Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sports Thursday

It's time for us to take one of our occasional forays into the world of sports. Because Politics can be so depressing....

But not as depressing as seven losses in a row to the Red Sox.

TEXTBOOKS? Are you freaking kidding me? When the story of Alabama having to vacate 22 victories from 2005 through 2007, I was sure it had something to do with recruiting violations. Team supplied testosterone. Hooker parties after games. But no. Alabama is accused of "improperly distributing textbooks to students." I am a college professor, and I can attest to this simple fact: textbooks are insanely overpriced. My students have to pay over $100 for their speech text. The reason there is a new eddition of a textbook every one or two years is so the old ones will become obsolete and the students will have to keep buying new ones. It's a racket. I try to keep it less expensive by tellng them they can use any used edition later than the seventh. So, yes, distributing textbooks to athletes amounts to remuneration. But if you won't let them have an f*ing job, how in the hell do you expect them to buy textbooks??? This is insane! The problem here is not that Alabama distributed textbooks to its students, the problem is that textbooks are like popcorn in a movie theater: an artificial monopoly. With only one supplier of the text a student is require REQUIRED to use, and no real competition to control prices, textbooks are priced insanely high. I realize the other side of that argument is that since only students buy textbooks not a lot of them are sod, so if they didn't have a high price nobody would be able to stay in business. But that's belied by the fact that the most popular textbooks are also the most expensive textbooks. I teach Public Speaking, for instance. We use the most popular text, The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen E. Lucas. It sells in our bookstore for $100 with all the doodads like an interactive CD ROM and a pamphlet they call a "topic generator". It's $85 at most stores without that stuff. Other, perfectly reasonable texts, tend to cost around $50. I know some teachers who use O'Hair and Stweart's Pocket Guide to Public Speaking, which costs twenty bucks. But we have a contract with the publishers of Lucas, and that means the students who take public speaking, which has the highest enrollment of any class at school, use Lucas. This is why textbook reps employ the very hard sell, and why I keep getting my mailbox crammed with free samples. It is one of the biggest rackets in publishing. Now, Lucas is a great text, and school is expensive, I'm not saying none of this should be happening. I am saying that if the athletics dept at Alabama is trying to help out its students by distributing textbooks to them, more power to them! The crime here is the way the NCAA refuses to allow student athletes to be compensated at their full value to the university. But that is for another blog.

The Times is noted for particularly poor sports reporting. How poor? Last Friday they reported that the Redwings looked old and tired and that this was looking like the Penguins' year; and that Tiger's return was marked by inconsistency. The Redwings then went out and beat the Penguins 5-0, and Tiger hit 14 of 14 fairways on Sunday, and birdied 17 and 18, to win the Memorial by one stroke. Insightful.

Kyle Bush smashed a guitar. He is a punk. Not for smashing the guitar (I'm a big time Who fan: guitars are made to be smashed). He's just a punk in general. A punk who wins more races than anybody else. I now understand how older NASCAR fans must have felt about Jeff Gordon.

Lakers in 5.

My favorite player on my favorite Soccer team (inasmuch as I care about soccer), Christiano Renaldo, is moving from Man-U to Real Madrid. He'll make a lot of money for the move. But so will Man-U. they are getting a $131,000,000 transfer fee from Real Madrid. That's $131,000,000 that goes to Man-U, which Renaldo will never see. On top fo that he's likely to make $200M. That's a lot of money for one guy in a sport where you are lucky to see three goals in a game.


Post a Comment

<< Home