By Cristian Biosca
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Additional info for Enciclopedia de los nudos (Naturaleza y ocio series)
In carrying out this all-important function, the imperative to win makes it logical to push to the limit whatever rules exist. This imperative also heightens the importance of getting the best coach and having the best facilities. Thus being competitive implies constant pressure on both budgets and recruiting rules. One implication is that the kinds of problems associated with big-time college sports are not amenable to an easy structural fix, because they are a direct consequence of deliberate and clear-eyed decisions.
As interesting as they are, however, they do not embody the view that athletics is a central function of universities or that its operation affects these central functions. Their message is that college sports stands on its own as a topic worth studying, but the activity has little to do with the other things universities do. The gulf that I have sketched between athletics and serious study of higher education is not absolute. A few academic studies do treat athletics as an activity that has the potential to affect the principal work of universities.
Were this research about universities in any other part of the worldÂ€ – Europe, the Commonwealth, Asia, Latin AmericaÂ€– the failure to take serious note of intercollegiate athletics would not be remarkable. Outside of the United States, intercollegiate athletics is just one of many student activities and has few if any of the commercial attributes of American big-time college sports. But in light of the size and prominence of commercial sports in many American universities, this blind spot in higher-education research is jarring, if not shocking.