Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Corruption and a growing concern for head injury have put college football in the spotlight. Are football programs’ millions in profits exploitation? Or are they still a celebration of amateur sport? Does football’s inherent danger and violence have any place in institutions of higher learning? Or does it provide young men with educational opportunities they would not otherwise have?
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author, Friday Night Lights
The New Yorker Staff Writer & Author, The Tipping Point.
Former NFL Defensive End and Football Broadcaster
FOXSports.com National Columnist
Author and correspondent for ABC News.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author, Friday Night Lights
H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger is among the nation's most honored and distinguished writers. A native of New York City, Bissinger is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the National Headliners Award, among others. He also was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is the author of four highly acclaimed nonfiction books: Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City, Three Nights in August and Shooting Stars written with LeBron James. His fifth book and first memoir, Father's Day: A Journey Into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son, will be published on May 15th by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Currently a sports columnist for The Daily Beast and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Buzz has reported for some of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers and magazines including The New York Times Magazine and Sports Illustrated.Learn more
The New Yorker Staff Writer & Author, The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1996. He has written on a wide range of topics, including the science of cool hunting, race and sports, physical genius, the concept of moral hazard and health care, and the difference between puzzles and mysteries. Gladwell came to The New Yorker from the Washington Post, where he started as a staff writer in 1987, first reporting for the business section and then on the sciences, later becoming the newspaper’s New York City bureau chief. The author of four books, Galdwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, and Outliers: The Story of Success, were all #1 New York Times bestsellers. In his 2009 New Yorker article “Offensive Play,” he asked: how different are dogfighting and football?Learn more
Former NFL Defensive End and Football Broadcaster
Former Atlanta Falcons star defensive end Tim Green has been hailed as the “Renaissance Man” of sports. Recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Green is a New York Times bestselling author, coach and lawyer, specializing in energy law. He played eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and has served as an NFL analyst for Fox Sports and a commentator for NPR and Good Morning America. Green has written 26 books, including a series of sports-based novels for young readers. While at Syracuse University, he was an NCAA Top Six Scholar, a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and was a two-time All-American and National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award winner.Learn more
FOXSports.com National Columnist.
Jason Whitlock is a national columnist for FOXSports.com and an all-sports insider and contributor to FOX Sports Radio. Whitlock was an All-State offensive lineman in high school in Indianapolis and played college football at Ball State University, lettering as an offensive tackle in both 1987 and 1988. He graduated from Ball State in 1990 with a journalism degree. Whitlock's journalism career has had several stops, including the Bloomington Herald Times, The Charlotte Observer, Vibe Magazine, Playboy Magazine, and the Kansas City Star. In 2008, Whitlock was awarded the National Journalism Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the first sports writer to win the award.Learn more
I saw about half of this debate last night, and just sat there completely stunned. I'm from Alabama. But I have always been on the fence about football. I'm not an avid football watcher or a major fan of a team. In fact, I rarely watch more than maybe 2 games a season. I went to a small college that doesn't even have football team, one of the reasons due to the fact that it was originally an all-girls school.
While I don't really care about the sport nor really watch it, I still understand its existence and how it is a major part of schools across America. Football is an old sport and any great grandparent or grandparent call tell you that. I know I'm from a southern state, and that somehow my state is practically the epitome of American football (15 national champions later for the crimson tide), but I feel like too much emphasis is on the sport.
However, I don't think it should be banned. Every sport has its dangers and fatalities. Never heard of the Olympic Games? Gymnastics is a very dangerous sport. Perhaps that should be banned as well. Wrestling is a very dangerous sport as all, maybe that should be banned too. The list goes on. I feel like Malcolm Gladwell's argument is a weak one. What he fails to understand is that these college boys don't go out for the teams because they're forced, they go because they want to play. They know the consequences of the sport and the possible fatalities. There is a much more dangerous thing they could engaged themselves in and it's called going to war. I don't think any Canadian should be able to tell us Americans what our college men should and shouldn't be doing. I don't get it. Why is some writer concerned about the well-being of any football player's head? Just for a side note, but Malcolm doesn't look like he's played a single sport in his life. What is he to say? He isn't a doctor or in sports medicine.
Buss Bissinger acted like an anger jerk the whole debate and took this far too seriously. However, I do agree that coaches are paid too much. I think too much money goes into the sport. And personally, when the sport becomes almost more important than the academia of the school, I almost begin to lose respect for the institution, and just might not see it as a respectable place of learning. I think that finances for the sport and the coach need to be reevaluated and reexamined. I will disagree with Buzz on one thing. I know for a fact that the president of UAB at one point made more than the former president of the United States. Now that's something to talk about! Buzz kept talking about football scholarships almost like they're the only student who receive them. Hello, I received academic scholarships! Buzz practically said that all sports should be banned. Hello, sports are connected to staying healthy. Something that he doesn't appear to be embracing.
I loved what Jason Whitlock said. He had a really good point. Football is a tradition across America, and it is a big deal to alumni everywhere. At my alma mater, we don't have football, but we do have our own tradition (the oldest homecoming tradition in the nation) and it is a big deal to both students and alumni.
I saw this debate on PBS on May 2 and was appalled that both Jason Whitlock and Tim Green allowed the debate to concentrate on two things..Repeated head injuries to PROFESSIONAL football players, Andre Waters (one of my favorite players), Junior Seau, and Dave Duerson, and allowing Malcolm Gladwell and Buzz Bisinger to repeat over and over again about the 4000 times that players got their heads banged. College football..even at the highest level is dramatically different than professional football, speed and size to name a few things, and as commentators repeatedly state..Basketball is a contact sport..Football is a collision sport. Rules have been changed to make it safer for players, helmets have been improved dramatically, and if the kids want to play and the Universities want to support it..So what???Dramatic changes need to be made in compensation of coaches, numbers of games and contact practices, and the entire governing body, but why ban college football????Why not ban medical experiments on dogs??? or Ban WAR???..
