Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taylor Branch on the NCAA

Whether you're a sports fan or not, I encourage you to read "The Shame of College Sports" by Taylor Branch in last month's The Atlantic. Branch gives a fascinating history of the NCAA, and how it has tried to maintain its monopoly position by enriching a relative few and destroying some college athletes' careers.  I've discussed these issues on this blog several times, this post being among the most recent. Branch shows how a series of lawsuits is currently trying to expose that the NCAA's rulebook contains clauses that trample very basic civil rights in an unprecedented fashion.

The first question I find myself asking in reading the article is why so many religious colleges, who have a faith-based mission statement that they supposedly take seriously, would give obeisance to an institution like the NCAA?  The answer is that it's about the money but also about college presidents and donors who demand strong athletics.

The second question is why so many people can sit by and watch it happen. Why don't pastors think about this more?  Why doesn't Occupy Wall Street add this civil rights abuse to their list of grievances, along with the increasing divide between what college coaches make next to the athletes that make them their money and faculty who uphold the mission of the schools?

As a Christian, I believe we're to test everything, examine everything. The NCAA is very problematic to a growing number of examinations.

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