Utah Sports Ruckus follow-up: Separate sports from school, Part 2

By Nate Gagon

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, April 10 2014 6:15 p.m. MDT

Kansas center Joel Embiid, right, smiles next to head basketball coach Bill Self while speaking with members of the media during a news conference on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Lawrence, Kan. Embiid announced his intention to enter the NBA basketball draft. (AP Photo/Lawrence Journal-World, Nick Krug) MAGAZINES OUT

Nick Krug, AP

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This issue deserves a follow-up column based on the feedback received and the timeliness of the subject in America.

Judging from the emails, tweets and comments the first column inspired, two things are certain:

1) As I assumed in the column, there would be a lot of resistance and upset people if the proposed plan was implemented

2) A lot of people agree with the plan, or at least with the idea that things need to change with our college athletics system

Many people made interesting, rational points in their feedback, while many others I believe either didn’t understand or didn’t fully think through the concepts of the column.

Concept 1: Playing sports has nothing to do with higher learning

Some people made the point that the academic and athletic cultures in our country are clearly mixed and so they reasoned my assertion that sports has nothing to do with higher learning was wrong or even “ridiculous.”

The fact that we, as a country, have forced the two subcultures together, however, does not mean that intrinsically playing sports has anything to do with higher learning. The two are not related by nature.

A comparable analogy is how we have combined the sex culture in America with sports. Sex (defined as “sexually motivated phenomena or behavior”) has nothing to do with playing sports, yet the two have been forced together by people and companies that profit thereby. If you want an example of this, visit SportsIllustrated.com for five minutes.

Yes, academics and sports have been forced together in America, just as sex and sports have been, but this does not mean these combinations are positive or that these subcultures are intrinsically related.

They’re not.

Concept 2: Our universities should not serve as minor league systems for our pro sports

Many people seemed to think the column was anti-sports or that it advocated getting rid of college sports in America. This was not the intent.

The sixth paragraph of the column stated: “Universities should be welcome to provide students with organized athletic opportunities, but they should be extracurricular, voluntary organizations for actual students or they should be self-funded programs.”

This leaves the door wide open for nearly unlimited athletic possibilities for college students and college sports fans.

The article states that there should be a separation of sports and school in America like there is a separation of church and state.

A separation of church and state doesn’t mean, however, that only one or the other can exist or that there can be no connection of the two whatsoever.

A government official can still go to church.

What it means is that churches will not administer or fund our government and our government will not administer or fund our churches.

Similarly, universities should not govern or fund athletics and athletics should not govern or fund our universities.

This doesn’t mean there can be no crossover or connections. For example, churches have provided important assistance to our government by way of humanitarian aid and by emphasizing certain concepts like obeying the law and the importance of the family unit.

Separation of church and state does not mean these organizations are enemies. The organizations of church and state can in fact be partners and work together in many ways.

It can be so with sports and school as well.

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