Op-ed pick: Why college is bad for athletes (and everyone else, too)

The National Labor Relations Board cleared the way for football players at Northwestern University to unionize. (The decision is being appealed.) Players were seeking to form unions in part, they said, because their studies were sacrificed for football. Quarterback Kain Colter said he couldn’t pursue a pre-med major because of the requirements of his sport. From Politico:

Colter told the hearing that players’ performance on the field was more important to Northwestern than their in-class performance, saying, “You fulfill the football requirement and, if you can, you fit in academics.” Asked why Northwestern gave him a scholarship of $75,000 a year, he responded: “To play football. To perform an athletic service.”

Kain Colter #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats is grabbed by Ryan Shazier #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Naomi Schaefer Riley argues in the New York Post that it’s not just the students who fill the stadium with fans who are “being screwed” by institutions of higher learning.

Once colleges did away with any kind of real general-education requirements, students were left on their own to figure out what they thought was important. It sounds so exciting, until you realize that 18-year-olds don’t know what they don’t know. And they don’t know what’s going to be important to them later on. And they don’t even know which classes should go before other classes.

The catalogs only provided the illusion of choice anyway. Some of the thousands of listed classes will provide them with the critical thinking skills and real knowledge they need to succeed afterward, but most of them will not. Just think of it as high-stakes gambling with a few hundred thousand dollars worth of tuition.

Read her entire column here.