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Weekend Ponderance

Much hand wringing has been done in the past century about the “professionalization” of athletics on college campuses, how athletics is corrupting the academic mission of higher education and so forth. Indeed, many more programs compete in college athletics today than in the past and schools are still regularly making the jump to Division I status.

Ponder this: how many of the schools in the Division III level are public universities? how much of the jumping up to Division I has come from schools in the public sector? Why/how have the private schools largely been able to “opt” out of this “harmful arms race?” What does it tell us about the overwhelming support that State U gets for its athletic programs at the same time the same citizens are complaining about access to higher education? Is the DIII phenomenon almost exclusively private because economies of scale prevent these schools from having big time sports? Why are some private DIII schools considering creating a new Division IV, which would place even less emphasis on athletics and more on academics. Is there NO reason why there are differences between the government schools and private schools here?

Inquiring minds want to know.

3 Responses to “Weekend Ponderance”

  1. Harry says:

    Division III…as in Amherst, Trinity, The Lord Jeff’s versus the Bantams? The Trinity College marching band walking down hill away from home? The Amherst marching band with the glockenspiel artist?

    My uncles went to Penn State when it was a college. One went there before the Great Depression (not during 2006-2008), and the other two, class of ’34 and ’36.

    It would take a whole generation before big time football would become a fascination for Penn State graduates, who had endured not just the depression but the Second World War. Before they went to college, they learned everything they could in school, and going to college was a further link to survival. I have my uncle Harry’s calculus book in my library, and I am sure he studied it carefully. It is unmarked, but the spine is stretched, perhaps by other uncles. But I digress.

    On the other hand, my wife’s God son went to Florida State. His parents wisely advised him to get an accounting degree, and he is presently employed by a big accounting firm and off his parent’s payroll. This is a happier outcome than if he had enrolled at Wesleyan, majored in nude puppetry, and now might be an organizer for OWS and Mike Bloomberg’s food taster.

    Division III is my bet. Without the Amherst football program, we would not have Doctor Wintercow.

  2. chuck martel says:

    I asked a DIII hockey coach how the school could afford to have a hockey program, since it's kind of an expensive sport.  His response was that "I didn't get it."  The hockey arena itself was a gift from an alumnus, the reasoning behind offering the sport was that it attracted 30 or so young men that wouldn't be going there if they couldn't play hockey.  This is true about other programs as well, theater arts, cinema, music, etc. attract students that wouldn't be paying tuition there if those fields weren't offered.

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