It’s been a rough couple of days in the world of college sports. First there was the story of Rutgers University basketball, and on Thursday there is an ESPN report about academic cheating at Auburn University.
For those of you who may not be familiar with these stories, here’s a quick recap. Mike Rice, the head basketball coach at Rutgers, was fired on Wednesday for repeated abuse of his players during practices. That abuse included throwing basketballs at the heads of his players and calling them every name in the book.
The story at Auburn suggests that players were receiving grades they did not earn, and others were playing when they should have been academically ineligible. One of the accusations suggests that running back Michael Dyer never should have played in the National Championship game versus Oregon University in January of 2011. Dyer scored the game-winning touchdown in that game. It is important to remember that as of now, this is only a report and no conclusions have been reached. The NCAA has not commented at all.
There is plenty more on both of these stories here on Rant Sports, but I want to look at the bigger picture. If there is anyone left who honestly believes that college sports is better than their professional counterparts because they are pure and play for the love of the game, then perhaps you should stop reading now.
No one is saying that you can’t like college sports more than pro sports, a lot of people do, but the argument that it is purer than pro sports is a farce. There are countless examples of this and we’ll delve into a few, but there’s no way we can get to everything.
Every time you look up schools are switching conferences, and they are doing it for nothing more than more money through television and other revenues. Coaches, who preach loyalty to their players, are the first ones to bolt out the doors when a bigger school with a better offer comes calling.
The school Presidents who demand success in the classroom as well as on the field in the media, are the same people firing coaches because they only won 66% of their games and failed to get to a big bowl game.
The best example of this happened just this week at Denver University with their hockey program. Head coach, George Gwozdeckey was fired after 19 seasons at the school. Keep in mind that Denver is known as an academic school and presents itself that way, but even they are guilty. Gwozdeckey won two national championships, went to the national tournament almost every season and won 443 games while at Denver. Yet that wasn’t good enough because the school’s leadership was not pleased with the recent early exits from the NCAA Tournament. If an academic school like Denver is firing a coach like Gwozdeckey, then please don’t insult me by telling everyone that academics are the most important thing.
Then there are the athletes themselves. The schools are making billions on these kids, but a lot of them can’t afford to buy a pizza or go on a date. It’s okay for the school to make money on a football player and exploit them for four years, but if that same player tries to borrow 10 bucks to get a hamburger, everyone goes crazy.
Professional sports are just as greedy and corrupt as college sports, but they are not hiding it. Everyone knows it’s about the money, and we all watch anyway. Those who run college sports want everyone to believe that they are still just as pure and innocent are they’ve always been, but if you offered them enough money, they would probably back off of that belief too.
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