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Author Topic: Title IX, 42 years later
Lloyd Perna
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How a good law went terribly wrong

In 1972 Title IX was needed to give Women equal access to education and it has been very successful at that. Women now outnumber men in the vast majority of colleges and universities by something like 57% to 43%.

quote:
Title IX applies to all areas of education but is best known for its influence on sports. Women’s athletics have flourished in recent decades, and Title IX deserves some of the cheers. But something went wrong in the law’s implementation. The original law was about equality of opportunity and indeed forbade quotas or reverse discrimination schemes. But over the years, government officials, college administrators and jurists — spurred on by groups like the National Women’s Law Center and the Women’s Sports Foundation — transformed a fair-minded equity law into just such a quota-driven regime, with destructive results.
I've got two college age girls and a middle school boy, all of them very athletic so this issue is close to my heart. My girls are competitive cheerleaders and my son is a wrestler.

The NCAA has refused to consider Competitive Cheer a sport even though anyone who has watched would tell you the levels of athleticism, strength and agility required would rival any of the existing sports. Doing so would go along way towards helping schools stay in compliance with Title IX.

The problem with these quotas is that they do not address the interests of the students. Even though female athletes have many opportunities today, schools are struggling to fill rosters. Even to the extent that they are padding them with men who never play and sometimes listing students who don't even know they are on the roster.

So instead of my Daughters having the opportunity to compete in a NCAA sport with all the benefits that come with it such as the availability of scholarships. They are relegated to club status and get no financial support from the school at all.

On the other end of the spectrum. In order to meet these quotas, Non-Revenue producing Men's sports are being dropped all over the place. Since 1972 over 475 Wrestling programs have been dropped. Most recently Boston University. In Massachusetts where I live the only remaining Division I Wrestling program is at Harvard. Gymnastics has it even worse with only 15 college programs remaining at all levels.

For my Son, if he wants to Wrestle in Division I he will be competing against roughly 275,000 high school athletes for a place on one of 72 remaining programs.

It's time for another look at this law. How can we keep what's good about it and fix whats bad?

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TomDavidson
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Basically, we should do away with school sports. They're ridiculous.
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Lloyd Perna
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Why are sports less valuable to you than other topics taught in school such as music and art? Don't they offer valuable life lessons and skills?
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Lloyd Perna:
The NCAA has refused to consider Competitive Cheer a sport even though anyone who has watched would tell you the levels of athleticism, strength and agility required would rival any of the existing sports. Doing so would go along way towards helping schools stay in compliance with Title IX.

Lloyd, I think the long time fear on this has been that by declaring Cheerleading a sport, you divert a large amount of resources towards something that in its origins in an ornamental pursuit for women. I'm not saying its not competetive and challenging but it has a long history that isn't exactly consistent with Title IX's goals.
quote:
On the other end of the spectrum. In order to meet these quotas, Non-Revenue producing Men's sports are being dropped all over the place.
This is the problem all around. If they'd just exempted football from the calculation it would have been fairer to everyone else. It's odd that an act designed to provide opportunity to women was interpretted to remove opportunity from men.
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Lloyd Perna
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I agree that exempting football would be a great start. Unfortunately there is huge opposition to this from the feminist groups.
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stilesbn
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Perhaps a compromise where a football player only counts as 1/2 towards the numbers? Of course the minute I thought of that I thought of history where slave/black votes were counted as half (or 3/4?).

It's not really the same but just the idea would probably cause some knee jerk reactions.

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Lloyd Perna
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The Lobbyists that are supporting the status quo would tell you that football and basketball are the problem.

According to the National Women's Law Center
quote:

Women continue to receive fewer opportunities and resources than men in athletics, and many schools devote disproportionate resources to men’s football and basketball. While these sports are often described as “revenue sports,” the NCAA reports that the majority of them fail to pay for themselves, much less other teams. Rather than dipping into bloated football and men’s basketball budgets, schools choose to cut sports and blame Title IX. But the law does not require or encourage schools to cut men’s teams, and women still receive only about one-third of the total athletic expenditures.


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Lloyd Perna
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The underlying mistake in the law is that other than the proportionality test the other ways to comply are too vague to prove you are in compliance if you get sued. So the schools choose to go with the proportionality.

Yet. If we are so concerned as a society about proportionality why aren't we making a fuss about the fact that colleges are admitting so many more women than men in the first place?

