Saturday, September 22, 2012

5 Reasons Why Congress Needs To Do Something About Big Time College Sports

Okay, America, I know I’m flying in the face of one of your favorite things: big time college sports. But it’s time for us to take a long, hard look at reality. Big time college sports should be seriously limited. I am convinced the only we are going to curtail this sad blight on our college students is for congress to hold open hearings and draw more attention to the matter. Here’s FIVE GOOD REASONS WHY:

1. Academic dishonesty. College coaches and athletic directors routinely pressure professors to give passing grades to athletes who do not deserve to pass. Why? To keep them eligible to play. We’re having enough trouble in America today with dishonesty. We used to say, “Honesty is the best policy,” and we need to start saying it again.

2. Sports rivalries promote the wrong ideas about colleges and universities. Fans of Penn State hate Syracuse, and fans of Syracuse hate Penn State. Texas hates Texas A+M and Texas A+M hates Texas. Georgia hates Auburn and Auburn hates Georgia. Hey, wake up! Stop! These are institutions of higher learning, where they do teaching, research and public service. The public needs to think of them that way and not as sports factories.

3. Previously honest alumni of colleges and universities take part in surreptitious, underhanded practices to lure athletes to their alma maters. NCAA rules “prohibit” athletes from being paid, but that doesn’t stop wealthy alumni when their alma mater’s football or basketball team’s championship chances are at stake! There are many ways of paying athletes –cars, credit cards, charge accounts – all carefully hidden. Let’s stop encouraging otherwise honest people from becoming crooks.

4. Athletes’ presence on campuses can be disruptive. Athletes know they’re there to play ball, and they know they have protection. Sometimes they are just impulsive and immature. Beatings and rapes are more common than we know, because they are covered up. The Penn State scandal is one recent example, but many other incidents – known and unknown – have cause needless disruption.

5. The athletes themselves are exploited! Yes, they are! Most of the athletes in major football and basketball programs get certificates of attendance, but no degree. Most of them do not get pro contacts. What they get is a handshake, a bad knee, hip or back, and an uncertain future.

What’s the alternative? The National Football League and the National Basketball Association should establish their own minor leagues. Players should be paid an honest, above-board salary, and should get health insurance and disability income insurance. And there should be funds set aside to help those who do not make the majors to get some training in another occupation, so that they are not thrown out into society with a sense of failure and no training. How could such a revolution take place? Only if you pressure your congressional reps to establish a national commission on sports to study the problem!

Class Warfare? Get Real!

There’s been a lot of talk about the "one percent" - meaning the one percent of the wealthiest Americans. That would be 3,000,000 people. The truth is it’s more like "one-fifth-of-one-percent" - more like 600,000 people who control more than 95% of all the wealth in this country...

First of all, I’m not talking about the rare exceptions - people such as Bill gates, Michael Dell or Steve Jobs - people who started their own companies and who, in the best tradition of capitalism, deserve their wealth. No, I’m talking about people who are employees of shareholders, but who have managed to scrape off millions of other people’s money and make it their own. They do it in a variety of ways. There’s a "country club” at the top".   Chief Execs get boards of directors to vote them salaries of $100,000,000, $200,000,000 and more. That money belongs to the company shareholders, but they take it anyway. They have "golden parachutes" that allow them to walk away with countless millions of dollars if their company is bought out. Even if they run their company into the ground, they manage to walk away with millions.

If we call for restraints on the obscene ways the super rich fill their pockets, the republicans have the nerve to accuse us of class warfare! That’s the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever heard anyone say in my whole life. And that is saying something!

The truth is more like this: They have already beaten us in battle. They have taken us prisoner and thrown us in jail. They have hog-tied us and deprived us of food. Then, when we look up and tell them they should free us and give us food, they say, "Oh, so you want to start a class war?"   Or worse....label us LAZY - the 47% who feel "entitled" and want nothing but a handout ripped from the pocket of our neighbors...

This is crazy talk.   The growing divide in our community makes me sick!   Class warfare??????   We need to wake up and realize the war is being waged against the middle class by the super wealthy.