Imagine college athletics existed for the benefit of students

May 10, 2021

For more than a decade, I’ve been convinced that big-time college sports and the NCAA are a predatory racket and we’d all be better off if the entire system was dynamited. “Big-time” is doing a lot of work in that statement, since I also believe organized, sponsored sports can serve a valuable purpose for students. The key, of course, is that if a university’s sports programs were truly oriented to serve students then they wouldn’t look like most Division-I schools’.

Every time I read about how these athletic departments are run, it’s clear that they don’t exist for the direct benefit of athletes or other students. Take this recent New York Times article about the athletics program at UC Berkeley. It specifically refers to the NCAA’s “anachronistic notion of amateurism,” which is about as edgy as it gets, but beyond that one reference, once you take in the entire picture there’s a gaping hole that remains unaddressed: Why go to all this trouble?

Giannis and the Bucks have reached 'boring, but good' status

May 2, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t win the NBA’s MVP award this year even though his statistics indicate production and impact essentially equal to his past two MVP-winning seasons. That’s because Nikola Jokic has played transcendent basketball, Joel Embiid has also played fantastically when healthy, and Stephen Curry has bounced back to put up tremendous numbers for an otherwise terrible team following a lost season.

But I also suspect another big reason he won’t win the award is that Giannis and the Bucks have become boring to the NBA circles that decide such things, and American sports fans tend to underrate the talent of athletes or teams they deem boring.