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Ban College Football

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Corruption and a growing concern for head injury have put college football in the spotlight. Are football programs'€™ millions in profits exploitation? Or are they still a celebration of amateur sport? Does football'€™s inherent danger and violence have any place in institutions of higher learning? Or does it provide young men with educational opportunities they would not otherwise have?

  • Buzz Bissinger

    5 Items
    • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author, Friday Night Lights
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    The entire Penn State coaching staff, too much under the influence of Paterno, should go. And so, frankly, should major college football and basketball as it exists now, rotten beyond repair, as has been pointed out a thousand times.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    A growing body of evidence showing that concussions and head injuries can lead to brain damage and early onset of dementia has led to NFL rules changes meant to reduce risk. Schwartz argues that they will help to reduce those injuries, while Bissinger argues that they change the nature of the game.

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Allegations that University of Miami athletes were provided cash and hookers should trigger the death penalty at a school that’s become a national disgrace.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Violence is not only embedded in football; it is the very celebration of it. It is why we like it. Take it away, continue efforts to curtail the savagery, and the game will be nothing, regardless of age or skill.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Read Bissinger’s column on the Daily Beast.

    Wednesday, December 31, 1969
  • Malcolm Gladwell

    3 Items
    • The New Yorker Staff Writer & Author, The Tipping Point
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    Why Malcolm Gladwell will argue that college football should be banned at the Slate/Intelligence Squared live debate on May 8 in New York City.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    At the core of the research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive neurological disorder found in people who have suffered some kind of brain trauma, is a critical question: is the kind of injury being uncovered incidental to the game of football or inherent in it?

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Gladwell answers readers’ questions about his article, “Offensive Play,” in a live chat.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009
  • Tim Green

    3 Items
    • Former NFL Defensive End and Football Broadcaster
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    A football player is like a good dog. He will run until it kills him. Inside this world of football that others frivolously call a game, this comes as no surprise.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Author and former NFL player Tim Green talks about his book, The Big Time.

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Green talks about sports and writing—5 video links—Sports and Action, Drawing on Personal Experiences, Exploring the Negative Side of Sports, Writing for Young Readers, and Similarities Between Writing and Sports.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011
  • Jason Whitlock

    6 Items
    • National Columnist
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    At this point, with the N.C.A.A. addicted to its multibillion-dollar television contracts, reemphasizing the “collegiate” part of the N.C.A.A. Tournament is the equivalent of Hugh Hefner reemphasizing virginity.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    As long as football allows tackling and blocking, you’re never going to stop the best football players from tapping into their darkest real or imagined memories. You can stop the bounties, you can unfairly criminalize a good kid for unveiling his rage two minutes early, but you can’t stop the barbaric violence. The game dies without it.

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    A community college football program that services 70-80 kids a year on a $110,000 annual budget had been marked for death. The efforts of a Silicon Valley executive helped to save it.

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    The people who believe there’s a kernel of integrity in NCAA-mandated shamateurism, the people reluctant to accept what television and its money and fame have done to college athletics, need programs like The U.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    There should be no surprise that protecting Joe Paterno, Penn State, Happy Valley and Linebacker U — profit-generating institutions at the core of big-time college athletics’ amateur myth — appears to have taken precedence over the protection of children.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    It should come as no surprise that in 2011, even with big-time college athletics grotesquely sick with corruption incubated by the lie of amateurism, no major media outlet will mount a serious, consistent call for an overhaul of NCAA rules. We owe our existence to the exploitation of shamateur football and basketball players. We must support the lie.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011
For The Motion

The real scandal is the very structure of college sports, wherein student-athletes generate billions of dollars for universities and private companies while earning nothing for themselves. Here, a leading civil-rights historian makes the case for paying college athletes—and reveals how a spate of lawsuits working their way through the courts could destroy the NCAA.

Saturday, October 1, 2011
Taylor Branch

This story includes the names of 30 former college football players who are alleged to have taken money or some other extra benefit in violation of NCAA rules. The primary source of these allegations is Josh Luchs, who has been a certified NFL agent for 20 years.

Monday, October 18, 2010
George Dohrmann
Against The Motion

Personal responsibility has been under attack in our society for quite some time. Banning or forcibly reforming football, would represent an unwarranted infringement on the public's right to self-determination.

Friday, October 23, 2009
Mike Gleason

Do sports build character? For those of us who claim to be educators, it's important to know. Physical-education teachers, coaches, boosters, most trustees, and the balance of alumni seem sure that they do.

Sunday, January 15, 2012
Mark Edmundson

While the issues plaguing the sport aren't going away, it's worth reminding ourselves that nearly all the recent scandals -- the tattoos, the agents, the bowl junkets and the cover-ups -- were indictments of the system, not the sport. Strip away the commercialism and the corruption and nearly all the same components that made fans fall in love with this crazy game to begin with remain.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples
Paying Student Athletes

In consultation with sports economists, antitrust lawyers and reformers, Nocera puts together the outlines of a plan to pay those who play football and men’s basketball in college.

