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NCAA crackdown shouldn't stop at Penn State: BCS uses students like gladiators

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Revenues and power in big-time college football have expanded dramatically since Mr. Gee’s warning. By recently adding two games and a “national championship” in big-time college football, the BCS and its members will likely generate an additional $300-500 million in revenue, furthering solidifying its power.

The operations of the BCS, like those of Penn State’s football program are shrouded in secrecy – the antithesis of trust and the mother of cover-ups. The BCS, which has displaced the NCAA in running big-time football, shares Penn State’s disregard for those adversely impacted by their decisions.

A few facts evidence how sobering this disregard for student welfare has become. Many football players will leave college lame or with latent injuries.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is credited with having discovered the first case of dementia related to football, has cautioned that, “The concept of permanent brain damage and dementia following repeated blows to the head is a very well established and generally accepted principle in medicine.”

Unfortunately, this accepted medical principle and the warning inherent in it has gone unheeded in the world of big-time football. Annually, one out of ten college football players suffers a serious concussion, with hundreds of others suffering major brain trauma or debilitating injuries during their collegiate careers.

The insatiable drive for revenues and glory has resulted in an expansion of the number of games, practices, and injuries suffered by so called student-athletes. The BCS and its member institutions effectively reject Article 3.3 of the NCAA’s Operating Principles – Student-Athlete Well-Being. The article mandates that, “intercollegiate athletics programs be conducted in a manner to protect and enhance the physical and educational well-being of student athletes.”

What other than injuries do student-athletes receive for their efforts? Many receive little more than a moment of gladiatorial glory. A few sign professional contracts.

Colleges insist that players are paid with an education, an asset of great value. But graduation is often illusory, and academic values are regularly ignored in the drive to increase revenue and solidify institutional power.

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