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Seriati
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Operating at a loss is not the same a not being a revenue sport. What would be the end result, for instance, of ending all althletic scholarships and letting the student athletes keep half the gate and concession profits from their events?

Well first, if cheerleaders were considered athletes they'd be barred from cheering at team athlethic events to prevent them from getting a share. But second, you'd see the "revenue" sport participants make a lot more than others, more than their tuition at big schools. Track team members? Be lucky if they got anything after expenses come out.

The mistake in the law was presuming that there would be a natural state of equality. I grant they had a state where there was active discrimination influencing the break down, but that's not an excuse to "predict" that anything other than equality in participation means there is still a problem. That assumes that all differences are nothing but societal baggage, which is a political not a scientific thesis. Equity, not equality should have been the goal.

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Lloyd Perna
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The revenue producing Athlete side of things is changing. There was a recent legal victory by the Northwestern University Football team to unionize. It's still in appeals and seems likely to get to the Supreme Court.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Why are sports less valuable to you than other topics taught in school such as music and art? Don't they offer valuable life lessons and skills?
Not particularly, no, they don't. While discipline and teamwork are useful things to pick up, sports aren't the only way to pass on those lessons -- and the method by which team sports are currently disseminated in schools actively inhibits some of those lessons, IMO.

That's not to say that sports aren't a valuable pursuit for people who enjoy them. But they're not educational or of high enough social value to be promoted over things like art classes or band.

[ July 21, 2014, 02:21 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Lloyd Perna
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It's been shown that sports have a positive effect on helping students stay engaged in school as well as employment opportunities post-graduation.

In addition to discipline and teamwork which you mentioned. What about the obvious physical fitness benefits? Leadership skills, Self Confidence, Accountability, Competitiveness are all lessons available in sports.

I know in my life, the lessons I learned in sports have helped me far more than those I learned in music or art class.

What does art or band teach you about life?

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Seriati
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Lloyd you have a partial point, but can you explain exactly the health benefits of a 15 person basketball team to a univeristy with 40,000 students? You could get a far bigger health benefit by creating a massive intermural league.

I thought about staking out the position Tom is taking, do away with them entirely, but I think that's too extreme. I think the only real benefits to a University from sports programs are in esprit de corp and alumni involvment. Both of which are important to the overall mission, and hard to replcate with non-sports activities.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I know in my life, the lessons I learned in sports have helped me far more than those I learned in music or art class.
I honestly think that this belief is one of the biggest dangers of competitive sports. It produces a lot of ******** who genuinely believe this. And that's fine, but schools pay money hand over fist to pass that "lesson" on to kids.

quote:
Leadership skills, Self Confidence, Accountability, Competitiveness are all lessons available in sports.
As are submissiveness, self-hatred, superstition, and competitiveness. Which, again, is fine, since I suspect the former positive traits are learned more commonly than the latter, but coaches and gym leaders are notoriously not the best teachers in most schools -- so there's really no quality control. Or, worse, the quality control generally applied is a measure of the win/lose metric. Which certainly teaches a lesson.
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Lloyd Perna
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quote:
Originally posted by Seriati:
Lloyd you have a partial point, but can you explain exactly the health benefits of a 15 person basketball team to a univeristy with 40,000 students? You could get a far bigger health benefit by creating a massive intermural league.

Those Intramural sports exist at virtually all Colleges and Universities in the US. And they are well utilized (More so by men than women though)

The Varsity athletics are there for those individuals who want to compete at an elite level.

quote:


I thought about staking out the position Tom is taking, do away with them entirely, but I think that's too extreme. I think the only real benefits to a University from sports programs are in esprit de corp and alumni involvment. Both of which are important to the overall mission, and hard to replcate with non-sports activities.

Lets not forget the almighty dollar. Sports is a big recruiting tool and by far the largest reason Alumni make donations.
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Lloyd Perna
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I know in my life, the lessons I learned in sports have helped me far more than those I learned in music or art class.
I honestly think that this belief is one of the biggest dangers of competitive sports. It produces a lot of ******** who genuinely believe this. And that's fine, but schools pay money hand over fist to pass that "lesson" on to kids.

quote:
Leadership skills, Self Confidence, Accountability, Competitiveness are all lessons available in sports.
As are submissiveness, self-hatred, superstition, and competitiveness. Which, again, is fine, since I suspect the former positive traits are learned more commonly than the latter, but coaches and gym leaders are notoriously not the best teachers in most schools -- so there's really no quality control. Or, worse, the quality control generally applied is a measure of the win/lose metric. Which certainly teaches a lesson.

