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When the Bible is a playbook: In search of a Christian perspective on balancing university-level sports, academics, and faith.
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The Ethics of College Sports

Publication Date:
9/9/2009
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Adult Study, Adult Study
Product Number:
TC0370

Have you ever been in the stands for a college football or basketball game when "the wave" really took off? It's something to see, thousands of fans rising out of their seats in a synchronized wave of support for their team. It's a great feeling, like you're part of something bigger than just a game.

Well, it's big alright. For the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), television broadcasters, university athletic directors, and their staffs, college athletics is huge. In fact, it's a multi-billion dollar enterprise. And when that kind of money is involved, ethical questions about how the money is raised--and more important, how it's spent--are sure to be brought into play.

The issues are diverse and complex.

  • For example, athletic scholarships allow talented young players to attend college for free--a good thing. But the demands of excelling as an athlete often make it impossible for students to devote sufficient time to their studies.
  • In 2009, one of the NCAA conferences signed a $2.25 billion (yes, billion!) television deal with ESPN. Yet only nineteen of three hundred Division 1-A schools (a mere 6 percent) recorded a net profit from athletics.
  • Compensation for head coaches at top level football programs now averages over $1 million per year--often far more than university presidents are paid.
  • Fans are affected as well; each fall college campuses brace for another football and basketball season characterized by excessive alcohol consumption. (Next time you catch a college game on TV, pay attention to the number of beer company ads you see.)

Are our universities compromising their educational mission in pursuit of the almighty sports dollar? What role does (or should) college athletics play in shaping the morals of the college athlete? This Thoughtful Christian study is full of the facts and figures you need to explore this timely subject.

Stephens G. Lytch is a Presbyterian teaching elder in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He has enjoyed training and working with ruling elders for many years.


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