College Football Embodies the Worst of America

Monday, 05 Dec 2011 09:33 AM

By Jon Friedman

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We all know that college football is a joke — what with the endless litany of recruiting violations, the abuse of young men's bodies while the universities fatten their coffers, the Ohio State scandal, and now the fiasco at Penn State.

It's really a bad joke, but nothing about it happens to be funny at all. The students beat their brains in Saturday after Saturday and leave school with their memories. They should be paid — and paid handsomely, God knows — but the ruling body, the NCAA, has long rejected this notion.

The players themselves are bound to their schools like medieval serfs. Meanwhile, the dictatorial coaches flout the NCAA's rules and mock their roles as teachers by jumping from one program to another, always at a multimillion-dollar rate, along with a TV show and an athletic shoe contract. These are role models? Yeah, sure.

Why does anybody care about this dreadful sport?

The hypocrisy of the establishment insults my intelligence. I don't care who winds up playing for the national championship.

I used to wish I had gone to college (Stony Brook) and grad school (Northwestern) at a major football program. Northwestern was traditionally ranked in the BOTTOM 10 of woeful college un-juggernauts.

I used to hang out in the campus library, more often than not, on Saturday afternoons — or just sleep off the effects of some wild Friday night party (I wasn't exactly a model student, the truth be told). It would have been so nice to have the kinds of memories of upsetting Michigan or Ohio State, right?

Nah.

Then we come to the revolting, horrifying Penn State scandal. Enough on it. This speaks for itself. I am waiting to see how the NCAA spins the scandal so we all walk away reassured that the sport can police itself — ha ha ha — and continue to "build character." Yeah, sure.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.









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