Why college football should be banned

Buzz Bissinger, author of “Friday Night Lights”:

In more than 20 years I’ve spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education: academics.

That’s because college football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned. A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today’s times.

Football only provides the thickest layer of distraction in an atmosphere in which colleges and universities these days are all about distraction, nursing an obsession with the social well-being of students as opposed to the obsession that they are there for the vital and single purpose of learning as much as they can to compete in the brutal realities of the global economy.

Who truly benefits from college football? Alumni who absurdly judge the quality of their alma mater based on the quality of the football team. Coaches such as Nick Saban of the University of Alabama and Bob Stoops of Oklahoma University who make obscene millions. The players themselves don’t benefit, exploited by a system in which they don’t receive a dime of compensation. The average student doesn’t benefit, particularly when football programs remain sacrosanct while tuition costs show no signs of abating as many governors are slashing budgets to the bone.

If the vast majority of major college football programs made money, the argument to ban football might be a more precarious one. But too many of them don’t—to the detriment of academic budgets at all too many schools. According to the NCAA, 43% of the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision lost money on their programs. This is the tier of schools that includes such examples as that great titan of football excellence, the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers, who went 3-and-9 last season. The athletic department in 2008-2009 took in over $13 million in university funds and student fees, largely because the football program cost so much, The Wall Street Journal reported. New Mexico State University’s athletic department needed a 70% subsidy in 2009-2010, largely because Aggie football hasn’t gotten to a bowl game in 51 years. Outside of Las Cruces, where New Mexico State is located, how many people even know that the school has a football program? None, except maybe for some savvy contestants on “Jeopardy.” What purpose does it serve on a university campus? None.

3 thoughts on “Why college football should be banned

  1. It has long been my contention that ALL stadium sports should be outlawed. Ever notice the similarities between the “wave” and Hitler’s Nuremberg speeches? Bread and circuses my rosy red ass, Kool-Aid.

  2. You know, the university I graduated from has a number of singing groups. Those singing groups not associated with the music school have no academic purpose, so should be obliterated (they duplicate effort anyways since the music school already has a singing group or two). Ditto for the scheduled movies on campus (time wasters), spring and fall celebrations (noisy, create obstructions on campus land), as well as plowing the snow from the roads (over 90% of students live on campus, so roads do not need to be clear for students to go to class or the library).

  3. “Banned” might not be the right term, but they certainly should not get an oversized share of the available funding and support that some programs do (in comparison to other student organizations/clubs/teams).

    And the players should be paid. Make it part of the university’s advertising budget, since that is what football really is for the larger universities.

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