26 July 2012

Penn State Punishment

Atomic Nerds | LabRat | In Which I State The Obvious

I have a very low opinion of college sports programs in general. While I can appreciate the notion of a healthy mind in a healthy body, I think it’s completely ludicrous to set up our higher education institutions as feeder systems for professional sports leagues, or to encourage any student to prioritize sports when there is only a miniscule chance that that will be his or career
Hmmm. Indeed. So let's not let kids major in studio art.

That came out snarkier than I intended, but I stand by my point. The way the modern American university handles athletics is a little screwy. But the way the modern American university handles most things is screwy. There are a lot of athletes (in the major sports, particularly) who are wasting their time and opportunities. But there are a lot of students who are wasting time and opportunities and money. Let's not get caught up on the couple thousand students who are on TV on Saturdays and ignore the millions of others.

I'm not going to take the time to address the meat of LabRat's post. I disagree with it, but it's good. This particularly is convincing:
If football has attained an importance within your institution such that the question of whether or not a child or children was raped on your premises by one of your coaches, and the identity of the child, is so uninteresting to you that the possibility only attains importance in the question of liability, you need to take a f***ing break from football.
Note that I could easily say the same about the Catholic Church taking a break from offering sacraments or American prisons taking a break from incarcerating people, as each seems to think those things are more important than people getting raped by their employees.

Here's all I'll say w.r.t. PSU's punishment: I'm happy that Penn State is being punished, but I'm not happy that they're being punished by the NCAA. I don't like child abuse (obviously), but I also don't like power grabs by unaccountable, state-backed groups like the NCAA. Obviously given the choice I'd prefer empire-building, jurisdictional-stretching bureaucracies over pederasty, but if I really had my druthers there'd be neither.

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