I was having deep discussions with my collaborator just yesterday about how to make changes in intercollegiate athletics that benefit both women and racial minorities. Football always seems like this monstrous blockade to potential solutions.
It's hard to simply say "nix football."
But someone has. The writer of Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger, has written a column for the Wall Street Journal saying that football serves no purpose in colleges and universities--causing more harm than good. He focuses mostly on the economic harms and the false promises football makes.
He doesn't even mention the physical harm to players, an issue that has become even more salient since Junior Seau's suicide last week.
Frank Deford does though in his weekly NPR piece. He notes that even as former NFL players pursue their class action suit against the league over safety issues, that the lower levels of the game should also be concerned. According to Deford, 5 million teens play youth or high school football and half of them have had concussions. A third of them have had multiples.
When do we, as a society, start engaging in a reasonable cost-benefit analysis regarding the role of football in our schools and as a favored mode of entertainment?