Wednesday, May 02, 2007
From Tim Keowan's ESPN column:
"• I'm sure the philosophy chair will get to use it whenever he gets word of a big thinker he wants to recruit up near Covington: The University of Kentucky is investigating the idea of purchasing a private plane for its coaches to use on recruiting trips."
I've said some harsh things about college sports over the years, and I am prepared to stand by them all. I sincerely believe that schools' graduation rates should be posted with their NCAA basketball tournament seedings, and that students' majors should be run under their names along with their scoring percentage. Only my abiding passion for personal privacy prevents me from advocating that they show G.P.A.s. I think that coaches that fail to graduate a mandated percentage of their students should be fired, and I think that coaches should be paid what other faculty are paid. I don't approve of sneaker contracts, or television and radio programs that pay an additional stipend. I'd like to see collegiate sports receive the emphasis they receive in the Ivy League, or at D-III schools. I think the whole business is corrupt, and that it has a corrupting influence on one of the most important institutions in our country.
We all make jokes about recruiting students the way athletes are recruited all the time, but the fact is that schools actually do recruit students that way. EGA was courted by two schools that I think of as hoops powerhouses, and will be attending one of them. Neither offered her a car, but she is getting fellowship money, and they paid for her to visit, and it is because they wanted her in their Philosophy Department. Trust me, she doesn't know where the handle is on a basketball-- these schools treated her like a jock because she is a Logic jock. And in a weird way, the reason they can do this, I suspect, is that hoops makes money. (Neither of these fine schools is a noted pigskin power, so I am assuming it's their hardwood program that rakes in the bucks.) To be sure, neither of the schools we are talking about is Ohio State, but discovering that there are prospective grad students that get calls from department chairs, and taken out to dinner, and all of that sort of thing has been a revelation to me. It ain't like that when you apply to professional schools-- law schools in particular are regarded as a revenue source, and they throw nickels around like manhole covers. It is encouraging to me to learn that in the realms of pure scholarship schools behave like this, and it makes enjoying watching college sports a little bit less of a guilty pleasure. No doubt the boys in the MBA programs would value the basketball team more highly than the Philosophy Department, but the schools themselves have demonstrated by their conduct that they understand the business that they are in.
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