Monday, May 19, 2014

Is it Time to Kill Big Money College Sports ... and Switch to Chess?

Is it Time to Kill College Sports?
By John Mitchell 

May 17, 2014

Did you know that in your state the highest paid public official is probably a college football or basketball coach? If there is any doubt to how far off track American higher education has wandered from its mission, Infographics spelled it out in a chart that even a University of North Carolina jock can figure out.

In 2011 this growing trend prompted Forbes contributor Steven Salzberg to sound the alarm when he wrote: "The culture of football in American universities is completely out of control…. If we keep it up, the U.S. will eventually be little more than the big, dumb jock on the world stage."

Follow the money

The culprit to this college mission creep is television money. Last year a South Carolina football coach, in response to a proposed nine-game conference football schedule, made the rather candid pronouncement that, "Anything can happen when television starts telling you what to do."

In his world, the NCAA negotiates $10 billion deals for football and basketball broadcast rights. In the most recent March Madness tournament, it was reported that CBS (NYSE: CBS ) and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) Turner Broadcasting made more than $1 billion in ad revenue off the games.

It's no wonder that many universities and colleges have convinced themselves, with the urging of well-heeled alumni, that it really is necessary to pay the football coach at Alabama $5.5 million and the basketball coach at Duke almost $8 million. In fact on the list of Top 50 Highest Paid Basketball and Football Coaches, the lowest pay is a paltry $1.8 million. This truly is madness, except it's year round, not just in March.

So what is American higher education getting in return for this expensive hero worship?

...Colleges are also reconsidering the collegiate sports business and looking for alternatives to create brand awareness and loyalty among its alumni. Webster University outside St. Louis, for example, just won the national college chess championship. Webster University, which pays Grand Master chess coach Susan Polgar (pictured) a reported $250,000 a year, about a tenth of the average football or basketball coach.

"For the first time in the almost 100 history of our university, we are a national champion," said Webster provost Julian Schuster. Schuster said the "there is no doubt" the distinction will be good publicity for the university, which operates 100 satellite campuses around the world, where the value of sports in higher education is viewed with puzzlement. After all, it's easier to make a case for the logistics of chess as promoting a college's mission.

Full article here.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is time.

Stephen Leary said...

1. I never heard of Webster before the chess program so it must be good publicity.
2. Spend money on all the sports not just football.
3. Colleges indoctrinate, not educate. 9 out of 10 professors are liberals. Conservative views not accepted. Conservative speakers are refused. Opposing viewpoints aren't being taught or even tolerated. Higher "education" is broken in many ways.

allanespos said...

no, but chess as a sporting platform online has proven its viability by capturing a sizable audience during last year's championship match between carlsen and anand.