There is no more quality control for the teachers any other subject than there is for PE. A bad teacher is a bad teacher.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by Lloyd Perna:
Those Intramural sports exist at virtually all Colleges and Universities in the US. And they are well utilized (More so by men than women though)

Agreed, but these are not scholarship activities, nor really addressed by Title IX.
quote:
The Varsity athletics are there for those individuals who want to compete at an elite level.
But that as a "mission" of a University is questionable. And it's certainly not justifiable on the life lessons ground when the cost per participant is so high.
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scifibum
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Lloyd, I think if schools want to teach sports, that's fine and has the benefits you mentioned. I'd like to see plenty of physical education at universities.

I think the competitive leagues, branding, player exploitation, money interests, and exclusivity of what we think of as "college sports" have too many downsides, though.

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LetterRip
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I would require school funding to the the same after revenue from the sport is taken into account.

So sports with large amounts of ticket sales, that get advertising money, etc. that would be subtracted from the base.

So If football gives 10 million in scholarships, 5 million in equipment, and costs 1 million for the coach then brings in 20 million in revenues, and 10 million in donations. Then those scholarships don't count.

However if it is bringing in only 12 million and not getting any donations, then it would be 4 million that would need to be matched for other programs.

So no exemption for a particular sport, just the parts that aren't 'self funding' need to be matched.

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Lloyd Perna
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It's not learning how to play a sport that instills these lessons. It's the act of playing the sport itself. You do not learn teamwork practicing your skills, you learn it in the heat of competition. You don't gain self confidence by drilling take downs against an non-resisting opponent. It comes from performing that skill when it counts, in competition.

Varsity athletics are a big reason kids favor one school over another. It's part of campus life. The reason schools invest in it is so they can recruit more students which makes them more money. And money, as much as anyone wants to think otherwise, is the mission of these schools.

All of that aside. My kids want to play sports in college. So I want them to be able to. And, I want them to have the same opportunities be they male or female.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Varsity athletics are a big reason kids favor one school over another. It's part of campus life.
So is underage drinking.
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Seneca
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I agree with you Lloyd and you have some good points, however, this thread has been quite illuminating in a way I would have never guessed. It seems not everyone had a positive experience in sports, and as much as positive experiences in it shape people in the attributes you mentioned, it's now clear that negative experiences are equally formative in many of the opposites of each of those attributes as well.

I am starting to understand the context behind certain viewpoints here.

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scifibum
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Wow, Seneca. [LOL] [Roll Eyes]
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TomDavidson
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For reference: I played football in high school, threw shotput and javelin, and was a state wrestling champion who wrestled at the Pan-Am Games when they were in Indianapolis. I attended a college where these things were not particularly valued, but continued to wrestle at a collegiate level until I eventually dropped out.

I have never been a model of physical perfection, mind, but I did okay at sports -- especially considering that I'd skipped three grades and was consequently younger than my peers. The only one I really sucked at (that I tried; I was self-aware enough to avoid things like tennis and gymnastics) was baseball; for some reason, I could never make the physical/mental connection between where I perceived the ball and where it actually was, meaning that I hit maybe once out of every thirty pitches.

I object to school funding of sports because they're frequently empty distractions that are too often allowed to teach the wrong lessons to students because metrics for successful physical education are largely indeterminate and not necessarily focused on producing positive long-term results. In an era in which almost all extracurriculars are being stripped from schools, sports -- being among the most expensive, most space-consuming, and lowest in direct participation -- should be first on the chopping block.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Lloyd Perna:
It's been shown that sports have a positive effect on helping students stay engaged in school as well as employment opportunities post-graduation.

In addition to discipline and teamwork which you mentioned. What about the obvious physical fitness benefits? Leadership skills, Self Confidence, Accountability, Competitiveness are all lessons available in sports.

I know in my life, the lessons I learned in sports have helped me far more than those I learned in music or art class.

What does art or band teach you about life?

