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Law school’s CnC prof on NCAA and Penn State

I just came across this link to a blog post about the scandal at Penn State, written last year by the CnC professor that I have just put under so much scrutiny. An excerpt:

To this day, universities justify college football on the grounds that it builds character, but all the evidence I have seen after watching sports for 40 years suggests that the 17th century religious critics were right to be skeptical. Sports teaches players to try hard and be good teammates, but I have seen very little evidence that playing promotes moral virtue, let alone civic virtue.

I used to think that football was out of step with the values that universities promote, but now I think it is largely in step with the specialized, materialistic, fame-seeking, win-at-almost-any-cost mentality that characterizes many students’ ambitions and the mores that characterize our society.

Which makes me think that there might be more substance in those CnC courses than I was aware of. 2/17/2013.


  1. Anonymous 02/17/2013

    What exactly is this webpage where the blog you found appears? Isn’t the slamming of the CNC logo everywhere and the relentless and exclusive focus on sports illustrative of precisely the attitude the blogpost decries?

    UOMatters is going soft.

  2. UO Matters 02/17/2013

    I’ll worry about “going soft” when I start hearing it from Michael Moffitt and the profs on his LS curriculum committee.

  3. Anonymous 02/17/2013

    Isn’t this just equating “substance” with “agrees with me”?

    Prof. Harbaugh, perhaps you ought to have actually determined what the substance of those courses is (the single stolen exam not-withstanding) before passing judgment on it either way. That certainly would conform better to the standards of argumentative rigor characteristic of academic training but sadly in little evidence in your posts on this blog.

    As to this blog, should not its title be “An Unofficial…” rather than “The Unofficial Organ of the University of Oregon”? Who appointed you, after all? I certainly share your skepticism as to many matters around the university, those involved with the athletic department and the central administration particularly, but you present yourself rather poorly here–holding forth on matters about which you are obviously ill-informed and with no regard for the people you might be harming in doing so (the CNC faculty in this instance)– and do not represent me in any, even unofficial, capacity.

    • Anonymous 02/17/2013

      “An unofficial organ”? You sound like a real dick.

    • Anonymous 02/17/2013

      I see what you did there . . . you probably don’t though . . .

  4. CPC3 02/17/2013

    For some reason the phrase “too little, too late” sounds in my ears. See my recent response to your previous post on this subject. I neglected to ‘sign’ that one.

  5. Anonymous 02/18/2013

    Dog on Football/Sports

    The quoted excerpt I think still represents an extreme view and seems to make sports other than football guilty by association.

    I certainly agree that College Football has escalated to be solely a commercial venue and that has ruined its essence as a sport.

    But sport itself serves many important purposes. It instills collaboration and loyalty; it gives many opportunities to deal with failure; it rewards effort in sense that the individual can feel good about themselves; and occasionally its stage where extraordinary things happen.

    In an interview a long time ago Magic Johnson once said the following:

    I have 8 VCRs in my house (obviously this was a long time ago) and by each one is a tape of Game 6 of the 1980 NBA playoffs (in which
    Kareem was hurt, Magic had to play center and had one of the greatest games my any professional athlete anywhere). Magic stated

    “[sic]” no matter what happens to me in real life, if I get down, or
    discouraged all I need to do is pop that tape into a VCR to remind myself that yeah, I did that …”

    There’s a lot of value in sport. There’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice in sport and discipline is required. That foundation is still there despite all the “win at all costs” attitude that many have toward sports – thus rendering it Evil.

    • Anonymous 02/18/2013

      After reading the entirety of the quoted article it is clear that the writer does not indict sport for sport, just the current specter of college football. In fact, after reading other articles by the author it is equally clear that he believes sport can inspire the greatest expressions of humanity.

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