College Football

November 18, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 41
Is the drive for prestige and profit out of control?
By Kenneth Jost


Delirious Louisiana State University fans (Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)
Delirious Louisiana State University fans embrace LSU cornerback Ron Brooks after the No. 1 Tigers trounced the Tennessee Volunteers 38-7 on Oct. 15, 2011. College football is hugely popular but under increasing scrutiny. (Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox)

College football, the nation's third-most-popular spectator sport after pro football and baseball, has millions of devoted fans but also a growing number of critics who say the game has become a multibillion-dollar business increasingly in conflict with colleges' core educational mission. Major football schools spend lavishly to field top teams and reap millions in revenues, but most colleges actually lose money on athletics overall. Players earn millions for schools and private companies but must shortchange academics because of demanding schedules. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is proposing changes to help players and tighten academic standards, but it has little power to control schools' spending. Meanwhile, big-time football schools are jockeying for position in conference realignments. And the game drew more unwelcome attention with the firing of Penn State's legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, in a child sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
College Sports
Apr. 24, 2020  Compensating College Athletes
Jun. 03, 2016  College Athletics
Jul. 11, 2014  Paying College Athletes
Nov. 18, 2011  College Football
Mar. 19, 2004  Reforming Big-Time College Sports
Mar. 23, 2001  Sportsmanship
Aug. 26, 1994  College Sports
Aug. 15, 1986  College Sports Under Fire
Apr. 15, 1983  Changing Environment in College Sports
Sep. 05, 1975  Future of Varsity Sports
Sep. 10, 1952  Commercialism in College Athletics
Sports and Recreation