College Faculties and the Seven Deadly Sins

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(Editor’s Note:  This article is a counterpoint to one by Dr. Richard Vedder and they are being posted together on this blog. The purpose of a blog should be to facilitate thought and discussion on serious issues.  The views expressed in both articles are not necessarily the views of the Digest editorial staff or of the United States Sports Academy as a whole.)

The blog article by Richard Vedder, “College Sports and the Seven Deadly Sins,”  promotes serious thought and consideration in the field of sports as it relates to intercollegiate athletics.

However, this article is the one drop of rain that has made my bucket overflow and I am prompted to respond.  Professor Vedder and Professor Roy Boyd, who are both with the Department of Economics at Ohio University, expose yet another duplicitous attitude which has infested university campuses ever since the inception of  intercollegiate athletics.

The 1942 movie, “The Male Animal,” with actor Henry Fonda is reminiscent of the historical jealousy between the academic faculty and those involved with sports. The history of tension between those two factions is an old one.

What I find amazingly hypocritical about Vedder’s piece is that today we face ballooning tuition costs, rising faculty salaries, a student loan crisis  (the next “bubble”), and an attitude of antipathy towards an economic system which has built this country.

Faculty members have for so long fed at the trough of public tax dollars or solid endowments from private funding that they have little regard for a real free market—and perhaps they do not even understand it today.

It’s a fact nowadays that major college athletics faces some real soul searching but it will sort out its difficulties. What really gives me a rash is that this same class of “judges of college athletics” can be cited for their own seven deadly sins. I have seen it first hand at several different university campuses.

So let me offer in rebuttal my view on “College Faculties and the Seven Deadly Sins” and address it as if I were speaking face-to-face with Dr. Vedder.

1. Lechery or Lust:  Let’s get serious here, Dr. Vedder. Is there not ONE faculty member at Ohio University who has not or is not “involved” with some alluring young coed? Lechery among college professors is legendary!

2. Gluttony:  Tell me, professor, is every single grant your colleagues submit built upon a budget of honesty and bare bones?  Or is there not some “padding” to make certain that the real bucks get there?

3. Avarice/Greed: True, this is the most pervasive of sins, but is it not a function of college faculty unions to “advocate for” higher salaries, lavish pensions and “comfortable” benefits? And just who is it who is “exploiting” students?  Canned lectures, videos, and PowerPoint presentations cannot be the real hallmark of developing critical thinking on college campuses these days, now, can they?

4. Sloth:  So nice of you to give coaches a pass on this one, but you do not deserve one.  You work a 30-hour work week at best; have every weekend off; celebrate every holiday; enjoy Christmas Breaks, Spring Breaks and Summer Breaks (and those who do teach summer courses receive extra contracts); have graduate assistants to grade your tests; have research assistants to find material for your next book (the proceeds of which you personally pocket); and complain about your teaching load if you have to teach more than two to three courses per term.  On top of it all, faculty get TENURE, coaches do not.  How industrious of you!

5. Wrath: Indeed, this sin is evidenced in a physical sense in athletic competition, but is controlled within the contests. However, faculty wrath has been inbred with vengeance and manifests itself with such fury that not only have faculty members fallen victim, but entire departments have been obliterated. And THAT is violence which lasts!

6. Envy:  Come on, Dr. Vedder, just what motivated you to write this article as if it were the second “95 Theses”?  Epiphanies, which you seem to present here, should reveal the inner person, and not through one’s own myopia to reveal someone else’s shortcomings.

7. Pride:  Ah yes! The crown jewel of all faculty envy of coaches, since it is a fact of the universe that coaches are nothing but sinew held together by pride. What hubris generated your synthesis of sport analysis and prompted you to offer up your assessment and application of these sins to college sport, Professor Vedder?

It is one thing to be critical of another facet of a common institution, and quite another to sharpen one’s arrows then dip them into a poison. And what is it they say about people living in glass houses?  Oh yes, they shouldn’t throw stones.

My patience, for one, with such hypocritical tripe is at its end.

Dr. Arthur Ogden is a United States Sports Academy faculty member in the Department of Sports Management. He has served in education for more than 45 years in several capacities, including Dean of Academic Affairs, college football coach for 12 years and college athletics director for more than 10 years. He has taught in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Botswana and in Jamaica. You can reach Dr. Ogden at aogden@ussa.edu or visit www.ussa.edu.