Friday, December 30, 2011
Joe Nocera

While college athletics does need reform, paying players bears no relationship to the purported goal of helping protect college athletes. The abuses in college athletics – and they are real – stem from the growing imposition of market forces. Institutionalizing that ethos would almost certainly make all those abuses worse.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Jonathan Chait
Revenues & Expenses

The average compensation in 2011 was $1.47 million, a jump of nearly 55% in six seasons. In the six conferences with automatic Bowl Championship Series bids, the average salary rose from $1.4 million in 2006 to $2.125 million in 2011.

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Erik Brady

The richest college football programs got richer in 2010, pocketing more than $1 billion in profits for the first time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Chris Isidore

The richest college football programs got richer in 2010, pocketing more than $1 billion in profits for the first time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Leah Finnegan and Danielle Wiener-Bronner

The richest college football programs got richer in 2010, pocketing more than $1 billion in profits for the first timeThis report provides summary information concerning revenues and expenses of NCAA Division I athletics programs for the fiscal years 2004 through 2010.

Monday, August 1, 2011
Daniel L. Fulks

After funding cuts by the deficit-strapped Legislature, Rutgers froze professors’ salaries, cut the use of photocopies for exams and jacked up student tuition, housing and other fees. It also increased funding for sports, spending more money on athletics than any other public institution in the six biggest football conferences during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
  Curtis Eichelberger and Oliver Staley
NY Times’ Alan Schwarz on Head Injury

Since the former National Football League player Andre Waters killed himself in November, an explanation for his suicide has remained a mystery. But after examining remains of Mr. Waters’s brain, a neuropathologist in Pittsburgh is claiming that Mr. Waters had sustained brain damage from playing football and he says that led to his depression and ultimate death.

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Alan Schwarz

When a survey commissioned by the National Football League recently indicated that dementia or similar memory-related diseases had been diagnosed in its retired players vastly more often than in the national population, the league claimed the study was unreliable.

Friday, October 23, 2009
Alan Schwarz

Helmets both new and used are not — and have never been — formally tested against the forces believed to cause concussions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Alan Schwarz

A professional player telling another to put his long-term health ahead of the team — a once and, to some, still-heretical idea — thrilled those who are trying to temper the sport’s win-now, regret-later ideology.

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Alan Schwarz

The suicide of the former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson became more alarming Monday, when Boston University researchers announced that his brain had developed the same trauma-induced disease recently found in more than 20 deceased players.

Monday, May 2, 2011
Alan Schwarz

Football equipment managers nationwide will receive yet another reason to reassess their helmet inventory on Tuesday, when a Virginia Tech research report reveals that two models popular among teenagers might be allowing high rates of concussions.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Alan Schwarz

More head injury coverage from Alan Schwarz, who has been covering the topic since 2007, and others from the New York Times.

Thursday, August 18, 2011
New York Times
Are Colleges Better Off Without It?

For good or ill, big-time sports has become the public face of the university, the brand that admissions offices sell, a public-relations machine thanks to ESPN exposure.

Friday, January 20, 2012
Laura Pappano

If athletes want to train for the NFL, let the NFL pay for a minor league, the way baseball does. Universities can have a team if they must, but make it independent, and let’s stop the farce of having university presidents try to manage large, commercial sports programs. Let them get back to focusing on research and education, topics on which they actually have some expertise.

Saturday, November 26, 2011
Steven Salzberg

The culture of football in American universities is completely out of control. It is undermining our education system and hurting our competitiveness in technology, science, and engineering.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Steven Salzberg

Everything we think we know about college football's impact on students' grades, graduation rates, rankings, and school finances adds up to this: Football might be bad for some colleges.

Friday, December 30, 2011
Jordan Weissmann

The University of Chicago, well known for Saul Bellow, Milton Friedman and its links to 85 Nobel Prizes, was once famous sea to shining sea for football. It boasted a legendary coach, a Heisman Trophy winner and a national championship. Then, in 1939, it did something extraordinary. It gave up the game to save its soul.

Friday, September 16, 2011
Barry Bearak
More on Head Injury

Pathologist Bennet Omalu’s discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the autopsied brains of Hall of Famer Mike Webster and other pro football players, and the pushback from the NFL.

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Jeanne Marie Laskas

The violence of football has always been a matter of concern and the sport has seen periodic attempts at safety and reform. But recent neurological findings have uncovered risks that are more insidious.

Monday, January 31, 2011
Ben McGrath

Stone Phillips interviews Virginia Tech professor Stefan Duma, whose research on head impacts in youth football found that many of their impacts to be equal in force to some of the bigger hits he sees at the college level.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Preliminary findings in a study of boxers show that an MRI could help identify a degenerative brain disorder before a patient reports cognitive problems.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Toni Monkovic
Criticize the System

Why is it unthinkable to consider an NFL player not going to college first? Why is there no minor league for college-age players who want to train for the NFL but have no desire to pursue an academic career?

Saturday, August 27, 2011
Gerry Dinardo

For two months every year, sports fans have to make a decision - watch football or baseball on Sundays? Based on the numbers of Americans who say it's their favorite sport, one would have to assume that football wins hands down.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Harris Interactive