I couldn't tell you about art, but everything on your list other than physical fitness is covered in band (and that is covered if you include marching band). In addition, band adds elements of history, humanity, and the individual's place in those things (which are sorely lacking in school sports).
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scifibum
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Not that Seneca actually earned a serious response, but for what it's worth I also enjoyed sports in high school, and continued to play basketball into my mid-20s. I don't play any more, but this theory of Seneca's is as wrong as it is offensive.
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Lloyd Perna
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I agree that Art and Band have intrinsic value. I was responding to Tom's suggestion that Sports don't.

I would argue though that Sports have just as much history, humanity and the individual's place in them as Band does.

Anyway, I'm done discussing the realtive merits of sports. Anybody want to talk about Title IX?

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scifibum
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LR's proposal to weigh revenues against the scholarships seems sane.
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msquared
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Any one who has watched Drum Corps march and practice knows what level of team work, trust and hard work can go into band type activities. At my sons high school the football players commented that the band kids were at the school when the football players showed up and were still there when the football players went home.

My son played Contra (tuba) for a drum corp and could run circles around most football players, with a 35lb tuba on his shoulder, while still playing in tune.

msquared

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philnotfil
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The simple and easy answer is to exempt football. But that isn't going to happen.

The more correct answer is to exempt revenue producing sports. Unfortunately this allows schools to play games with numbers to get whatever result they are aiming for.

What would be really great would be if schools could start using the third part of the test for compliance with Title IX, that schools are fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of their students. I remember a lawsuit a while back (maybe ten years ago) where a school had been doing regular surveys of the student body, and tried to present the balance between male and female responses as evidence that they were Title IX compliant. The courts shot it down, which is a shame, because that would probably be the most sensible way of handling it.

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Seneca
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Regarding title IX the simple answer is that all laws creating protected classes are unconstitutional and should be struck down.
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Lloyd Perna
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The problem is the scholarships are only a small part of the problem.

Men's programs are disappearing because the schools must proportionally allocate roster spots by gender.

If a schools enrollment is 60% Female 40% Male then the available roster spots over all varsity sports must meet that proportion or be subject to a law suit.

While at the same time, the schools struggle to find Women to fill those roster spots because there aren't enough of them interested.

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NobleHunter
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Struck down, Seneca? Struck down by whom?
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Seneca
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Nominally a state amendment convention.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Wow, Seneca. [LOL] [Roll Eyes]

I'm inclined to agree with Seneca, but noticed the difference of views long ago on a thread Phil started concerning collegiate football.

I learned a great deal from the athletics I was involved in. I ran cross country in high school. While it may not have "taught" me persevence and endurance, it certainly strengthened those aspects of my character.

In college I was involved in ROTC "paramilitary" competition and athletics in team structures. From this I learned teamwork, followership, dedication, leadership, competition, and fraternity.

General fitness and athletics strengthened my character. I would always recommend being a part of athletics and always prefer individuals who understand and took good things from it.

I understand the idea behind collegiate athletics looming larger then academics. Collegiate football is one of those aspects that have seemingly grown larger then it's overall worth. Nevertheless, I see good things that come from these overblown sports. They bring the student body together. They enhance the community. At such a level I imagine they teach even more lessons to the athletes involved in them. Some of them don't always learn those lessons, but I believe most do.

As long as the sport in question is bringing in more money then it costs, I don't see a huge problem with these larger then life aspects of it. The smaller, non-overblown sports are probably bigger drains on the academic budget then collegiate football or basketball. Yet I still believe that athletics teach things that are just as important then things that can be learned in a classroom.

I respect the opinion of people who don't believe that athletics have anything to teach youth. But I can't understand the indignation that comes when it is pointed out that their opinion sets them apart. I look the same way upon people who tell me they learned nothing from military service, or community service, or from any learning experience for that matter, including this forum.

It appears to me, and appears to others who DID take value from these things, that the problem was not within the sport or experience itself, but within the person experiencing it. This, again, is a matter of character. I understand that someone may be insulted by insinuations against their character, but the reverse is undeniably true as well. You're welcome to say that all those people who learn things from athletics, and believe you can learn things from athletics, are stupid or delusional. But it would seem to put you in a small minority of individuals in history, and certainly not among most individuals who are seen to possess great character.

