this post’s headline. Which reminded her of one of her blog’s most consistent themes: The professionalization of revenue sports at our universities has put more and more of our students at risk from the dangerously violent players universities routinely recruit. Nebraska got to deal with Richie Incognito, about whom it still boasts; and of course the lovely University of Florida program got Hernandez:

Since Hernandez’s arrest for first-degree murder, [then Florida coach Urban] Meyer has been under heavy scrutiny for allegedly allowing Hernandez to engage in inappropriate acts while a member of the Gators football program. Gainesville Police reports indicate Hernandez was questioned in a shooting investigation in 2007 where a witness described a suspect meeting his general description. Hernandez was also reportedly involved in a 2007 bar brawl where he broke a bouncer’s eardrum, and allegedly failed multiple drug tests. A Sporting News report indicated that Meyer shielded the press from learning of one drug-related suspension by having Hernandez wear a walking boot and fake an injury.

Here’s UD‘s take on the highly compensated monsters of professional American football: Americans love the monsters’ violence, on and off the field. The world’s most violent sport is by far this country’s most popular. And we’re making our players more violent by the day. Okay.

But college. You know? College? Colleges are importing pumped up nutbags on their way to the NFL.

The American university president makes $400,000 a year intoning about the sacred duty to keep our students safe; his football coach makes four million dollars a year doing everything but going down on Richie and Aaron to get them to come to campus.

Just because I like the sentence.

[T]here are no grounds for the sweeping pronouncements about the virtues of non-Ivy students (“more interesting, more curious, more open, and far less entitled and competitive”) that [William] Deresiewicz prestidigitates out of thin air. It’s these schools, after all, that are famous for their jocks, stoners, Bluto Blutarskys, gut-course-hunters, term-paper-downloaders, and majors in such intellectually challenging fields as communications, marketing, and sports management.

“If you consider only the most serious transgressions, roughly 10 percent of the top 200 players could be ineligible. With far stricter criteria — including players fined for showing up late to team meetings, for example — nearly a third could be off the draft board.”

Of course, he’s talking about professional football players. You don’t see this in our colleges.

Behind Eastern Michigan University’s 65-0 Loss to Florida.

You have to understand how much that shut-out cost EMU. To do that, you have to revisit the following University Diaries posts:

1. The post pointing out that “virtually no one shows up to watch” games which cost EMU millions to put on.

2. The post pointing out that

NCAA rules stipulate a school must average 15,000 fans per home football game to remain in Division I. Eastern Michigan, which averaged 6,401 fans per home game in 2010, uses $150,000 from a distribution contract with Pepsi to purchase tickets from itself at a rate of $3 apiece to remain NCAA compliant.

3. The post quoting an EMU finance professor saying

“We’re down to 57 percent regular faculty, and the other 43 percent are lecturers and part time. Searches are being held back, and I’m unhappy that they spend so much money on athletics and not academics. It’s important that we have full time faculty…Over the last few years, the budget for academics was cut by four million dollars. They need new programming. They redid the football stadium before they redid the academic buildings. … The football coach makes more than the president.”


UD calls football the freak show that ate the American university.

At EMU, you can actually watch the process of digestion.

“In each of the four years of data I was provided, student ticket purchases have declined. Not only did student ticket sales decline, but so did non-student season tickets as well as total ticket revenue. Simple economics would show that lowering prices instead of raising them would incentivize more students to partake in these athletic events. Instead, the athletic department has raised prices drastically which will more than likely lower the number of students purchasing the Big Ticket.”

It begins to dawn on a University of Texas student that the professional football team that uses his school’s field has nothing to do with his school.

Sports: The Front Punch of the ….

…. university.


UD thanks Dirk.

Front Porch Surreal

Professors are always the weirdos; egghead university culture is always the bizarre thing against which the wholesome normality of college sports stands in all-American relief. Here’s the google-eyed weirdo peacenik photo that typically runs with articles about university professors. How much finer and firmer, how much more real, the football players racing out of the arena’s mist amid battle songs to start the fight on the field…

Yet football – routinely touted by idiots as the front porch of the university – is so much freakier than anything the professoriate could come up with. Football makes the American university not merely academic fraud central; it makes it a kind of endlessly looping Chien Andalou, with the first school out of the gate at the beginning of a new (cough) academic year the already notoriously disgusting University of Southern California.

USC has mainly been about the obvious stuff – cheating, impermissable benefits, blah blah. But now it’s Front Porch Surreal:

USC is finding itself in the media for all the wrong reasons this week. First, there’s the saga of Josh Shaw, who broke both his ankles this weekend by jumping off a balcony for an unknown reason [and lied about it]. And now senior Anthony Brown is accusing the team’s coach, Steve Sarkisian, of being a racist.

Sarkisian “treated me like a slave,” complains the player, who abruptly left the team; and, well, given the prominent and pretty plausible description of the university football landscape as a “plantation,” one can’t be too surprised at this latest grotesquerie.

But I mean. It’s not just USC. Richie Incognito? Out there in the clean-living heartland of Nebraska? They’ve still got their beloved torturer’s bio up on their university website. No professor can compete with University of Nebraska Weird. The University of Nebraska should audition for

The University of Texas: We already make immense millions in profits from athletics…

But it’s always possible to be yet greedier.


And a truly classic example (don’t read it without a hankie) of what UD calls coacha inconsolata.


denied entry to the University of Minnesota! Google News is all lit up! Who knew that school gave a shit about whether incoming freshmen could speak the language??

I mean, he “passed the NCAA Clearinghouse,” and if you’re looking for academic rigor, go no further than the NCAA… So what’s Minnesota’s problem? Getting all pissy and selective lately, are we? Oh we’re very posh… terribly upper crust …

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