This Wall Street Journal piece by Buzz Bissinger is guaranteed to stir up controversy:
In more than 20 years I’ve spent studying the issue, I have yet to hear a convincing argument that college football has anything do with what is presumably the primary purpose of higher education: academics.
That’s because college football has no academic purpose. Which is why it needs to be banned. A radical solution, yes. But necessary in today’s times.
[. . .]
Who truly benefits from college football? Alumni who absurdly judge the quality of their alma mater based on the quality of the football team. Coaches such as Nick Saban of the University of Alabama and Bob Stoops of the University of Oklahoma who make obscene millions. The players themselves don’t benefit, exploited by a system in which they don’t receive a dime of compensation. The average student doesn’t benefit, particularly when football programs remain sacrosanct while tuition costs show no signs of abating as many governors are slashing budgets to the bone.
If the vast majority of major college football programs made money, the argument to ban football might be a more precarious one. But too many of them don’t—to the detriment of academic budgets at all too many schools. According to the NCAA, 43% of the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision lost money on their programs.
The other big beneficiaries of the college football system is, of course, the NFL. Unlike baseball or NHL teams, it doesn’t have to maintain a “farm team” league or leagues to provide training and play opportunities for would-be professional football players. This burden, instead, is carried by the taxpayer as part of their share of higher education.