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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why have we combined minor league football with a college education?

With all the talk about unionizing college athletes last week, I question why we ever combined sports and education in college.  I am not talking about intramural sports nor club sports where the participants generally pay their own way.  I am talking about how we have combined minor league NFL and NBA programs with college. For most of us that is the way it has always been.

Granted, a few student athletes get a great education.  But this seems to be the exception.  Instead the institutions work at perpetuating the myth of the “student athlete” and the only goal is to find a way for the star player to get the minimum passing grade in his classes (which frequently are on a par with high school) and then coddle the athlete so he can retain his athletic eligibility. 

College Football and Basketball are big money – a $16 billion a year business.  And every time you have big money, the temptation is to cheat for a bigger share of the pie.

Why not move college sports into separate minor league teams that are loosely affiliated with colleges?  The business  would receive no financial support and receive none of the revenues of the minor league franchises. That way colleges could concentrate on delivering a great education at a competitive price (I know – you never hear about this second criterion.)

This story about a college football player’s A- final term paper might cause you to question the system we have created.

Friday, March 28, 2014

What is she trying to achieve?

As Charlie Rose introduced Drew Faust, President of Harvard, he said “In her installation address, she said: ‘A university is not about results in the next quarter, it is not even about what the student has become by graduation. It is about learning that molds a lifetime, learning that transmits the heritage of millennia, learning that shapes the future.’”

Here is my question:  How in the heck do we know if the President is achieving her goals?  How would we know if she is an utter failure or a grand success with her stated mission?  Do we have to wait until the President and we are all dead?

It is a noble sounding mission statement.  But is it possible that it is all puff? Pure BS?

Maybe we should state the goals and the mission of the university in more down to earth terms. Perhaps we should express it in simple language such that when the President of Harvard is failing we will know it and we can replace her. Maybe we should be able to measure the results rather than rely on her "gut feeling" or the President's gut feeling as proof of success.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Drunken Party at UMass Results in Injuries

"Police arrested 73 people at a University of Massachusetts at Amherst Pre-St Patrick's Day party in which unruly students threw beer cans, bottles and snowballs at authorities, leaving four officers with minor injuries."

As we debate the pros and cons of college, it is important to remember that substantial use of alcohol is frequently at the core of the experience.  

I am not a teetotaler, but can we go back to the basics?  What is the purpose of college?  In my mind, it is to prepare young adults to find jobs that will allow them to contribute to the economy.  And prepare these students at a reasonable cost.  

A party here and there is no big deal, but when regular drunkenness becomes established as the norm, then one must question how well we are achieving our primary goal.  

I don't think that enough colleges today are providing the important lessons and when you compound that problem with skyrocketing tuition fees, the whole institution needs to be rethought.