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Equal opportunity for what ?

February 20th, 2004

In the middle of yet another scandal about American college sports, the NYT chooses to run an editorial calling for cheerleading to be recognised as a competitive sport (It is implied, though not clearly stated, that this sport would be open only to women).

I prefer watching cheerleading to watching American football and I have no problem with claims about its athleticism and so on. And I’ll concede Allen’s arguments that injuries might be reduced if the activity were run on a more professional basis (of course she doesn’t use the dreaded word ‘professional’, anathema to the NCAA).

Nevertheless, this seems to me to be a case where unsound premises have been pushed to their logical conclusions, with predictably bizarre results. The basic problem is the mixture of higher education and professional sport, which makes about us much sense as if high school cafeterias doubled as French restaurants.

Isn’t there even one university president prepared to take up the banner of Robert Maynard Hutchins and get universities out of the entertainment industry?

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  1. February 21st, 2004 at 00:17 | #1

    Well, why not? They have sync. swimming in the Olympics, after all.

  2. observa
    February 21st, 2004 at 19:32 | #2

    Now putting to one side the growing obesity problem, I thought Prof Q would be in favour of a well rounded education. All nerd and no play, make Einstein a dull boy.

    And talk about casting aspersions on jocks. The young lady who presumed she was raped, was so drunk according to her, she only ‘thought’ she was with a couple of football players. I wonder if the police dropped everything they were doing upon hearing that statement and whether the jocks’ association sued her for defamation?

  3. February 24th, 2004 at 18:42 | #3

    Competitive cheerleading is performed by boys AND girls. The girls aren’t strong enough to throw each other up in the air. Haven’t you seen “Bring It On”?!?!

    Best movie ever!

  4. John Quiggin
    February 24th, 2004 at 18:49 | #4

    Observa, the problem with your argument is that, in the US system, some students get the education while others play the sport. As far as I can determine, the proportion of students actually involved in sport is lower than in Australia. This is true in spades at the High School level. In a lot of Australian schools, participation in some sporting team or other is just about compulsory. In the US, only elite athletes need apply.

    Yobbo, I think you’re right, but if you read the article you’ll see that it refers exclusively to girls. I get the impression that the NCAA rules, combined with Title XI would give colleges a strong incentive to keep boys off the team.

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