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(Slate)   Soon to be most hated man in America calls for the banning of college football. Fark: He actually makes a valid point   (slate.com) divider line 194
    More: Scary, Malcolm Gladwell, Intelligence Squared, college football, shoot out tournament, Tyler Cowen, economic power, CTE, best-selling author  
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5658 clicks; posted to Sports » on 01 May 2012 at 10:50 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-01 08:28:12 AM
Paterno unavailable for comment.

/too soon?
 
2012-05-01 08:30:36 AM
Dog fighting?
media.funlol.com
 
2012-05-01 08:42:20 AM
Ulgh, I'd be all for banning college sports all together. But I'm sure they have some positive benefits to pure academia I'm not aware of. That, and I know such a ban is a pipe-dream in this culture.
 
2012-05-01 09:22:35 AM
The dog-fighting analogy works best in the context of college football, for which the athletes themselves receive no compensation.

Free will gets up and leaves the argument early, leaving a contrarian dickweed with a need for attention. Fine.

So college athletes in general, and football players specifically, are no better than dogs, trainable and with a fighting instinct?

Would you be for banning the military then?

Gladwell's piece explored the link between the rain of subconcussive blows players experience on the field and CTE, a progressive neurological disorder. In this interview, he evaluates the response to the research and illumines corners of student-athlete culture that often go overlooked. Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, as well as a sweep of articles on everything from puzzles to moral hazard in health care. Read on for his thoughts on the NFL and how playing football is different from running track.

Ah, someone selling a viewpoint to promote his own work. Thats more like it. OK. So because the argument is on "safety" and "danger," are you in favor of banning all risky behavior by all people under a certain age, or all people in college?

Gladwell: College football has become indistinguishable from professional football-which is the problem. The only justification for college sports is that they are structured in a way that enhances the social and academic experience of getting an education. A sports program using semiprofessional athletes, and running on a budget of $50-plus million a year does not fit that description.

So because its successful, it must be outlawed? Jealous? Book sales lagging?

In an article for Grantland, economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier imagine a fairly plausible chain of events leading to the demise of the NFL. Liability suits at the collegiate and post-collegiate level prompt insurance companies to stop covering schools when it comes to football. Coaches and parents shy away from the sport, sapping the NFL feeder system.

At which point, the NFL looks to its own resources to develop athletes, or just markets a slightly inferior product. Sea changes have happened before to the NFL, will happen again. I don't think even in the extreme case of outlawing college football, the NFL magically up and dies. Quite possibly the opposite, given that there's now less football.

Will we also be outlawing high school football? Presumably.

As links between CTE and concussions grow clearer, a stigma attaches to the league and advertisers withdraw support. Ultimately, football goes the way of rugby, boxing, and horseracing.

Good heavens, it might even allow soccer to flourish.

I heard on ESPN Michael Wilbon-who is one of the most influential sports journalists in the country-say that he will not let his kids play pro football. If Wilbon won't, who will?

hahaahahahahhahaahhahahahaha

oh wait, you were serious.

Several famous cases of star athletes not playing high school sports -- Walter Payton's mom did not let him play football til his senior year of HS, if I remember correctly. Probably are part of Wilbon's, a Chicagoan, point of view. I'm sure its happened with some others as well.

So to sum this mess up: Guy pushing a book about concussions studies the issue and concludes that there's no way for football to survive, given that it has a high risk of injury. And furthermore, that the audience is going to evolve away from wanting to see this high risk activity be rewarded. The comparisons to boxing and horse racing are interesting, but probably contain about a million un-controlled-for variables. Its like saying *any* sport can be evolved away from in popularity, which is true, it can. The NFL in the 1920s was a bush league of semi-pros. It wasn't til the 1970s that it really starts to look like the NFL of today.

Do improvements in player safety need to happen? They are happening and do happen all the time. But I seriously doubt America's love of football is just going to evolve away over player safety. Not when there's millions of people who would gladly take those risks and does so every year for a shot at glory. As for lawsuits, they've killed many things, but player lawsuits have also been around since the 70s. Finding the NFL liable for player injury is a real stretch, not when it takes the steps it does take on a regular basis trying to prevent player injury.
 
2012-05-01 09:24:25 AM

Cythraul: Ulgh, I'd be all for banning college sports all together. But I'm sure they have some positive benefits to pure academia I'm not aware of. That, and I know such a ban is a pipe-dream in this culture.


Lets put me in charge, and I can ban everything I don't like that you do like.

You sound like Nick "Sports contributes nothing to culture" Licata. Intellectual asshat. Man partly responsible for killing the Seattle Sonics.
 
