Last Chance Saloon

In the wake of the NCAA College Cup, our friends over at SoccerLens are currently running an interesting piece on the current and future place of the collegiate system in US soccer. The gist seems to be that soccer deserves both equal footing with the NCAA's cash cow sports (football, basketball, baseball) and an extended season to conform more closely to the standards of the world game.


Just because our institutions of "higher education" have sacrificed their credibility and dignity in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, should we really be looking to compound the problem by adding soccer to an already ugly mix? Screw all the other "ball" sports as well. Are these universities, or are they professional athlete factories? I know they bring in big money, but is that money being plowed into education or is the rest of the factory system busy churning out meaningless pieces of paper with fancy calligraphy for anybody who can afford one?

And screw the NFL, MLB, and NBA for using the system like this. Why can't they stick some of that windfall from broadcast rights and exorbitant ticket prices into "academy" systems of their own and let colleges focus on training minds again? Why does college need to be so inextricably intertwined with professional sports?

Here's hoping college soccer becomes what all other collegiate athletic programs should become: a net to catch the talent that slips through the academy system, fails to catch on at a lower division club, or simply blossoms later in life--a Last Chance Saloon, if you will. Besides, with academies starting to churn out talent and only four developmental slots on offer, does the future of the draft really look so terribly bright?


  1. Amen. The interconnectedness between Universities and the professional sports leagues is insane - does neither side any favors, IMHO. The young talent doesn't get as much professional development while the universities degrade their academic standards in the name of sports.

  2. Incredibly, at one point in the hazy past, this country represented a better way of life (not just $$) and values, not the least of which is education.

    Like it or not, US athletes on the national and international stage do show what we're about. I prefer they be thinking, educated individuals instead of ignorant grunts.

    Love soccer, but it's a big world.

  3. Pardon my cynicism, but have you witnessed the "thinking, educated individuals" that some of these college athletic programs are turning out?

    And since when did a college degree become a necessity to present yourself as a rational, intelligent human being? College is what you make of it. I'm not claiming it can't be a wonderful, transformative experience, but if you just hop on the conveyor belt and tumble off 4-6 years later with a diploma, did you learn anything besides how to play beer pong and some portions of the greek alphabet?

    Producing rational, educated citizens is the function of K-12. Universities should exist to add polish and more facets, not serve as an extended high school.

    As for the "big world"--have you heard some of the drivel that comes out of soccer players' mouths, regardless of nationality? We don't hold a monopoly on ignorant athletes. They're pretty much a global breed.

  4. Exactly, and true that. Do you really want to lower the bar?

  5. What bar do you suppose I'm proposing to lower? Are you saying that a college education is mandatory to produce reasoning citizens? Or are you referring to the widespread mental deficiencies of the global sporting "aristocracy"?

    If it's the latter, then I would suggest that wealth, "yes" men, societal worship/forgiveness of faults, "greased" social machinery, and perceptions/expectations of class (among other things) have more to do with the "dumb jock" phenomenon than what passes for a college education these days.

    Also, I think you're ignoring the role of the individual in all of this. If an athlete has the will and determination to educate themselves, whether it be within the confines of an institution or not, what's to stop them from doing so? Is it our role to force an education on an individual that doesn't want it just because of some perception that we, as a country, will look bad for producing such an individual?