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  1. #1

    Question Duke Basketball and Money

    I'm a senior at the University of Georgia and I'm taking a class called "Sociology of Sports." What the class has amounted to is really nothing more than the teacher rambling on about the negatives of college and professional sports and how it is harmful to society.

    In an article that was assigned as a class reading, the author talked about the problems with big time athletic programs at high profile institutions. For a portion or the article, he focused a great deal on Coach K and the basketball team at Duke. He talked about how there is more money spent by the university on the basketball team than there is for almost the entire remaining student body. He mentioned scholarships money, facilities, travel expenses, etc. Also, the author wrote about how college athletes are capitalized on by coaches and endorsers and that too much emphasis is taken off of the student part of being a student athlete. The author mentioned the endorsement deals that Coach K has received because of his success at Duke, and made the players just sound like his tools. I found the article ridiculous because it makes Coach K sound like someone who could care less about his players and developing them as individuals, and there is nothing farther from the truth.

    However, although I consider it baseless and untrue, it is an article that is being required in an upper level course at a major university. I respect the people who post on this board as being much more knowledgeable than me about college sports, especially Duke Basketball, and was wondering how you all would respond to critcisms of the Duke Basketball Program and if you feel like our athletes, or college athletes in general, are taken advantage of or not recognized enough as students?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Summit County, Colo.
    I would turn in a paper analyzing Jim Harrick's career at UGa, and be prepared to receive a failing grade. Then when I got an F I'd escalate it to the department head...someone higher up would have to understand the irony of a guy bashing Duke at a school whose own track record at prioritizing academics over sports isn't quite pristine, right?

  3. #3
    Just curious, is the article available for public consumption so that we could get a better look at it?

    I'm probably being petty in another thread.

  4. #4
    I don't know if it's available. I had to buy it in my course packet for the class. "The Contradictions of Big-Time college sports" is the title. Also, in response to writing about the UGA Athletic Department, I think the teacher would fully agree in criticizing them. My teacher does not attend university sports events and often criticizes the athletic department here because of scheduling issues with courses and poor academic performance from athletes.

    I have no proof to this but I personally think my teacher wanted to be a college athlete and wasn't good enough to make it. Now, he devotes his life research to showing how screwed up sports is since he wasn't good enough.
    Last edited by ugadevil; 11-07-2007 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Additional info

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Washington, DC area
    Quote Originally Posted by ugadevil View Post
    I don't know if it's available. I had to buy it in my course packet for the class. "The Contradictions of Big-Time college sports" is the title.
    Perhaps you could fully cite the article and maybe someone else can find it.

    -jk

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by HaveFunExpectToWin View Post
    I only read the opening of this article. The rest of it isn't shown by Google Books unfortunately.

    To someone with access to a library, the article is in the book Fair And Foul: Beyond the Myths And Paradoxes of Sport by D. Stanley Eitzen on page 135

  8. #8
    Hmmm, now the real dilemma, do you have a George C. Scott as General George S. Patton moment as you refute the claims made? "I read your book!" Or do you just ignore it and focus on other things?

    I'm probably being petty in another thread.

  9. #9
    Not that I'm anything special, but one of the primary reasons that Duke was by far my number one undergrad choice was because of Coach K and the basketball program. After 3 plus years here, I truly believe that that was an extremely valid criterion in my college search.

    I sometimes imagine how monotonous college would be without constantly looking forward to and attending basketball games and socializing with fellow students who feel the same way. Honestly, if I wasn't a Cameron Crazie I think I'd go insane. Duke Basketball has kept me happy and motivated throughout my time here. I also know I'm not alone with these feelings.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that basketball really does attract some really bright and motivated students to Duke who otherwise would have opted for the traditional cookie cutter institutions of higher learning. It also also keeps many of us upbeat and unifies us as an institution. Hopefully your professor hasn't overlooked these integral factors.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ugadevil View Post
    For a portion or the article, he focused a great deal on Coach K and the basketball team at Duke. He talked about how there is more money spent by the university on the basketball team than there is for almost the entire remaining student body. He mentioned scholarships money, facilities, travel expenses, etc.
    As I understand it, the purpose of the Legacy fund is to endow the Duke Men's Basketball program, thus making it financially independent of the university. K has already convinced over 20 donors to give >1,000,000 dollars to the Legacy fund, so I don't believe you can criticize him for leeching funds from the University to the detriment of the student body.

    Duke's situation is far from Ohio State's in the linked book. It was widely rumored that contingent upon K rejecting the Lakers in 04 was Duke committing to build the new practice facility. However, the capital expenditures on Duke athletics over the past 10 years has been dwarfed by the capital expenditures on new research laboratories/dorms/additions to fuqua&law.

    I'd say Duke and K have set an example of how a university should allocate resources to its athletic teams.

  11. #11
    As for the not recognized enough as students comment, I think Duke in particular does a really good job of integrating its athletes into the classroom. Especially here, there are only a certain amount of gimmie classes, most student-athletes will have to really put in a commitment to academics if they want a degree (and thankfully the overwhelming majority of them do leave with one).

