Michael Tomasky has written an excellent rebuttal on the Daily Beast website to Gary Gutting's critique of big-time college athletics last week on The New York Times' philosophy website, "The Stone." I heartily commend it to everyone's attention.
Yes, there are abuses in college athletics. But if these programs did nothing more than offer the student-athletes the opportunity to work their way through school, they'd have justified their existence. Obviously some of the athletes elect not to avail themselves fully of the opportunity, but that happens in every field of endeavor. Wasn't it John Thompson, the former coach of the Georgetown Hoyas, who would tell his players, "If you leave here without a degree, you've been underpaid."