03/04/2005: Just what I've been saying for years....
While poking around I stumbled across a copy of the latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, and in their The Chronicle Review section I read with interest a letter to the editor commenting on a recent Review piece on reforming college sports:
... I would like to suggest a solution that goes much further than that....I have only one major disagreement with Dean Abplanalp, and that is simply to note that collegiate sports is a splendid farm system not only for the National Football League, but also for the National Basketball Association, and that I'd take his solutions a step further and apply them to the NBA as well as to the NFL. The reimbursement option is a new idea to me; it's not optimal, in my opinion, but it'd be better than nothing (especially if the moneys reimbursed by the sports leagues freed up other money for the college's/university's main reason for being: research and education, and just didn't provide more money to cash-engorged collegiate athletic programs). But really, as a matter of fairness, we should simply abolish collegiate sports programs (or more optimally, scale them down to recreational or purely athletic levels; right now major collegiate sports represents a lower level of professional play), and establish minor league football/basketball farm systems. The advantage to this is simply that the high schoolers who are good enough to play minor league (and ultimately major league) sports can do so, and not go through the sham of pretending that they are students. If handled correctly (like, for example, how Major League Baseball handles collegiate baseball programs) this need not result in the death of college football and basketball, and would not deny a high school player who desires both a chance to earn a degree and play professional ball the chance to follow that dream as well.
In point of fact, colleges, especially in Division I-A, operate a splendid farm system for the National Football League--and that is a travesty. At the very least, when a college player is drafted by an NFL team, that team ought to be required by law to reimburse the feeder college every cent that was invested in that player's college career.
Better yet, take colleges out of the picture entirely. Require the NFL to operate its own farm system. In other words, operate the way that professional baseball does....
Can you imagine the owners and executives of an NFL farm team tolerating the knid of abuse that college boosters engage in right now?
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
College of Optometry
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
This is, of course, such a sensible solution that it will simply never happen.
Len on 03.04.05 @ 08:46 AM CST