PS I resent the fact that players brains were compared to those of a 67 year old man
I'm 67 and seem to have all my faculties..except I am far behind in technology .and also am a Penn State graduate and would dispute the facts brought up by Mr Bissinger about SATs and Grade point averages..Check out the SAT scores of Penn State applicants now vs when I took them in 1963..I was a star at 1150, early admission and would never have a chance getting in to main campus with those SATs today
This was a sham set-up. They put two intelligent people up to argue for banning college football because it causes brain injuries against two ex football players that are clearly suffering from brain injuries.
Of course Gladwell and Bissinger would win. Maybe next they can debate Ali on the long term consequences of boxing.
The Ivy League participates in NCAA Division 1 with football in the FCS (formerly D1AA).
Most of the money for highly paid coaches (Saban et al) comes from private sources (CBS, donors).
While I agree the outcome will be different at NYU compared to Tuscaloosa, AL, I assume the debates are held in NYC for easy access to discussants and other debate participants.
While a worthy debate, Gladwell and Bissinger, completely miss the point. What does football have to do with higher education? It's as relevant as Shaq telling me to stay in school or Stephen Hawkings giving me pointers on my baby hook. Neither took a focused on refuting the main arguments made for college ball: it brings in money, gives students an opportunity they'd otherwise never have, and makes better leaders.
If money were a justification then why not cut loose all non-revenue producing departments, such as economics, poli sci, marine biology, law, anthropology, essentially the entire university save the student union coffee shop. In terms of educational opportunity, you can easily point out that not only is one football scholarship given up is another seat for a non-athletic scholarship but also a seat for a more academically inclined student, given the lower standards and achievements of athletes. With regard to leaders, one can easily point out only one president played D1 football and that was Ford. The rest were mostly Ivy League (re: D3 schools). Both missed a real opportunity here.
Matteo suggests below that these debates be held in places like Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Colorado Springs. Matteo, there's a good reason debates like these are more likely to be found on the coasts: that's where their audience is easily found. Most people I've met while traveling throughout the heartland certainly won't be going to something like an IQ2 debate, and will be proud to say so. Jus' Sayin'
I suggest just enjoying the debates themselves, rather than worrying about the audience results. The stats aren't trustworthy, since audience members with an agenda can cook the numbers by voting against their preference at the beginning, and regardless of the quality of the debate, switch at the end. No way to know how many do this, but I figure the more emotional the topic, the more it's done.
There was a repeat yesterday on WHYY. Great show, those guys got whooped pretty bad. Here's my question:
Isn't the purpose of doing sports while in school, Mens sana in corpore sano?
The argument is to BAN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, not ban Football. Simply get colleges and universities out of the BUSINESS of training professional football players for the NFL. Like baseball, set up a separate farm team system for football players, Few college baseball players turn go major league. The baseball teams pay for their own system. Basketball is already being affected this way with one and out and we should take it further. No reason that we should subsidize the NBA so we should take similar steps in basketball. When football coaches are paid more than ANY OTHER TEACHER in school, and the football/basketball program has more money than the science/math/english department, then the educational priorities are wrong. The scholarship program is "pay for play" but the play is truly dangerous. Colleges should be held liable for long term damages/disabilities for football players.
When will IQ2 do the honest thing and carry these events around the country? Do they think we won't notice that these 'debates' are held in NYC at NYU with a exhaustingly predictable NYC / NYU audience worldview? (*yawn...sorry...couldn't help myself*) Talk about a 'juiced' audience and a 'juiced' outcome. C'mon IQ2, hold the same topic debates in Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Raleigh, Colorado Springs, etc. and see if you have similar audiences and similar results. Your approach is too insular. Too parochial. Get off the coasts. You'd have a breath-of-fresh-air in the types of questions and outcomes from your audiences. Then, maybe...more people might tune in! - Jus' Sayin'
Ronald McDonald and Charlie Sheen are not paid on the tax payers dime, or on tuition costs paid by students. The Fox news caster ignored every... single... point made by the other side. He did not speak to injuries, he did not speak to the salaries paid, again, by tax payers and students who never engage in sports. He did not refute his opponents points, he never even spoke to them.
Was it lost on anyone that this debate was held at NYU, and that NYU banned football in 1942? BU also banned football. It is possible, schools choose to ban football on a school by school basis. So what is the problem that this debate is addressing, especially posed as it was at NYU?
The real question is, "Should existentially terror filled watchers at NYU be allowed to ban what others freely choose to do living in freedom as a means of finally getting healthy?"
America is turning out more Emperor Wannabees every day.
The solution is easy; if you don't like the game, don't play it. Don't watch it. Don't go to universities that support it. Freely tell others that you think they shouldn't, either, and tell them way. Express your thoughts. Convince other schools to do what yours have done. Have loaded audience debates at NYU on the topic. Or change the channel. Welcome to America. Nobody is telling you not to flit through life wearing all the brocade, feathers, and sequins you want. Wrap your kids in 18 inches of Nerf and send them out into the world. Go for it. But as soon as you feel overcome with that paternalistic urge to be the Emperor of What Others May Freely Choose To Do, and advocate the use of state totalitarian force to implement your precious worldview on everybody in the nation, then get over it and s.t.f.u.
I didn't like arguments from either side. Both leaned too heavily on stereotypes and preconceptions of the role that athletics play in academia.
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