Monday, July 16, 2012

A Thorough And Honest Review Of The Culture Of College Football

That's the end quote from the NY Times piece on the Freeh report, and I know I'm a week late and many dollars short on this, but...

Um, why should this assessment be limited to the Penn State program?

Yes, the PSU program spent decades looking the other way as a child predator had his way with a spiraling number of victims. And that's awful on every level, not the least of which is that it strikes at the core of twin taboos of American society - sexual aggression against children (easily visualized, of course, as the audience's own kids), and homosexuality as a communicable practice. Not just one-time damage, as it were. Yes, indeedy, I'm going there.

But this is just the ice that's above the surface, folks. There's loads more underneath. And yes, perhaps a few years of college ball with relatively light schedules and not as much off-season work and generally smaller and slower athletes means that the long-term concussive damage isn't as big of a deal here... or, well, um, maybe not. Certainly the money that's being made off the players isn't being distributed equally, and certainly the human abuses on an individual program level are so rife that scandal is seen more like inclement weather than true crime.

I guess the point is this:

All sports, at some level, are timewaste and vice and gambling and sexism and violence, and we accept that because there's also good in the mix, and watching people excel and fail under duress is what human drama is all about.

Football ramps it up much higher, because the long-time players of it are obscenely compensated, but have the life expectancy of drug lords. (Forgive me, "Breaking Bad" season premiere happened tonight. I'm in Full Heisenberg mode here.)

College football goes even further because 99% of the players are at their last point before the kill floor, the last go-around until it all ends and they have to find some other dream to chase down. One that doesn't involve, well, being paid like a drug lord.

College football programs take advantage of this. Always have, always will. And the act corrupts any other good the programs might do, create conditions of venality and secrecy and culpability that make Sandusky-style coverups and victimization...

Well, I don't want to say the rule, because I have no evidence of this being the rule, and I don't want to imagine that there are dozens of other reprobates plying their disease on children, from coast to coast and at every level.

But if there were...

Would anyone really be surprised?

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