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Should College Football Be Banned?

College tuition is skyrocketing and schools are slashing their budgets to make ends meet, but there's one program that is considered so sacrosanct that most people wouldn't even think of touching it: football.

Buzz Bissinger of the Wall Street Journal argues that the cost of college football is high (not to mention the injuries) and the benefits to students are low, so it should be banned:

In more than 20 years I've spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education: academics.

That's because college football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned. A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today's times.

Football only provides the thickest layer of distraction in an atmosphere in which colleges and universities these days are all about distraction, nursing an obsession with the social well-being of students as opposed to the obsession that they are there for the vital and single purpose of learning as much as they can to compete in the brutal realities of the global economy.


My sentiments are similar to that of Jolly, , college athletics should belong to real academic students, not as a "farm league" for the pro leagues, paid for by tuition fees of the real college students.
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@Krisis Mundial - You somehow seem to think this is new. Do you not know Teddy Roosevelt threatened to ban college football over 100 years ago issues?
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I think this is ridiculous! College football players are given free room and board, free education,and a chance at playing in a professional league where they can make millions of dollars. In other words, how else would great football players get a chance to be in the draft?

It should also be mentioned that the University of Oklahoma's athletic money supplemented the university during the hard times of the recession. No other school in the Big 12 did this. It's a joint effort here.

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Banning football? Are you serious? This is how far this country has gone down the tubes. Not one comment on freedom of choice. How do you feel about banning books, speech, or religion?

This is how it goes. It’s easy to ban something because it might help something in some way. Sounds reasonable at the time but where does it stop? Our lives are so controlled now but fed, state, and local governments can any of you remember what it was like 10 or 20 years ago? Can you remember the freedoms we have already lost in the name of safety and security?

If you haven’t done so lately, watch the movie Wall-E. Remember the folks on the ship Axiom? Is that in our future or do we end up like the Wehrmacht?
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@PacRim Jim -

Academics is a smiling child,
Who takes you by the hand,
Then leads you off the precipice.

College football is a whimpering dog,
That shivers alone in darkest night,
Then tears out passing throats.
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Maybe it brings in revenue for other colleges, but I'd be perfectly fine with them banning football at my college. Our team is perpetually awful and has only ruined our reputation as a school the past few years. Three of the football players recently beat four freshmen to a pulp to only get kicked off the team and a slap on the wrist and it's gotten on the news. It's ridiculous. The coach also is pushing to put a full stadium on our campus to which there is definitely no room. Now they're thinking of taking out the arboretum/greenhouses to put it there. You know, along with raising tuition every single year (tuition is twice what it was four years ago). The amount of money going into them with how damn cushy they have it pretty much pisses everyone off except those IN football. Plus how many of them will actually make it anywhere afterwards?
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Instead, have the IRS recognize that football is not part of the academic mission of the college, and thus contributions to the football program would no longer be tax deductible.
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It's clear that colleges and universities in many countries must be using tuition fees paid by academic students to fund their sporting programs. This is a ridiculous situation in a world where tuition fees are rising faster than inflation.

I just don't see sport as being something colleges should be involved in other than on a purely amateur basis. Academic students competing against each other or other colleges is one thing, but giving out "scholarships" to students based purely on their athletic prowess is a joke. Colleges are supposed to be academic institutions, not sporting bodies.

If you don't qualify for college on a purely academic basis then you have no right to be there. Especially if your sport is costing the faculty money and you are therefore potentially depriving an academically able student of a place.
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@PacRim Jim

At least you are fighting for the "dumbification" of America. Funny blog, btw. :)


Banning football is a wee harsh. Scale it back, stop building/renting stadiums, make coaches earn as little as adjuncts, yes. But it's still a viable college sport.
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Re: football making money - the article actually talked a bit about how for most schools, football is a money-losing program.

@buzzbo - Because football is often the largest program, with the least number of graduating students. Most track and field athletes, for example, actually graduate with degrees. Not football.
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I'm glad you brought up OSU!

This is a great example of an institution no longer focused on learning, but on athletics and the business side of education: making money.

The library, new rec-centres etc.. are paid for by the ever-rising student tuition and activity fees as well, don't think that football and basketball make things easier for students, it doesn't.

Really, who cares if the school is focused on sports or actual education? if you do your research you can avoid schools like OSU and get a more comprehensive education at a school focused on learning.
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I really don't watch or like football in general and probably wouldn't be personally effected by a ban. BUT! That's the stupidest thing I can think of. I'd be very angry if they banned college basketball (I also think the state of Kentucky would turn into a gaping abyss) so I can only imagine how mad people would be about football programs getting sacked across the country. Not to mention the money athletics often brings into a university.
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Kalmbob - don't forget that all those benefits came (in part) from the unpaid labor of the school's football players.

Don't forget that the majority of those players are earning meaninless degrees because they are academically unprepared for college.

Don't forget that most of them will never benefit from the "degree" they've been given.
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It also paid for a new library, athletics center (for ALL students), pool, a couple of other buildings, and probably a lot more at Ohio State just in the last 10 years. It likely helped me get a non-athletic fellowship and assistanship to get my masters.

Also there's the old argument that school is about more than just academics.
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