No Debating Silver Bullet Points

Written October 3rd, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

Oooooh! A Summit!

If you think the “Final Verdict” segments of College Gameday are amazing places for rhetoric and logic, you’re probably excited for the beginning of the Presidential Debates tonight.  Me? I’d rather argue about college sports… compared to politics, the BCS makes sense.

Buckeye 411

Courtesy SammySilv Designs

Great Work From SkullSessionStudios

Commentary- Life Lessons

We joked a bit about it earlier; that Jim Tressel’s new TV engagement will give him a chance to share wisdom with a new audience, although I’m 100% excited for this to happen.  The fact is, even given what transpired to end his career at Ohio State, I’ve talked to too many former players and people who know Tress to be able to overlook the things that he was able to do in their lives.  Even from his opening statement, his focus that Buckeyes represent well ” in the classroom, in the community…” speaks about his passion for making the most of the opportunities he had to impact people to become better citizens and better men and women.

Which brings me back to something that’s a well documented struggle of mine- the purpose of big time (read “high revenue”) sports in meeting the educational mission of a University.  We’ve talked previously about the ways that the academic values are being compromised for national recognition and dollar signs, and the implication that this has for young adults involved in the program.  And, unfortunately, we get to keep reflecting on it- see below for the latest from Chapel Hill, and be on the lookout next week for coverage from this year’s Knight Commission. A piece in today’s Huffington Post highlights some of my concerns and gets at the heart of the matter;

The tragic consequence of this phenomenon is that the leaders of many athletic departments often make decisions based on revenue rather than education. In order for college administrators to recalibrate an athletic department’s actions to its institutional mission, three principles should be adhered to: 1) academic standards and integrity; 2) the best interests of the students; and 3) accountability. Athletic directors must ensure that their departments enhance, and do not distract from, the institution’s mission. Presidents and boards of trustees need to measure the success of the athletic department on academic advising, career services, and the educational experiences of its students as much as they do wins and losses.

As someone who believes firmly that most of the learning and development that happens at college occurs outside of the classroom, the larger message here is one that I really worry about.  There’s a lot of research that indicates that young adults are finding new ways to create foundations for their lives, and that they have values that seem more and more utilitarian than civic- “What’s in it for me?” versus “What’s the greater good?” Granted, some of this is a normal part of the pre-frontal cortex development that happens at this age, but you have to wonder if these decisions to delay “maturity” and transition out of an egocentric state might also be at the root of some of the “extended adolescence” issues that we read about: What was normative for people at 18 or 20 (moving out to live on their own, beginning a career and family) are now occurring much later life (hello, 35 year old bloggers living in their parent’s basement!).

So, this shift away from the academic heart of University life to chase prestige and economics is not only depriving students and “student athletes” of the learning opportunities within the classroom, it may also be reinforcing an unhealthy self focus and immaturity in “life matters”.  You only need watch Tuesday’s 30 for 30 to see some of the consequences that often results.

Which brings us back to Tress’ comments, and a question: If the classroom is being compromised by the emphasis on “semi-pro” athletics, and the community is being impacted by a shift towards more utilitarian understandings of a person’s worth and responsibility, what will be left to stand on?

Well, other than being proud of their achievements against that team from Ann Arbor, that is.

This Week In Scandal

  • Oh. Thanks For Clearing That Up- MSU coach Mark Dantonio, on William Gholston returning to play after being knocked unconscious having the wind knocked out of him: There’s “no automatic exclusion from the rest of a game even if a player is knocked out”.  Keep that in your records, William, for when you start to have issues resulting from brain deterioration later in your career.
  • Giving Thanks- Charles Robinson said this week that he expects Miami to hear from the NCAA before Turkey Day.  The good news?  No one will notice.
  • Remember Penn State? Mike McQueary does, and is looking for $4 million in compensation for what he believes is wrongful termination.

Around The NCAA

And Finally

Happy Birthday, Cartoon Network! Although, I don’t think I’m ever going to be high enough to understand this video…


  1. KenNo Gravatar
    October 4th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Mali, so how are things around your home this week? Battle lines forming?

    I’m looking at your ‘Clothing Part One’ a little differently. Think back to the blimp-eye view of OSU away games at schools with profoundly different school colors from ours; I’m thinking MSU green, UM blue, N’western purple, etc., and you see wide swathes of OSU scarlet, and you think, ‘Wow, a lot of OSU fans in the stands today.’ On Saturday, when blimpyview shows all red, that pretty well masks the optics of how many Nebraska fans are there. For all we know, there could be ’0′ fans, despite the myth that Nebraska travels well. Brilliant strategy..


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    October 4th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Yup, that’s the same “Clothing” plan that IU uses- they shoot their stadium pictures when Wisconsin or Ohio State (and now Nebraska) are in town…

    As for our house… I’ve actually been in my office most of the week, so we haven’t had a chance to talk or create any animosity. I did tell her she’d need to find somewhere else to watch the game, since I have dibs on the TV and computer for live-chat purposes.

    On second though- I may just go to a bar.


    KenNo Gravatar
    October 4th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Good grief, I never thought of that; I just catagorized us with IU. Woof.

    I understand working through your viewing options; descretion, valor, and all that..


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