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[The] Big Ten Commissioner [says] that academics are a top priority [in the upcoming expansion of various university athletic leagues].

“Of course they’re going to say that,” Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist said of the Big Ten’s repeated emphasis on academics. “What are they going to say? ‘We’re going to prostitute ourselves?’ ”

If the Big Ten truly valued academics, it would not [add] Nebraska, Zimbalist said. He notes the school’s academics aren’t on par with those of Michigan, Illinois and other Big Ten schools.

“What’s happened over the decades, more so in the last two, commercial value has trumped academic value, and that’s decidedly wrong,” he said.

Yet in a slumping economy, it stands to reason that schools are looking to improve their bottom lines.

“It’s understandable there are certain financial pressures and they’re trying to sustain themselves,” Zimbalist said. “It doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do to subject yourself to the needs of TV and media.”…

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4 Responses to “Whoring for TV”

  1. GTWMA Says:

    So, the Big Ten, which had 11 members, will now have 12 (and maybe more). The Big 12, which had 12 members, now will have ten (and eventually far fewer). The Pac 10, is aiming to be the Pac 16.

    You’d think counting all those dollars would lead to better numeracy!

  2. James Says:

    Don’t Big 10 members also pool research resources? And aren’t UChicago and Northwestern part of that consortium?

  3. Bill Gleason Says:

    Cough, cough…

    Academics a priority?

    Perhaps some of those schools in the Big Ten at the bottom of the pecking order would PREFER that a school like Nebraska be added? Lots of good football dollars and far enough away in the rankings not to be a threat? If academics and good football were the goal, as well as geographic fit, Pitt would perhaps have been a better choice. But Pitt could embarrass some Big Ten schools on the academic front.

    [And by the way, there are some pretty good people at Nebraska..]

  4. theprofessor Says:

    There are likely some very pissed-off presidents in Kansas and Missouri tonight.

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