Sporting Sacrifices

I have decided I am not going to renew my men’s basketball season tickets this year. I spent a considerable amount of time pondering this decision, and I came to this conclusion, reluctantly but decidedly. First off, in considering how many new expenses David and I have headed our way related to babies and child care, I cannot really justify spending $1,300 on season tickets this year (Interesting how priorities change considering a few short months ago I had no problem spending $1,300 for tickets to one single Chelsea match in London). Furthermore, I am doubtful I would even be able to take advantage of the tickets once I purchased them, considering how winded I was yesterday just teaching my class. I cannot imagine how I will have the energy to saunter down to the Smith Center and walk up the stairs when it is November or December. Then, after the babies come, I doubt I would even be able to go to a single game for the rest of the season.

So those are the entirely practical reasons I decided to take the season off. However, that really isn’t the end of it. Lately, I have become more disillusioned with university athletics generally. I am not thrilled with the NCAA’s plan to let the big six conference in essence, “regulate themselves” when it comes to things like paying players or making rules regarding relationships with agents. I have disliked all of the conference realignment and how it has changed the character of the games. Remember the good old days when every team played every other team in their conference at home and away and that determined who was the conference champion? You know, kind of like how the British Premier League still works for soccer? Well, all of that is out the window now. I hate broadcasting and network contracts for college sports. I hate how Bubba Cunningham wants to raise money to redo the Dean Dome to create more “luxury boxes” for even more revenue. I hate how UNC’s once pristine reputation has been dragged through the mud over a never-ending series of sports scandals (including the newest one involving the football team and alleged hazing just this week). Basically, I am tired of what college sports have become (at least the revenue generating ones).

In the past couple of years, I have completely replaced watching College Game Day with watching the Saturday morning British Premier League coverage anyway. Sure, I realize that big money infects European soccer in a major way, but at least it isn’t some racket that is claiming to “educate” students at the same time. At least Roman Abramovich isn’t claiming to offer a first rate education to his select group of “scholar-athletes.” And also, at least in the Premier League, every team plays every other team twice, once at home and once away so there never is the level of controversy over who the real champion is.

I don’t know if anything can save my once beloved activities of watching college sports now that money has pretty much ruined everything.

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