Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dan Wolken and The Big Lie

Dan Wolken had a recent column which got attention even on PTI regarding moving the start of the college basketball season so as to avoid being overshadowed by other sports.

I have no complaints with the merits of Dan's argument.  March vs May Madness doesn't initially strike me as heresy, and I might actually pay more attention to college b-ball once bowl season is over (which might actually improve my performance on my brackets, having actually seen some of these teams play).

My issue here is what Dan is perceiving as the problem: that college basketball is being overshadowed.  That attendance is down, that viewership is down, that no one is talking about the sport because they are too busy talking about the NFL and the NBA.


We're told over and over that these kids are "student athletes", that this isn't a professional sport, and they aren't professional athletes, so they don't deserve compensation for their performance over the education they receive.  These are schools, after all, and the education should be the principal focus.  If that's truly the case, then why are we complaining that a college sport that exists only to further the education of its participants is being overshadowed by the professional sports that this is not.  ZOMG!  PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL IS MORE POPULAR THAN NON-PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL!  Isn't that how it's supposed to work?  If 5 people watch a college game vs 50,000 people watching the game, those kids get the same compensation:  a scholarship and a dorm room with access to a cafeteria.  If they are only there to play for an education, there doesn't need to be a single tv camera in the building, not even public access.

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