Saturday, November 26, 2011

Possible Summer Reading for Rioting Penn State Students?

These studious folks could warm up with Katha Pollitt's recent column, in which she politely suggests that Penn State Officials "Cancel the season. Fire everybody involved in the child abuse scandal," and then goes a step further:
Maybe cancel college football too. In no other country’s university system, after all, does sports play anything like the central role it does in American academic life. Men do not go to Oxford to play cricket; the Sorbonne does not field a nationally celebrated soccer team. Even in the most sports-mad countries, sports is sports and education is education. That’s a better system. 
...and then perhaps they could spend some time perusing Taylor Branch's widely publicized piece for The Atlantic, which includes the following anecdote involving a former Penn State president:
"I'm not hiding,"  Sonny Vaccaro told a closed hearing at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2001. “We want to put our materials on the bodies of your athletes, and the best way to do that is buy your school. Or buy your coach.” ... [S]ince signing his pioneering shoe contract with Michael Jordan in 1984, [Vaccaro] had built sponsorship empires successively at Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. ...
 “Why,” asked Bryce Jordan, the president emeritus of Penn State, “should a university be an advertising medium for your industry?”
Vaccaro did not blink. “They shouldn’t, sir,” he replied. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it.”
...and finally they could dip into Murray Sperber's Beer and Circus.

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