2012-05-01 09:26:40 AM

Generation_D: Cythraul: Ulgh, I'd be all for banning college sports all together. But I'm sure they have some positive benefits to pure academia I'm not aware of. That, and I know such a ban is a pipe-dream in this culture.

Lets put me in charge, and I can ban everything I don't like that you do like.

You sound like Nick "Sports contributes nothing to culture" Licata. Intellectual asshat. Man partly responsible for killing the Seattle Sonics.


Give me a long, well thought-out argument on the benefits collegiate sports have on our culture.
 
2012-05-01 09:37:09 AM
Won't be long or thought out, I have a job to go to. But here's a powerpoint on it.

1. People like them and are willing to pay to see them.
2. People enjoying participating in them and are willing to do so
3. Nobody died and left you in charge.

3. is the toughest one I've found for intellectually superior people to grasp. It really sticks in your throat that society actually might make choices you don't agree with.

If this is all so intellectually damaging to you, get your like minded people together and start founding universities without athletics programs. I'm sure some must exist already. Let your ideas compete. Or is that what you really don't want -- competition?
 
2012-05-01 09:39:28 AM

Generation_D: Won't be long or thought out, I have a job to go to. But here's a powerpoint on it.

1. People like them and are willing to pay to see them.
2. People enjoying participating in them and are willing to do so
3. Nobody died and left you in charge.

3. is the toughest one I've found for intellectually superior people to grasp. It really sticks in your throat that society actually might make choices you don't agree with.

If this is all so intellectually damaging to you, get your like minded people together and start founding universities without athletics programs. I'm sure some must exist already. Let your ideas compete. Or is that what you really don't want -- competition?


I would argue with you, but after reading that, it's really not worth my time.
 
2012-05-01 09:43:58 AM

Generation_D: ....


You're pretty worked up against someone who's posing a pretty reasonable argument. The NCAA doesn't compel universities to carry insurance on their players, do not compel universities to pay for injuries sustained on the field or in training, and does not compel universities to honor scholarships for injured players (in fact, their policies are structured to discourage honoring those scholarships). I don't think there's much else to say in support of the argument that universities are exhibiting abhorrent, exploitative behavior.

At any rate, if you don't think football can go away, you're not paying attention. 40 years ago boxing was immensely popular - far more popular than football. It declined when it became clear that the sport couldn't be played without injury.

If it becomes clear that you cannot play some positions in football without sustaining injury, then football will absolutely fade into obscurity.
 
2012-05-01 09:44:28 AM
Not related to the issue in the article, but I'm still stuck on what happened with A.J. Green and Terrelle Pryor. To me, something's wrong when these guys are star attractions in a multi-billion dollar industry and they can't even make a few thousand off of their own stuff. This isn't the 40's anymore, there's big money involved.

And I realize there's no perfectly fair way to go about this and that the non-revenue sports have to be accounted for and all that. But there has to be some way that's better than what they're doing.

And yeah, there's the whole injury issue.

/not a fan of any college team
//went to a school with D-3 sports that nobody cared about
 
2012-05-01 09:46:51 AM
Fair enough. All liberal argument reduces down to "I'm smarter than you are" anyway. Which I think is what you just put out there. But I already conceded that point.

I grew up in a Big Ten college town, and from time to time we'd get these arguments against college sports floated. Of course they waste billions of dollars, forgetting that people willingly pay those dollars. Of course the money could be put to better use, forgetting that people have to want to use that intellectual and physical energy someplace, and sports seems to motivate them in ways that intellectual argument alone don't motivate them.

You're attempting to defeat emotional argument with logic. Good luck with that. There's always lawsuits, that actually could work, but if you kill off college athletics something else will just appear to take its place. People want spectacle, have always and will always, because people have the deep seated emotional need to connect in large groups.

Maybe we could bring back public executions -- would that be ethical or useful enough for you?
(yes, straw man, yea, false dilemma. But my point that college sports would get replaced if you banned them still stands. People would find something.)
 
2012-05-01 09:49:19 AM

Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: ....

You're pretty worked up against someone who's posing a pretty reasonable argument. The NCAA doesn't compel universities to carry insurance on their players, do not compel universities to pay for injuries sustained on the field or in training, and does not compel universities to honor scholarships for injured players (in fact, their policies are structured to discourage honoring those scholarships). I don't think there's much else to say in support of the argument that universities are exhibiting abhorrent, exploitative behavior.

At any rate, if you don't think football can go away, you're not paying attention. 40 years ago boxing was immensely popular - far more popular than football. It declined when it became clear that the sport couldn't be played without injury.

