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UNITED STATES: Universities and their priorities

Linda Nyquist, who is an idealist, rejects the excuses given for the behavior of universities:

"I don't agree at all. Universities could, and should, set standards. One of these ought to include the value of education and its relationship to sports and other pursuits. The millions of dollars spent on coaches, players, and other sports activities is offensive and ridiculous for a variety of reasons. The spectacle of students drinking and carousing in relation to sports activities, the usual lackluster academic performance by players who should be getting a good education, and the example set for young people, namely that glory, money and satisfaction in life lie in this area rather than in areas which benefit society, is deplorable. I know that many will disagree and say that sports do benefit society. I agree, absolutely. They have a place, and we all should participate for healthful living and other very good reasons. But the price tag attached to professional and collegiate sports is an obscenity and I cannot understand at all why is has ever flourished in the academic arena.

While I'm at it in the spirit of grinchdom, I'm not too fond of honorary doctorates, either. Wouldn't a nice to leave the doctorates to those who EARN them?"

My comment: Almost uniquely, Stanford does not give honorary doctorates because of the abuse of them, and strives to ensure that its athletes perform well academically. Robert Hutchins was well aware of the abuses of collegiate football and abolished it. A old Chicago graduate recently visited me and for this reason called Hutchins a bum, etc. My visitor could scarcely walk or climb stairs because he had two steel hips. I asked him how come. "Playing football" he replied. Sports fans, please note.

Ronald Hilton - 1/01/01