Aired: March 1, 2014

Good Sport


Image courtesy M. Smelter
Image courtesy M. Smelter

Nobody knows their exact price tag, but the Sochi Olympics were widely hailed as the most expensive Olympic games ever. And the real question: is it worth the cost? Political science professor Patrick Rhamey (Virginia Military Institute) says hosting the games doesn’t actually give countries a political advantage, but winning the medal count can. Plus: The United States is the only country that attaches big-time sports to universities. Alan Levinovitz (James Madison University) says it’s time to get big sports out of schools. And: Any proposal to end college athletics would get a big pushback from fans. Kiran Karande’s (Old Dominion University) MBA class recently completed a study looking at exactly who the football fans are at their university—and what keeps them coming back.

Later in the show: Sports Illustrated recently published an astounding statistic: one out of every 14 players in top college footballs programs has a criminal record. Many of these crimes involved violence toward women. Chris Kilmartin (University of Mary Washington) believes a new kind of motivation is needed on the field. Chris says anti-feminine taunts—like “let’s go ladies; take off your skirts and play like a man”—reinforce a fiction that men are sexually indiscriminate. Also featured: We tend to associate hazing with the humiliating, sometimes violent, initiation rituals of sororities and fraternities. Tod Burke and Stephen Owen (Radford University) say the phenomenon occurs elsewhere, too—even workplaces. They also say that people who have experienced hazing often view it positively.

  • Medal count feature

    The Sochi Olympics over, the athletes have gone home, but the consequences of the Olympic games might reach farther than expected.  Allison Quantz reports on new research that says performance at the olympics can affect a country’s diplomatic prospects.

  • Exploring the relationship between sports and higher education

    Maryland v CaliforniaWhen we were thinking about the role sports play in our society, we came across a Slate article that asks the question: is it time to evict big-time sports from American higher education?


1 Comment on “Good Sport”

  1. Joshua Pate, Ph.D.

    Regarding the segment on college sport, I caution listeners to understand some areas that were very much glossed over by the guest (whose scholarly area is not in sport). First, I teach at JMU in sport management and have worked in college athletics, and I have never met a student at JMU or my former institution (with a much larger football program) who chose the school due to athletics. Second, regarding the discrepancy in budgets and what dollars go toward football stadiums and programs vs. faculty salaries, buildings, etc., those dollars come from completely separate budgets at a university like JMU. The university operates off a budget. The athletics department operates off a separate budget dependent upon donations, ticket sales, etc. Third, a comment was made that a smarter student from a community is losing out on a scholarship to a student receiving an athletic scholarship. This is simply not true. Athletic departments pay the university in full for all in-state and out-of-state scholarships used for athletics. Therefore, these scholarships are not taking away from a “smarter” student because the athletic department is paying the university for that scholarship. It is disappointing to hear that this topic was discussed by a professor who does not study sport, teach sport, or apparently understand the college sport system based on comments made on the show.

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