If it becomes clear that you cannot play some positions in football without sustaining injury, then football will absolutely fade into obscurity.


Pretty broad leap from "football causes injuries" to "it will fade into obscurity." And even if it did, something else would replace it.

Is MMA / UFC on your radar at all? Just curious. One of the fastest growing sports right now.
 
2012-05-01 09:56:49 AM

Generation_D: but if you kill off college athletics something else will just appear to take its place. People want spectacle, have always and will always, because people have the deep seated emotional need to connect in large groups.


Yes, it would be replaced, but it would optimally be replaced by professional sports, where players are protected with contracts and insurance.

Nobody questions the need for spectacle, and nobody argues that money won't be spent on that spectacle. The argument is that the university is not the optimal venue for the delivery of that spectacle, not least because it precludes the fair compensation of the athlete. It also degrades the university, causing them to act against the interest of their students and against their own academic interests.
 
2012-05-01 10:02:54 AM

Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: but if you kill off college athletics something else will just appear to take its place. People want spectacle, have always and will always, because people have the deep seated emotional need to connect in large groups.

Yes, it would be replaced, but it would optimally be replaced by professional sports, where players are protected with contracts and insurance.

Nobody questions the need for spectacle, and nobody argues that money won't be spent on that spectacle. The argument is that the university is not the optimal venue for the delivery of that spectacle, not least because it precludes the fair compensation of the athlete. It also degrades the university, causing them to act against the interest of their students and against their own academic interests.


Except millions of kids voluntarily go participate in this system. Doesn't make it right, but it does make it unlikely to just vanish because its dangerous. It'd be like wishing away the military because it too is morally wrong to some. What in your view is more morally wrong, the military, or college football at large universities?
 
2012-05-01 10:06:05 AM

Generation_D: Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: but if you kill off college athletics something else will just appear to take its place. People want spectacle, have always and will always, because people have the deep seated emotional need to connect in large groups.

Yes, it would be replaced, but it would optimally be replaced by professional sports, where players are protected with contracts and insurance.

Nobody questions the need for spectacle, and nobody argues that money won't be spent on that spectacle. The argument is that the university is not the optimal venue for the delivery of that spectacle, not least because it precludes the fair compensation of the athlete. It also degrades the university, causing them to act against the interest of their students and against their own academic interests.

Except millions of kids voluntarily go participate in this system. Doesn't make it right, but it does make it unlikely to just vanish because its dangerous. It'd be like wishing away the military because it too is morally wrong to some. What in your view is more morally wrong, the military, or college football at large universities?


Are you really trying to equate the military with college football? Look, I don't really agree that it should be banned either (though I do think the players should be paid), but at least be reasonable.
 
2012-05-01 10:18:03 AM

Generation_D: Pretty broad leap from "football causes injuries" to "it will fade into obscurity."


If it turns out that football, like boxing, cannot be played without long term brain injury, you bet your ass people aren't going to play or watch it. People stopped watching boxing right around Ali's decline.

Generation_D: And even if it did, something else would replace it.


Of course it would.

Generation_D: Is MMA / UFC on your radar at all? Just curious. One of the fastest growing sports right now.


And? Are proposing that UFC/MMA will be as popular as football? or even hockey? Or is it that it's a fighting sport? From what I've watched, there's very little head trauma in MMA fights.
 
2012-05-01 10:22:29 AM

Babwa Wawa: It also degrades the university, causing them to act against the interest of their students and against their own academic interests.


Realistically, the idea that all university educations need to lead directly to jobs within someone's chosen major does more damage to higher education than do sports. Athletes in sports like football or basketball (the only ones that produce money) make up an insignificant portion of students. Students who think that college is just the next step in getting a job, rather than being there to actually try to learn and experiment in a way that contributes to society, are the vast majority of students in the American system. It's why the nebulous "business" degree is so popular - it sounds like it's going to lead to a job, despite not really providing anything more useful to operating in a business environment than, say, a liberal arts major who has some common sense.

Furthermore, if college football goes away, it does kill the NFL, because the infrastructure for a sports league is so expensive to build, especially in football. Without the collegiate attachment people already have, no one cares about the athletes. Look at every other professional football league in the US for an example. The AFL pays the most - currently, players are making $450/game, and the league is STILL losing money, even with many players who did play at higher-level colleges. Other players won't play because the money isn't enough to be worth it.

So basically, in order for the NFL to build their own D-League, the best system would be to come up with 32 secondary markets and have associate teams. They will probably have to lose a lot of money for a few years, but it could work.