    Quick aside about Duke athletes and academics. My first semester here I took a first-year subatomic physics seminar taught by one of the pioneers of particle physics. One of my classmates was Dave McClure who was just as interested as anyone else in the class in the topic and contributed plenty. Coach K really does recruit some well rounded people. Duke Basketball players, although sometimes stuck in a fishbowl, definitely have a lot great resources if they are interested in using them.

  12. #12
    One thing that nobody's mentioned: Although this is not true for big-time sports in general, it is my understanding that Duke basketball makes more money for the university than it loses. If this really is true, it seems silly to bash the university for investing a lot of money in it if it is getting even more back.

  13. #13
    His point of attack, that schools like Ohio State spend too much money on football and Duke too much money on basketball, when those funds could be better spent on academic pursuits, is grossly misleading -- those programs are net revenue generators, creating revenue that would not otherwise exist and available to subsidize the non-"big time college sports" this professor claims to love or to spend it on whatever the university wishes. Further, the existence of prominent sports programs serves as a focal point for alumni loyalty and good-feeling about the school and undoubtedly has a positive effect on alumni giving. So this is essentially a dishonest argument the professor is making about "big time college sports" sucking up funds that could otherwise go towards building new libraries, etc. There are certainly grounds to criticize the way big-time sports is run at major universities, but his particular argument is wrong.

    I wonder whether his first statement, "I love sports," is also dishonest, and whether he is simply in the same general class of far-left ideologues such as those at Duke who in the initial stages of the lacrosse scandal tried to use the event to attack college sports in general at Duke, and which we seem to have so many of these days in our faculty.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by LetItBD08 View Post
    Quick aside about Duke athletes and academics. My first semester here I took a first-year subatomic physics seminar taught by one of the pioneers of particle physics. One of my classmates was Dave McClure who was just as interested as anyone else in the class in the topic and contributed plenty.
    This is probably the greatest class offered at Duke. Or anywhere. Ever.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ashburn, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by OldSchool View Post
    His point of attack, that schools like Ohio State spend too much money on football and Duke too much money on basketball, when those funds could be better spent on academic pursuits, is grossly misleading -- those programs are net revenue generators, creating revenue that would not otherwise exist and available to subsidize the non-"big time college sports" this professor claims to love or to spend it on whatever the university wishes. Further, the existence of prominent sports programs serves as a focal point for alumni loyalty and good-feeling about the school and undoubtedly has a positive effect on alumni giving. So this is essentially a dishonest argument the professor is making about "big time college sports" sucking up funds that could otherwise go towards building new libraries, etc. There are certainly grounds to criticize the way big-time sports is run at major universities, but his particular argument is wrong.
    Yeah, I don't buy the argument for sports who actually make money. However, I wonder if he could have made the argument for sports in general? Does anyone know if the athletics department as a whole makes or loses money? Not saying we should eliminate it if it does, but at least that would be a legitimate position, unlike what this guy seems to be saying.

    Or maybe his point is that all the money spent on tickets, etc. that do make the bball program so much money would be donated to academic purposes instead?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by LetItBD08 View Post
    Quick aside about Duke athletes and academics. My first semester here I took a first-year subatomic physics seminar taught by one of the pioneers of particle physics.
    Moo Han!?!?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by LetItBD08 View Post
    I sometimes imagine how monotonous college would be without constantly looking forward to and attending basketball games and socializing with fellow students who feel the same way. Honestly, if I wasn't a Cameron Crazie I think I'd go insane. Duke Basketball has kept me happy and motivated throughout my time here. I also know I'm not alone with these feelings.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that basketball really does attract some really bright and motivated students to Duke who otherwise would have opted for the traditional cookie cutter institutions of higher learning. It also also keeps many of us upbeat and unifies us as an institution. Hopefully your professor hasn't overlooked these integral factors.
    I completely agree with this post and see it here at UGA as well. People may not come for our suspension filled basketball program, but people do come for the football. Our football program not only attracts major donors who will be treated to a day in a sky suite and shown all of the fine parts of the University in order to pursuade them to give millions of dollars, but it also attracts thousands of potential students. I feel like the dividends of a successful athletic program can not be measured on a yearly basis of how much the athletic department makes in donations or ticket sales. There are various ways that can't be measured about how a team can leave a lasting impact on potential students, which can eventually bring the university thousands of dollars.

  18. #18

    Article not about Duke

    I just read the article (its available on Netlibrary if you have access) I don't think the original poster properly explained the article. Aside from the introductory paragraph about K, there is only one other mention of Duke in the article. That football players scored lower than the rest of the students on the SAT. The article certainly wasn't directed at Duke or K.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by bdh21 View Post
    Moo Han!?!?
    You know it. The class wasn't difficult at all considering its subject matter. Moo was the man. Everyone looked forward to his class in my section.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian913 View Post
    I just read the article (its available on Netlibrary if you have access) I don't think the original poster properly explained the article. Aside from the introductory paragraph about K, there is only one other mention of Duke in the article. That football players scored lower than the rest of the students on the SAT. The article certainly wasn't directed at Duke or K.

    Sorry if I made it sound like it was entirely about Duke. I thought I stated that Duke was mentioned for a portion of the article and that it really focuses on big time athletic programs as a whole. The article does mention Duke on various occasions though; at the beginning and his references to K, Duke's graduation rates, K's endorsement deals.

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