Elizabeth S. Ryan: Sports a travesty

April 25, 2013 

Sports a travesty

I am outraged by the suggestions coming out of the College Sports Research Institute conference (April 19) and the ongoing controversy at UNC-Chapel Hill that collegiate sports programs (in effect commercial undertakings) are worthy of being placed on equal footing with the academic mission of UNC-Chapel Hill.

During this past year of embarrassing revelations, Chancellor Holden Thorp has spoken of athletics and academics as two separate cultures. That description also outrages me. It is a travesty to put the academic role of a university on equal footing with a commercially oriented program that pays huge salaries (that are an insult to academic professionals) to sports professionals and “hires” athletes who cannot meet the entry qualifications of the institution nor perform academically. During their time (often brief, as they soon move on to professional sports), they often live a lie by being enrolled in classes that have no content.

As residents of North Carolina, we need to think about the purpose of institutions of higher education. Are they to provide the means of preparing for lives of usefulness and fulfillment– or an afternoon or evening (whatever time fits TV schedules) of football or basketball?

Elizabeth S. Ryan

Chapel Hill

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