The only thing that sucks for the players at that point is that they will basically be making $50,000/year...but they will be unlikely to set foot on a college campus, and that will lead to worse outcomes for the vast majority of athletes than the current system produces. Their networks will be smaller, they won't have ties to alums, etc.

I think boxing died for multiple reasons, one of which is the fact that you're literally required to cause brain damage to your opponent in order to win. That's the measure of a successful bout. The other reasons are: sh*tty promoting, ridiculous purses, terrible heavyweights, pay-per-view, and the rise of other sports, like football. Most of these don't apply much to college football or the NFL, though soccer is spreading like the cancer it is.
 
2012-05-01 10:30:17 AM

Generation_D: What in your view is more morally wrong, the military, or college football at large universities?


As it is right now? College sports is morally wrong - and there's nothing about military service that's wrong. People are compensated for their service, and any injuries sustained as a result of service are cared for.

There's nothing morally wrong with college sports in theory. It's the way it's practiced that's wrong and exploitative. If universities would at least honor scholarships for injured players, and take care of them when injured on the field, it wouldn't be nearly as repulsive.
 
2012-05-01 10:32:41 AM
Probably. It would save a fair bit of money.
 
2012-05-01 10:35:04 AM
What would an incredibly expensive four-year party be without major sporting events?
 
2012-05-01 10:43:02 AM

IAmRight: Realistically, the idea that all university educations need to lead directly to jobs within someone's chosen major does more damage to higher education than do sports. Athletes in sports like football or basketball (the only ones that produce money) make up an insignificant portion of students. Students who think that college is just the next step in getting a job, rather than being there to actually try to learn and experiment in a way that contributes to society, are the vast majority of students in the American system. It's why the nebulous "business" degree is so popular - it sounds like it's going to lead to a job, despite not really providing anything more useful to operating in a business environment than, say, a liberal arts major who has some common sense.


You've no real argument from me - university should not be considered vocational training. But athletics cause universities to do some pretty shiatty stuff to their students. But really the problem is with schools being defined by their athletic programs and degrading their academic standards to advance athletics.

IAmRight: The only thing that sucks for the players at that point is that they will basically be making $50,000/year


That's $50k more than they would make at school - and it would be a contract - not something they could be taken away the moment they can't perform. The real benefit is that they would be taken care of in the even of injury.

IAmRight: one of which is the fact that you're literally required to cause brain damage to your opponent in order to win.


My parent's generation watched a sharp, intelligent athlete (Ali) age 60 years in a decade. Right or wrong, the decline was attributed to boxing. Nobody in the middle class let their kids box after that.
 
2012-05-01 10:47:51 AM

Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: Pretty broad leap from "football causes injuries" to "it will fade into obscurity."

If it turns out that football, like boxing, cannot be played without long term brain injury, you bet your ass people aren't going to play or watch it. People stopped watching boxing right around Ali's decline.

Generation_D: And even if it did, something else would replace it.

Of course it would.

Generation_D: Is MMA / UFC on your radar at all? Just curious. One of the fastest growing sports right now.

And? Are proposing that UFC/MMA will be as popular as football? or even hockey? Or is it that it's a fighting sport? From what I've watched, there's very little head trauma in MMA fights.


I would think repeat blows to the temple by a foot, or a fist to the back of the head, would actually lead to trauma. Don't have sources to cite either way, but the MMA I've watched seemed to be more violent than football in some ways.

Its interesting. If you go back 100 years, college football was king sport in America (one of, boxing and racing were probably the others). Pro had not happened yet. In 1905, after some high profile college athletes had died on the field, a bunch of rules changes happened. Teddy Roosevelt said to the president of Harvard, either clean up the sport or I'm closing it down. The changes included putting a half yard of space in the line of scrimmage, outlawing the "flying vee" formation (locking arms on kick returns) and legalizing the forward pass. College football, which had closely resembled Rugby up til that point, started to grow and evolve into the sport it is today. There were still no helmets, those didn't arive til the 1920s, and facemasks and plastic shoulder pads not until the 1950s. The pro game doesn't even start to pay its players enough so that they are full timers until the 1960s and the rapid rise of national TV coverage (and the money it brought in). The 1958 Baltimore/New York title game is often cited as the watershed event here, getting all kinds of ratings and alerting the networks there was money to be made in live football. There was also a new league, made up primarily of "secondary" markets (plus of course new york) to compete for advertising dollars in the 1960s.

So where I'm going with this is football, from 1905 onward, has had a tradition of evolution and change to keep up with evolving conditions. Whereas some sports rarely change their rules, football in America has done so regularly. Even now we're seeing more and more rules to protect the QB and outlaw hits that I grew up watching in the 70s, slaps to the head, late hits on tackles regularly being made, etc.

