Throughout the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, there seemingly was more discussion about expanding the tournament in the future than who might actually win the thing this year. Should there be 96 teams, 101 teams? (No) Should it stay at 65? (Yes). There was, of course, less discussion about graduation rates and the ongoing challenges there. (admittedly, progress is being made).
The challenge we face in so much of society is the disconnect, okay, the hypocrisy, when it comes to promoting one idea – e.g. fairness in big-time college athletics, fiscal responsibility – and actual action – e.g. adding bowl games (really, we need another one?), giving football coaches $3-4 million contracts, and now, possibly adding 32 teams to the NCAA tournament. And no, it is not about giving these “kids” a chance to hear “One Shining Moment.” It’s purely and simply a money grab.
Thankfully there are those individuals who not only speak against such hypocrisy, but act against it. We came across an opinion piece by Stephen M. Jordan, president of Metropolitan State College of Denver. President Jordan provides a perspective we believe a majority of college presidents and certainly many academics, parents, and even student-athletes share about the important role of athletics (and other non-academic pursuits) in one’s college experience. Athletics are important. But they are not the only thing that defines one’s undergraduate experience. And considering the true mission of colleges and universities, it shouldn’t be.
So no, President Jordan’s voice is not a lonely one. It is, however, one that needs more support from other college presidents and some at NCAA headquarters. Hypocrisy in society won’t end. But hopefully it will be one thing that won’t expand.
To read President Jordan’s guest commentary in the Denver Post, please click here.