We are sometimes criticized for limiting the scope of school sports – for restricting long-distance travel and prohibiting national tournaments; but there is no question that we are doing the correct thing by protecting school sports from the excesses and abuses that characterize major college sports.
Across the spectrum of intercollegiate athletics, but especially in Division I football and basketball, there exists an insatiable “keep-up-with-the-Joneses” appetite.
Universities are building increasingly extravagant facilities. They are sending their “students” into increasingly expansive scheduling. But it’s never enough.
There is always another university somewhere building a bigger stadium, a fancier press box or more palatial dressing rooms, practice facilities and coaches quarters.
So-called “students” are sent across the US and beyond to play on any day at any time in order to generate revenue to keep feeding the beast.
The Big Ten knows it’s wrong, admits it, but schedules football games on Friday nights to attract larger rights fees from television.
Feeling used or abused, some of the athletes of Northwestern and then at the University of Wisconsin, talk of creating a union to protect themselves from the obvious, rampant exploitation.
And then occasionally, some college coaches dare to suggest that high schools are wrong to have regulations that reject the road that colleges have traveled, a road that has distanced athletics very far from academics in intercollegiate sports.
The intercollegiate model is not and must not be the interscholastic model. We who are sold out for educational athletics have nothing good to learn from those who have sold out for broadcast revenue.