February 6, 2006

Super Bowl

People are steamed over the "questionable" calls made by referees last night—all of them going for the Steelers. I don't like the referees making a difference in the game any more than Matt Hasselbeck, but these "phantom calls" were certainly not the result of some conspiracy to hand the Lombardi Trophy to the Steelers any more than that Polamalu interception against the Colts was an attempt to stick a knife in Bill Cowher's back. Refs suck sometimes. That doesn't mean they have a preferred outcome.

The Roethlisberger play was reviewed and upheld, and, in my mind, was called correctly. And Darrell Jackson may not have done anything that other WRs don't regularly do, but it was nevertheless technically correct. You play the ball, not your defender. Bottom line: if there is a conspiracy theory, you have to look at Mike Holmgren as its center. The man called such a bad game you have to wonder if he didn't have some money on Pittsburgh.

Anyway, this brings me to saying, this is ridiculous. The D reports (mixing it up from inaccurate to just plain nugatory) that a very large majority of Americans believe college sports should take a backseat to academics. Four letters should dispel this notion.

E. S. P. N.

Sports dominates our culture. And we like it. And I'm okay with that, even though I would certainly appreciate some more societal focus on intelligence, if only for personal reasons. ESPN gives coverage to the Spelling Bee, but that's because it's sort of a freak show. But seriously, why try to pretend? People want other schools to make their students learn, but try telling a Florida State fan that their football team is being kept out of a bowl game because of bad grades. All I can say is, watch out for the Tomahawk Chop.

Edit: Seriously, now I'm a Reviewer because I like sports? You know what, I'll antagonize y'all just a little bit more and echo Alan Stam's sentiments (quoted on Dartlog) and say that I too prefer the mediocre athletes to the mediocre poets. Jockish vanity is something I detest but have long ago adapted to; I think you can never adapt to someone whose pretension is predicated solely on what they have read or "felt" and not on what they have thought or experienced. I'll take a meathead over a hipster any day.

Wait, what's a hipster again?


  1. The article actually contains several levels of bullshit.

    Starting with the survey:
    Four in five Americans polled agree with the statement: "Giving athletes who struggle academically unfair advantages causes them more harm than good."

    I think that the wording of the question strongly suggests an answer. I'm surprised that even 1/5 of the people polled thought that "unfair advantages" of any kind wouldn't do more harm than good.

    Moving on to Furstenberg:
    "We don't offer athletic scholarships. Our students are students first, and they have to have other interests outside of their own teams. When they apply to Dartmouth, they know that."

    This is true some of the time, and blatantly false some of the time. I don't have statistics partially because it's a subjective judgment. Some student-athletes I knew at Dartmouth were legitimate "student"-athletes and were both smarter and stronger than most of their peers. Others were total morons who didn't even pretend to be students. The statement that Dartmouth "doesn't give sports scholarships" is misleading at best and an outright lie at worst. Dartmouth doesn't give "scholarships," but is willing to "reconfigure need-based aid" to compete with other schools to recruit prospects, and is certainly willing to admit a fair number of people who can't hack it academically. Nick Hartigan at Brown University set lots of school records as a running back on the football team and was a Rhodes finalist. He seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. More often, they're probably like this genius:

    And the final level of bullshit is in the headline. Most Americans probably do not "value academics over sports," and that's certainly not what the poll reflects. The only general observation I can glean from the reported poll results is that most people think that "student-athletes" should be held to academic standards.

    Just another day at the D, I think.

  2. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Wah hoo wa, Andrew, wah hoo wa.

  3. I thought there was an h at the end of the second "wa(h)"

  4. Yeah there is. I looked over at my official Dartmouth Indian glass, and there is is, wah hoo wah. H at the end of the second wah.