If we've reached the point where football can truly not be saved by rules changes, it'll be interesting to see whether we'd just outlaw it, or whether we'd just come up with more radical rules changes to keep it going. Perhaps a return to no helmets? Or no hits allowed above the shoulders? Don't know.

I do know there's still, judging by the stadiums packed to capacity throughout America from high school on up, a huge demand for football. Outside of the Northwest, soccer really isn't filling the niche (yet) and may never, though some could argue given another 50 years it might.

I can't envision 100 yrs of football just going away because of some danger to its players though. We've been there before -- in 1905 -- and we've seen the game change. I would not at all be surprised if we keep seeing evolutions in the game. But completely going away, or falling to second tier sports status? Hard to imagine, but I suppose that doesn't prove anything to people who have already killed it off in their own minds and now are just waiting for the rest of us to catch up.
 
2012-05-01 10:53:07 AM
With the way the NCAA runs things, I'll go along with this and every other school-sanctioned interscholastic sport.

/anything to fark over the NCAA
 
2012-05-01 10:54:42 AM

Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: What in your view is more morally wrong, the military, or college football at large universities?

As it is right now? College sports is morally wrong - and there's nothing about military service that's wrong. People are compensated for their service, and any injuries sustained as a result of service are cared for.

There's nothing morally wrong with college sports in theory. It's the way it's practiced that's wrong and exploitative. If universities would at least honor scholarships for injured players, and take care of them when injured on the field, it wouldn't be nearly as repulsive.


I'm not a raving libby by any means, yet I can't find a lot of positive about invading countries on flimsy ginned up evidence, destroying their government and infrastructure, killing thousands of their civilians and then leaving the place worse off than when we found it. Creating post-traumatic stress in thousands of our own kids, who were promised glory and get a lifetime of trauma. Can you? You are a better person than I.

To me, being in the military is far worse than being in college sports. But maybe thats why I never considered joining the military, yet wished I could have joined college sports and did play high school sports.

Do we need an elite tactical military, the Seals, the Delta forces? Absolutely. But we don't need 150,000 troops ready to invade and occupy every corrupt country out there we see fit to invade and occupy. That was once considered morally wrong. Amazing to me that someone would argue for the ending of college sports, which can cause concussions on one hand, and argue in favor of the military, which can cause death to innocent third parties, on the other.

So in forums like these hard opinions get hurled around, so just to sum this up; thank you for your opinions, thanks for crapping out some words into a box today.
 
2012-05-01 10:57:10 AM
College Football is worthless with the retarded bowl system and College basketball is awesome with March Madness.
 
2012-05-01 10:57:13 AM

Babwa Wawa: My parent's generation watched a sharp, intelligent athlete (Ali) age 60 years in a decade. Right or wrong, the decline was attributed to boxing. Nobody in the middle class let their kids box after that.


It's tough to give that one event credit for the whole thing. The '90s had no interesting fighters in the heavyweight division (as evidenced by a 700-year-old George Foreman still being one of the bigger draws), there were accusations of guys taking dives, Don King sucked, and football took the place of boxing as the violent sport everyone liked. Also, with cable and having constant access to information via the internet...well, boxing just doesn't have compelling content most of the time, and $60 is a bit steep to watch things like Mike Tyson knock a guy out in 40 seconds or less.

Babwa Wawa: But athletics cause universities to do some pretty shiatty stuff to their students.


Like? I keep hearing about how it keeps "deserving kids" out. If the kids were really that deserving, they'd have done something. There's what, 100 students in the football/basketball programs (let's be real, no one's bending eligibility requirements for track and field or other non-revenue-producing sports)? So they're displacing, at most, the bottom 100 students that would normally be admitted, which are, in all likelihood, either 3.0 or so students with average SAT scores who didn't do anything outside of class to distinguish themselves. Realistically, those kids are likely to be the "business major" who really does nothing for the university. (I was one of those kids for a couple of years, though I went to community college because there was no sense spending more money for something I didn't know what I wanted out of).

Babwa Wawa: That's $50k more than they would make at school - and it would be a contract - not something they could be taken away the moment they can't perform. The real benefit is that they would be taken care of in the even of injury.


NFL contracts are taken away the moment they can't perform, if they're not significant enough, so I'm not sure why their D-League would have different rules. Also, NCAA athletes DO get a stipend, free room and board, and free education, networking, etc. that ultimately add up to more than $50,000 in value. It's something I've gone over with a lot when discussing the head of the AFL Players' Union and his stupid demands...there are a lot of things besides "straight cash" that have value, and ultimately taking the cash deal in the short run is, 99 times out of 100, going to f*ck you in the long run.
 