The greek idea of virtue was Arete, which is actually better translated as "excellence". It was a concept of fullfilling potential, or of being "all you can be" if I could borrow an old line from the green machine. That meant being all you can be physically, as well as mentally.

Plato, in Book III of The Republic lays out physical education and athletics as an important part of the complete education of the higher orders of citizens (though he does seem to want to limit athletics to "paramilitary" athletics. Then again, he never went to an LSU v Alabama football game). He also always advises balance and harmony. A sound mind in a sound body. Thus he also emphasizes music in education.

"Studies" seem to show that athletes, as a whole, are more successful or more prepared for the real world then non-athletes.
As usual, I am always highly skeptical of studies, but they seem to be backed up by my own experience.

The people I know who didn't play sports in high school were actually doing a whole lot more alcohol and drug use then the athletes. Then again, the athletes were constantly being accused of steriod useage. The people I know who didn't play sports in college were generally less sucessful in the real world after graduation, unless they were in a very specific field of work that generally drew mostly non-athletes.

Altogether it seems to me that there is more evidence that athletics teaches things that are important then the reverse.

[ July 21, 2014, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It appears to me, and appears to others who DID take value from these things, that the problem was not within the sport or experience itself, but within the person experiencing it.
Would this be as true of calculus or grammar class? Or are sports not really classes, and as such not dependent upon being taught?
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Would this be as true of calculus or grammar class? Or are sports not really classes, and as such not dependent upon being taught?

It depends on what is being taught [Smile]

Knowlege can obviously be taught. Can values and character be taught as well? Plato discusses this in Meno. Aristotle laid out in Nicomachean Ethics that character and virtues were taught by habit, rather then by simple learning. You develop character and virtue by doing things that develop character and virtue.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Can values and character be taught as well?
I have no doubt that they can. So the question becomes: is the primary purpose of publicly-funded sports to teach these values? Is it to encourage athletic health? At a collegiate level, are enough people reached by this funding for it to be worthwhile? At a secondary school level, are enough people effectively taught these values for it to be worthwhile? And how do we know?

People are constantly carping about not having good enough metrics to measure the quality of education, and not having good enough teachers to ensure that all students benefit to a minimum standard. Nowhere is this more true than in a P.E. classroom.

For my part, I have no doubt that some of the perceived benefit of sports in higher education also has to do with the networking effect; if you played football with a guy whose dad knows somebody who's hiring, or if you regularly golfed with someone who eventually went on to found a company, you've got a bond that you probably don't have with someone who happened to be on the same chess team -- unless, as you point out, everyone involved is nerds, in which case those bonds come out of shared nerdery. Most of the other benefits can be ascribed to the virtues of physical fitness and team-building exercises; studies don't show many long-term benefits for people on their school bowling or archery teams, even though they're presumably also learning about competitiveness.

(Of course, I'm deeply suspicious of the negative social effects of indoctrinating people through team-building exercises designed to teach the importance of zero-sum "victories," so I'm not sure that even all the individual positives here are virtues in the aggregate.)

[ July 21, 2014, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
At a collegiate level, are enough people reached by this funding for it to be worthwhile? At a secondary school level, are enough people effectively taught these values for it to be worthwhile? And how do we know?

I'm not sure what exactly is "enough", or what "enough" has to do with the problem. If atheletics are teaching values then the value of athletics is sound. If you are asking if the money spent on the rowing team could be better spent on teacher's salaries or a new computer lab, then you need to weigh the value of each. But the point of the idea of a sound mind in a sound body is that you are not negating one for the benefit of the other. Each has value, and should not be eliminated in preference for another.

quote:
For my part, I have no doubt that some of the perceived benefit of sports in higher education also has to do with the networking effect
Friendship is not limited to athletics. Nerds can form just as strong networks by playing Dungeons and Dragons, or being part of some student activist organization, being on the chess team, or being in a fraternity or sorority. It also seems to me that these social networks, athletic or not, better benefit the lower class then the middle and upper classes.

quote:
(Of course, I'm deeply suspicious of the negative social effects of indoctrinating people through team-building exercises designed to teach the importance of zero-sum "victories," so I'm not sure that even all the individual positives here are virtues in the aggregate.)
Oh boy. I guess that's why jocks are a-holes, right?
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Seneca
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When people are pushed to the limit of physical endurance and pair that with teamwork it changes them and imparts benefits that can't be gained any other way.
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