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The mismatch problem: Why college football scholarships are not enough

April 22, 2014

Have you ever had a moment when you heard an argument that made you examine a long-held belief?

I had a moment like that recently when listening to an NPR Intelligence Squared podcast on college admissions. Intelligence Squared is a high-quality product, as the debate is civil, fact-heavy, and performed with great skill. In other words, it's everything that cable news is not, sort of like reading the best of the college football internet as opposed to relying on Holtz and May to analyze team strength.

Why I'm Not Buying Football Season Tickets

March 14, 2013

Last May, a group called Intelligence Squared sponsored a debate on whether to ban college football. A portion of the discussion concerned the nature of our “social contract” with higher education, and by extension college sports. New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell’s comment explained the logic to ban college football best: “Nowhere in that social contract does it say that it’s okay to promote and encourage young men to hit themselves over and over again in the head in the name of entertainment.”

Should We Ban College Football?

May 07, 2012

Big money, corruption, and injury have put college football in the spotlight. Tomorrow night, Intelligence Squared will debate the idea of banning college football. Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Friday Night Lights -- and supporter of a ban -- previews the conversation with Tim Green, announcer and former Atlanta Falcons defensive end -- who opposes a ban. Tim Green is also the author of Pinch Hit.

Get Real! Ban College Football?

May 07, 2012

Soledad O'Brien and the Starting Point panel discusses Buzz Bissinger's Wall Street Journal opinion piece, in which he calls for college football to be banned because it "has no academic purpose."

Would Banning College Football Actually Help Academics?

May 07, 2012

Last week, Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger offered his arguments for why college football should be eliminated. The article appears in advance of tomorrow night’s Intelligence Squared debate, in which Bissinger and author Malcolm Gladwell will argue in favor of a ban on college football. They will be opposed by former NFL defensive end Tim Green and sportswriter Jason Whitlock. Bissinger’s piece gets at some serious issues with college football and raises some fantastic questions, but it ultimately misses exactly how important the sport is to academic programs at universities across the nation.

Should College Football Be Banned?

May 09, 2012

Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lighters and former defensive end for the Atlantic Falcons Tim Greene debate the dangers of college football including concussions and it’s lack of academic purpose.

Intelligence Squared U.S. New York Audience Decides to “Ban College Football”

May 09, 2012

Last night, Intelligence Squared U.S. continued its spring 2012 season with a victory for the motion “Ban College Football.” In the final tally, Malcolm Gladwell and Buzz Bissinger won the Oxford-style debate by convincing 37% of the audience to change their minds and oppose the motion. After the debate, 53% of audience members agreed that college football has no place in an academic environment, up from 16% pre-debate.

Ban College Football? Breaking Down a Debate

May 09, 2012

Two prominent writers argued for banning college football on Tuesday night at New York University’s Skirball Center as part of the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates series. Their opponents were two journalists, who also happened to be former players. Buzz Bissinger (the author of the high school football book “Friday Night Lights”) and Malcolm Gladwell (the best-selling author and New Yorker staff writer who compared football to dogfighting) want to get rid of football on campus. Tim Green (a former N.F.L. defensive end) and Jason Whitlock (a Fox Sports correspondent who played football in college) want it to stay.

Ban College Football

May 10, 2012

As part of the Intelligence Squared debate series, I teamed with up Buzz Bissinger (of “Friday Night LIghts” fame) in support of the proposition that college football should be banned...

Should College Football Be Banned?

May 11, 2012

Ban college football? Blasphemy! Except that’s exactly what more than half of the (fortunately non-policy-making) audience voted to do earlier this week at the Intelligence Squared debate at NYU.

Saturday's Child: Why We Should Ban College Football....

May 18, 2012

Everyone who loves college football and the young men who play the game needs to watch this exchange. For the proposition Ban College Football were Buzz Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and Malcolm Gladwell, a well-known, distinguished author currently writing for the New Yorker Magazine. Opposing the proposition that college football be banned were Tim Green, an NFL great who played defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons—recruited out of Syracuse University. Joining Green in opposition to banning college football was Jason Whitlock who played his college football at Ball State as an offensive lineman—now a national columnist for Fox Sports.

Doping Debate

January 15, 2008

Just hours after baseball assured Congress it's working to address the sport's doping problem, another group debated whether performance-enhancing drugs should even be banned.

Intellectual Juicing

January 18, 2008

The Oxford-style Intelligence Squared debates at the Asia Society are precisely what I hoped to discover moving to New York City last spring: Provocative, unabashedly intellectual, lively. How could anyone who slogs through the pathetic, pandering spectacle of modern American politics not love a debate series with a mission statement that includes a promise to "transcend the toxically emotional and reflexively ideological"?

Public Affairs: Intelligence Squared Brings Oxford Union Debating to the Land of Loudmouths

January 19, 2008

It might be the formula for an intriguing cocktail party, or the set-up to a long and elaborate joke. An ethicist, a famous retired ballplayer, a pediatrician, a very loud sportscaster, a libertarian, a former anti-doping czar and one of the more famous faces in American television take the stage in the auditorium of the Asia Society and Museum.

The Great Debaters

January 20, 2008

America is pretty schizophrenic when it comes to performance-enhancing substances - we drag jocks who juice before Congress even as we spend a fortune on fountain of youth drugs.