It’s A Matter of Priorities

     There was a time when going to college was viewed as a privilege and if you didn’t have the grades to make it academically, you could play sports for the school and still get an education.  The sports teams were used, more or less, as advertising for the college to attract students.  I also remember a time when colleges bristled at the notion that they were “minor leagues” for the pros.  My, how the times have changed.
     Now, a winning sports program is what’s important.  Now there are a great many players who see college merely as a stepping stone to the pros.  They choose colleges based on the likelihood of playing time and national exposure.  Many will leave once they think their stock has risen sufficiently to make the jump to the pros.  If they bother to get a degree, it’ll be whenever they get around to it.  And that’s fine except that now it’s about money and television calls the shots.  It’s rare when a coach will suspend or remove a key player for misconduct that would threaten team success without the impetus of the NCAA.  And some even think the players should be paid for their efforts even if they are under full scholarship.
     Perhaps the truth that has to be acknowledged is that it costs too much to run these institutions of higher learning.  Even though sports teams are supposed to be bringing in the big money for their schools, when is the last time tuition actually went down?  But the lure of money and prestige from athletics is too strong. Ask any big college if they could ever envision not having a big sports program.  The money has become too important and the colleges have to protect their golden goose.  As a result, the priorities are out of whack and the inmates are running the asylum.