Normally, I don't give a rat's ass about sports as a whole. I like watching an occasional football, basketball or soccer game, and love stumbling across my neigbhorhood pee-wee football games (muttering things about concussions under my breath). But there's no team allegiance--god, I mean, I live in Seattle, home of the most hopeless teams in existence (plus the Storm! go, Storm!).
So I wasn't sure I cared too much about the cover story in the new Atlantic: The Shame of College Sports. I started reading it last night while waiting for a (very tasty) apple pie to finish baking, and ended up finishing it this morning--it's long. The sort of long-ass magazine story that only a few publications still run. In my abbreviated college experience, I knew folks who were 'tutors' to the football team players, which meant the folks I knew got paid to write papers and supply test answers to the atheletes. This drove me nuts, considering the team was a Big Deal in national sports, and this is cheating. The football players in general sure had lovely, expensive cars, and clothing, and lived in a swank dorm with their own private caterers and workout facilities. And this story--you really should go read it--really got me thinking. I know the system doesn't do the athletes any academic favors, but this piece takes the side of the players in the face of the NCAA and the schools themselves. And reveals March Madness (in particular) as a money-making crock of shit that takes serious advantage of the players. I had no idea.