Taylor Branch’s Atlantic magazine expose on the commercialization of college sports has sparked all sorts of debates this week.But “the shame of college sports” is actually nothing new.
Some choice excerpts:
The old distinction between amateur and professional athletics is of little use.
The real problems of college athletics loom large beside the considerations that define our use of the terms ‘professional’ and ‘amateur.’
The aims of athletics reveal the fact that the important distinctions are between athletics conducted for educational purposes and athletics conducted for business purposes.
When athletics are conducted for business, the aims are (1) to win games — to defeat another person or group being the chief end; (2) to make money — as it is impossible otherwise to carry on athletics as business; (3) to attain individual or group fame and notoriety. These three — which are the controlling aims of intercollegiate athletics — are also the aims of horse-racing, prize-fighting, and professional baseball.
The takeaway: college sports has been dealing with the same issue for 100 years.
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