2012-05-01 10:58:09 AM
The only issue I can see by banning college football is that we will need a new feeder program for the NFL. Maybe we can get a minor league football team like MLB and just skip over the whole college garbage.
 
2012-05-01 10:59:40 AM

Generation_D: I can't envision 100 yrs of football just going away because of some danger to its players though.


It won't go away completely. If it can't be made safe, it just won't be the sport that the casual fan watches anymore.

Generation_D: it'll be interesting to see whether we'd just outlaw it,


Football won't be outlawed any more than boxing is outlawed.

Generation_D: I can't envision 100 yrs of football just going away because of some danger to its players though.


It's happened before. Horse racing had a very long history as a premier sport, as did boxing. And I think it isn't just "some danger to its players". It's appears you can't play certain positions without repeated subconcussive blows. And if it turns out that those lead to permanent brain damage, there will be no difference between the fate of boxing and football. A second tier sport abandoned by the middle class.
 
2012-05-01 11:00:40 AM
No compensation? My student loan debt says otherwise.

i'll strap on the pads for 4 years for forgiveness of my loans, and yes, I realize that I'm too old and out of shape and would probably be murdered. But at least when I die my loans can finally be forgiven :)
 
2012-05-01 11:01:03 AM
Sounfds like SOMEBODY got picked last a lot.
 
2012-05-01 11:02:16 AM

Generation_D: But we don't need 150,000 troops ready to invade and occupy every corrupt country out there we see fit to invade and occupy. That was once considered morally wrong.


It has never been considered morally wrong for a country to have a standing army. If it has, then that country has been dominated so quickly that its ideas about morality were made irrelevant.

/Guard/Reserves do provide about 30 percent of the war-fighting power at about 0.5% of the cost (numbers were something like that), however
 
2012-05-01 11:04:39 AM

Generation_D: Ah, someone selling a viewpoint to promote his own work. Thats more like it. OK. So because the argument is on "safety" and "danger," are you in favor of banning all risky behavior by all people under a certain age, or all people in college?


Reading comprehension for the loose. Go read the article again, Gladwell never calls for or suggests that anybody should ban anything. The interviewer uses that language several times, so I suppose he's also complicit in your strawman. It's true that Gladwell doesn't correct the interviewer, but look at his language carefully:

All Gladwell is doing is pointing out that there's a growing body of evidence that shows that football leads to long term neurological damage. Given this now appreciable risk, he predicts that both players and institutions are going to be less willing to engage in a sport that can cause such damage. For the players, the personal cost is too high, for the institutions, the liability cost is too high. This is a far cry from trying to abolish the sport via fiat.

The only argument he does push is that college football players should be compensated for their effort. He claims that it's exploitative to ask young people to permanently damage their bodies with no guarantee of payoff. This is why he doesn't make the claim that the NFL is exploitative: players are directly compensated.
 
2012-05-01 11:05:13 AM

Babwa Wawa: Horse racing had a very long history as a premier sport,


I assume that it didn't stop being popular due to head trauma. Rise of NASCAR? Gambling restrictions? IndyCar used to be relatively important, too. I think it's silly to say that there's one reason for any sport to decline in popularity. There has to be multiple problems.
 
2012-05-01 11:07:06 AM

Generation_D: I'm not a raving libby by any means, yet I can't find a lot of positive about invading countries on flimsy ginned up evidence, destroying their government and infrastructure, killing thousands of their civilians and then leaving the place worse off than when we found it. Creating post-traumatic stress in thousands of our own kids, who were promised glory and get a lifetime of trauma. Can you? You are a better person than I.


Getting off track here - military service is not necessarily about invading other countries. That's beside the point though. This was a question of how we treat our military vs how universities treat their players. I'd say that your chances of getting injured is greater on the football field, yet universities are not obligated to take care of you when you are injured. That is absolutely, positively, wrong. No black and white there.
 
2012-05-01 11:08:46 AM

Fubini: Generation_D: Ah, someone selling a viewpoint to promote his own work. Thats more like it. OK. So because the argument is on "safety" and "danger," are you in favor of banning all risky behavior by all people under a certain age, or all people in college?

