Now for some topic completely different

Quick.  Cheerleading.  A sport or not?

It depends on what your need for cheerleading.  If a school system is trying to match parity with male and female athletics and needs to use it as a crutch, yes.  If that’s at the expense of cutting a girls’ sports program in budgetary decisions, then from the point of view of the participants and advocates of the cut sport — no.  For the purpose of respect of the commitment and athleticism needed there, yes.

It’s all a mass of contradictions, definitions massaged to fit regulation.
Yes, I know the historical need for Title IX.  I have heard and read on the horror stories of Socialization to deflate any sense of competitiveness and facilitate gender roles — the weird and absurd variations of basketball in Girls’ Gym Class.  It did engender some pretty jagged edges in terms of opportunity.  I knew a college professor who nabbed a field hockey scholarship from a scrambling university right as Title IX came into effect — and, you know, she made good use of a somewhat contrived opportunity.

Decades out, I just have to wonder.

But then again, keeping a jaded eye on the news accounts of the Great College Conference Shake-up — I think we nearly had a PAC-50 conference? — on behest of the business of the only real large cash-flow in the college sports’ arena.  The quasi-professional world of college football.  Balanced this off with the budgetary woes of various state universities — what decisions university deans are making on behest of whom, and I don’t know who is serving who.

But again, I agree with something in the sentiments expressed by satiric Onion Noam Chomsky:

Chomsky, who often defines himself as a libertarian socialist, then changed the channel to ESPN, taking a moment to acknowledge the role of professional sports as a “weapon of mass distraction,” keeping the American people occupied with trivial competitions so they do not focus on opposing the status quo with grassroots movements against foreign and domestic policies that ultimately harm them.

“Stupid NBA playoffs,” Chomsky said. “At least it’s better than that NCAA March Madness crap. A university is supposed to be a center of learning that questions the state’s crafted messaging, not an entertainment factory.”

We may as well throw college football in particular out of its quasi-professional state, and let it stand on its business acumen as a business of Double AA and Triple AAA minor league football league.  Give the athletes compensation for their skills as the market will bear, and this will quit making a mockery of the phrase “student athlete” as well the sometimes equal mockery of fan bases largely composed of people who’ve never attending college or that college particular.

Test run that one before deciding how to approach anything else.  In this first adjustment, we will have a different dynamic in place for the men who rave against cutting, say, a wrestling program and take their spite out on a  womens’ sport kept.

Leave a Reply