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April 12, 2014 - A culture of sports obsession

A column in the Sedalia Democrat quotes University of Central Missouri (UCM) President Chuck Ambrose who describes his concerns that the “strategic vision for what college sports should look like is not there.” Ambrose is a former college soccer player who served as chairman of the NCAA Division II President Council in 2006-07.  UCM recently won the NCAA Division II men’s basketball championship.

Ambrose participated as a panelist at the Knight Commission’s March 17, 2014 meeting in Miami. The column references his experience at the Miami meeting:

“This conversation in Miami is what many may consider the tipping point for college sports,” Ambrose said. “The Knight Commission is the strongest moral compass for maintaining some balance between the academic enterprise and college sports.”

The column reports on a series of Knight Commission recommendations “on how universities can channel that revenue back to aid the entire enterprise, not just the athletics department. They include greater transparency in the admissions process, coupling revenue to academic performance and graduation rates, and not sinking tubs of cash into coaches’ salaries.”

“‘Who would have ever thought that in 40 out of 50 states, your highest-paid public official would be your college football coach?” Ambrose said. “It (puts) a cloud over the value structure of what we do.’”

In summarizing financial trends and projections, the column notes “while some have said that the financial boom at the Division I level may eventually trickle down to Division II schools, Ambrose prefers seeing the academic mission and integrity of Division II trickling up to the bigger schools.”

Read the full column HERE.