Regarding the Oct. 28 Point of View “ A chance for UNC-CH to lead the way”: I appreciate Brock Baker’s desire to preserve athletics at North Carolina.
As a former NCAA Division III cross-country runner, I wholeheartedly agree that intercollegiate sports can develop the virtues Baker identifies. However, I cannot see why an Ivy League or Division III model would not achieve the same ends without any of the risks that the current model creates.
In fact, enablers of the current system do not care about these virtues or do so only as a fig leaf for the real ends of Division I revenue sports: to make money and to entertain crowds.
If Carolina truly wanted to lead, it would leave these activities to the professional sports leagues and attempt to organize a sort of Southern Ivy League of peer institutions such as Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Virginia, in which actual, nonscholarship students could compete on a level playing field, all the while developing the virtues Baker identifies and representing their schools in friendly, meaningful rivalries.
The only loss would be participation in the national circus of bowl games, March Madness and ESPN appearances. But of course, this will never happen, because for most people that circus is the whole point of college sports.
Thomas B. Markham