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Letters to the Editor

Out of control

December 18, 2009

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To the editor:

Yes, Saturday’s “Commentary” got it right this time. Big-time athletics are out of control!

The “arms race” for new facilities, luxury boxes, first-class amenities, combined with obscene salaries for Division I coaches, is out of control. A university which pays $9 million to three individuals in a year when it cuts 200 positions from the faculty and staff vividly illustrates the problem. Hmmmmm! Wonder where that might be?

Big-time university athletics has drifted far from what was once the purpose of athletics in universities: activities to enhance student learning.

Fortunately, student learning is still the emphasis in many smaller schools. But it gets lost in the pressure for bowl games, TV contracts, national rankings and tens of thousands of fans paying ever-increasing ticket prices.

We should remember that bubbles burst! The high-tech bubble and the real estate bubble both burst with shattering results for many who expected values always to increase. With escalating ticket prices and royal treatment of university coaches and athletes, it’s predictable that this bubble will burst, too, someday. Just think of all those bond obligations and pledge commitments yet to be paid.

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