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Colleges Should Not Be Minor Leagues for Pros

November 12, 1988

In his Nov. 7 column, Scott Ostler makes a comparison between the penalty applied to the University of Kansas for recruiting violations and that imposed on the Dodgers in the Jay Howell incident.

It's a comparison between a nonprofit institution of higher learning and a professional sports franchise. Both were caught cheating and both involve athletes, but there the comparison ends.

The function of the first is to promote knowledge, the function of the second is to promote a profit for its owner.

It is a sad commentary on the university system in this country when it is viewed by many as a minor league for the NFL and the NBA.

Ostler decries the hypocrisy of big-time college athletics and recommends that college athletes be paid for their participation in sports. Far better that colleges admit students only and permit only student-athletes to participate.

My alma mater, Cornell, fields varsity teams in 19 men's sports and 15 women's sports. It does not grant one single athletic scholarship. All members of those teams are students first, athletes second. Almost all graduate, a few go on to careers in the pros, many go on to graduate schools. They benefit, the university benefits, the nation benefits.



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