‘‘Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,’’ NCAA President Mark Emmert declared in announcing the Penn State penalties. As Dave Zirin reported in his column, Emmert also stated, “Programs and individuals must not overwhelm the values of higher education.”
If these statements are really going to be true, then college sport should be shut down and started from scratch.
The fact Emmert has the audacity utter these words is complete hypocrisy. The NCAA and its institutional policies and structure are primary reasons why football on many campuses is placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people. While the debate rages about NCAA sanctions against Penn State “for lack of institutional control”, very little of the debate has centered on how NCAA institutional control (i.e., monopoly) creates a breeding ground for sport scandals. Who or what organization has oversight of the NCAA?
There is a small window of opportunity to have real dialogue about college sport reform and the role of big time college athletics within institutions of higher education. Instead the institutional control of the NCAA just expanded outside its proper and legal limits, which means reform will certainly not follow and scandals will continue to occur.
(for more reading on this persepctive, Zirin writes a compelling column about how the NCAA sanctions are unprecedented and mark a new era of the NCAA, and not one that will lead to real and lasting reform. Zisner, a NYT writer adds her two cents about the lack of “real reform.”)
UPDATE: A few other good pieces on the role of the NCAA and football in the Penn State scandal have come out since I wrote this blog.
8/1/12 piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The NCAA Entrenches Itself as Part of the Problem”
8/1/12 piece by Bruce Svare, professor of psychology at the University at Albany titled ” Life isn’t just a football game”