Phi Beta Cons

Even at Harvard, Sports Tail Wags Educational Dog

Harvard has decided to get serious about winning the basketball title in the Ivy League, according this NYT article.

This is even less comprehensible to me than the allure of adding football at UNCC, which I wrote about recently. Suppose that Harvard should manage to win the Ivy League. That guarantees that its team gets to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Why is that worth the effort, especially when you consider that the relatively weak-performing students they’d have to recruit in order to move up to the top of the Ivy League — weaker academically than the current basketball players, to be sure — will require a lot of special treatment.
At most schools there are some sports fans who live vicariously through the ups and downs of the teams, elated when “we” win and despondent when “we” lose. All of that is very fleeting. Is the University of Florida a better university because the school’s basketball team won back-to-back NCAA championships? Does that really matter a year or even a week later?

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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