Reading comprehension for the loose. Go read the article again, Gladwell never calls for or suggests that anybody should ban anything. The interviewer uses that language several times, so I suppose he's also complicit in your strawman. It's true that Gladwell doesn't correct the interviewer, but look at his language carefully:

All Gladwell is doing is pointing out that there's a growing body of evidence that shows that football leads to long term neurological damage. Given this now appreciable risk, he predicts that both players and institutions are going to be less willing to engage in a sport that can cause such damage. For the players, the personal cost is too high, for the institutions, the liability cost is too high. This is a far cry from trying to abolish the sport via fiat.

The only argument he does push is that college football players should be compensated for their effort. He claims that it's exploitative to ask young people to permanently damage their bodies with no guarantee of payoff. This is why he doesn't make the claim that the NFL is exploitative: players are directly compensated.


Except the whole article is about an upcoming Intelligence Squared debate on "banning college football" where gladwell is arguing for the motion.
 
2012-05-01 11:09:25 AM

Fubini: He claims that it's exploitative to ask young people to permanently damage their bodies with no guarantee of payoff.


To this, I would say:

a) lotteries are still okay, right? We're still allowed to give away money with no guarantee of payoff?
b) scholarship, food, rooms, travel, access to the best gyms, private tutors, private trainers, etc...those are all forms of pay. Plus they DO get a stipend.
c) Outside of a few, maybe 30 institutions, forcing them to pay players more would basically just end the football program. Though I suppose there might be a benefit in that other men's sports could make a comeback and schools would still be in Title IX compliance.
 
2012-05-01 11:09:42 AM
Gladwell and Klosterman had a lovechild, but it decided to cease living as a contrarian statement on man's inhumanity towards man.
 
2012-05-01 11:12:53 AM
Comparing the military to football is an idiotic concept and you should go kill yourself.

Yes, garnering satisfaction from watching others brutalize each other is playing upon human's base animal instincts.

This IS how dogs and other animals play with each other.

Academic institution that exist for football are not academic institutions and should not be treated as such.

Football keeps people dumb, therefore I believe the federal government will keep supporting it as long as possible.

Football in America is so Republican it hurts to hear about it. For the people on the exterior, controlling them from the shadows.

A true tea partier would NEVER support the NFL.
 
2012-05-01 11:13:24 AM
Ban it, no, but it should be financed by the NFL. No more of this "free minor league" shiat that is a money-loser for all but a tiny handful of schools.
 
2012-05-01 11:13:26 AM

IAmRight: I assume that it didn't stop being popular due to head trauma. Rise of NASCAR? Gambling restrictions? IndyCar used to be relatively important, too. I think it's silly to say that there's one reason for any sport to decline in popularity. There has to be multiple problems.


Horse racing, dog fighting, cock fighting, and boxing are all formerly popular pastimes in which the athlete cannot avoid injury. It's hard not to notice the common thread.
 
2012-05-01 11:15:46 AM

Generation_D: To me, being in the military is far worse than being in college sports. But maybe thats why I never considered joining the military, yet wished I could have joined college sports and did play high school sports.


You're totally misunderstanding the point: Gladwell says the problem with college football is that it is exploitative. In both the NFL and military there are certainly undisclosed dangers, but in both the participants are fairly compensated for the risk they assume.

The primary reason that someone plays college football (at least at a big school) is that they want to have a shot at professional football. This is their only compensation, so this means that a lot of young people going into college football will get nothing of substantial value by the end.

There are lots of jobs that expose people to necessary dangers: electricians, construction workers, firemen, etc. Those people accept those risks and are properly compensated. Those risks are considered necessary due to the benefit of society. College football is a totally unnecessary risk, so college football players should be appropriately compensated.
 
2012-05-01 11:16:47 AM

Babwa Wawa: Generation_D: I can't envision 100 yrs of football just going away because of some danger to its players though.

It won't go away completely. If it can't be made safe, it just won't be the sport that the casual fan watches anymore.

Generation_D: it'll be interesting to see whether we'd just outlaw it,

Football won't be outlawed any more than boxing is outlawed.

Generation_D: I can't envision 100 yrs of football just going away because of some danger to its players though.

It's happened before. Horse racing had a very long history as a premier sport, as did boxing. And I think it isn't just "some danger to its players". It's appears you can't play certain positions without repeated subconcussive blows. And if it turns out that those lead to permanent brain damage, there will be no difference between the fate of boxing and football. A second tier sport abandoned by the middle class.


These are compelling points, but I dispute the linear conclusions -- can you extract boxing's demise to just Ali, when I think from my own memory it was many things happening, the lack of any decent heavyweights being the main one that drove me off. I think the corruption was also a factor.
 
2012-05-01 11:17:39 AM

Babwa Wawa: IAmRight: I assume that it didn't stop being popular due to head trauma. Rise of NASCAR? Gambling restrictions? IndyCar used to be relatively important, too. I think it's silly to say that there's one reason for any sport to decline in popularity. There has to be multiple problems.

Horse racing, dog fighting, cock fighting, and boxing are all formerly popular pastimes in which the athlete cannot avoid injury. It's hard not to notice the common thread.


as someone else pointed out MMA is actually rapidly increasing in popularity despite the risks of traumatic brain injury.
 
2012-05-01 11:18:53 AM

Babwa Wawa: Horse racing, dog fighting, cock fighting, and boxing are all formerly popular pastimes in which the athlete cannot avoid injury. It's hard not to notice the common thread.


Too many Barbaros, then?

/this hippie sh*t is getting kind of annoying
//the more you eliminate relatively safe "dangerous" activities, the more people will turn to far more dangerous activities (like some of the examples with people drinking rubbing alcohol or huffing paint or sh*t like that).
///honestly, I'd probably enjoy watching flag football anyway. Still better than soccer.
 
2012-05-01 11:18:59 AM
Well, if they want to fix "University education", they should fix a lot of other things first.

Stop subsidizing administrator pay via the student loan scheme, getting rid of "publish or perish" culture in academia, fixing the textbook industry so that it's not about stealing from students, etc etc.

Gladwell: College football has become indistinguishable from professional football-which is the problem. The only justification for college sports is that they are structured in a way that enhances the social and academic experience of getting an education. A sports program using semiprofessional athletes, and running on a budget of $50-plus million a year does not fit that description.

At least this guy sort of understands it, even though the experience of getting an education is at least as important as the education itself when it comes to succeeding as a person/finding a career/living a full life. You don't even need a college education/piece of paper (a diploma) to be a productive & functioning member of society, for that matter.

Being in the environment where you can network & become a functional adult in society helps a lot, and the football helps build bridges across diverse communities in a school.

Whatever. The guy is a crackpot.
 
2012-05-01 11:21:07 AM

Fubini: Generation_D: To me, being in the military is far worse than being in college sports. But maybe thats why I never considered joining the military, yet wished I could have joined college sports and did play high school sports.

You're totally misunderstanding the point: Gladwell says the problem with college football is that it is exploitative. In both the NFL and military there are certainly undisclosed dangers, but in both the participants are fairly compensated for the risk they assume.

The primary reason that someone plays college football (at least at a big school) is that they want to have a shot at professional football. This is their only compensation, so this means that a lot of young people going into college football will get nothing of substantial value by the end.

There are lots of jobs that expose people to necessary dangers: electricians, construction workers, firemen, etc. Those people accept those risks and are properly compensated. Those risks are considered necessary due to the benefit of society. College football is a totally unnecessary risk, so college football players should be appropriately compensated.


I can't accept this argument, because people volunteer for the risk. Every year, tens of thousands of them line up for a shot to play for their schools. Are you trying to take away their right to their choices?
 
2012-05-01 11:21:08 AM

kukukupo: The only issue I can see by banning college football is that we will need a new feeder program for the NFL. Maybe we can get a minor league football team like MLB and just skip over the whole college garbage.


You are so right!

When I was recruited to play baseball in the mid-80's I could tell this was a scam.

I was told after I arrived on campus: "your job is to play baseball, help us win and hopefully get a professional contract.". Nothing about taking classes, getting good grades and staying eligible.

It was a joke. The athletic department picked out your classes (making sure that nothing interferred with your practice schedule). Our scholarships basically paid for everything associated with college (except for food and other necessities). You couldn't have a job, you couldn't accept a meal bought by a friend or roommate and you had to rely solely on the money your parents could give you.

By my senior year, I knew I wouldn't be drafted (couldn't hit for power). The classes I needed for graduation were during practice. To graduate, I had to come back the following semester and complete the 28 credit hours I needed. Many on the team didn't graduate.

Knowing what my kid is looking at today, being a soccer prospect, the situation is much worse for the athlete.
 
2012-05-01 11:21:15 AM

Fubini: This is their only compensation, so this means that a lot of young people going into college football will get nothing of substantial value by the end.


Well, no it's not their only compensation, unless you're being completely disingenuous about the idea of "compensation," and they will get more value going to college than they would getting paid in a salary.
 
2012-05-01 11:21:34 AM
i.imgur.com
 
2012-05-01 11:21:41 AM
Liability suits at the collegiate and post-collegiate level prompt insurance companies to stop covering schools when it comes to football

They really don't understand how big time colleges and universities are insured, do they?
 
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