Saturday, May 22, 2010

I LOVE sports. LOVE 'em. From little league to middle and high school, college and doesn't matter. I enjoy the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as much as anyone. I still get chillbumps when I ride by our county's high school football stadium on a Friday night. I can smell the grass on the field, the popcorn at the concession stand, and the sweaty players running to the locker room at the end of the game. I hear the band playing Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" and can still remember the dance I used to do on the sidelines. I have season tickets to NFL football games and Triple A famous in my town that a movie, Bull Durham, was filmed here.

I also love the Division I university that I attended. My daughter graduated from there 24 years after I did, and coincidentally, that was the same year I earned my master's degree there. She was a captain on the cheerleading squad and traveled the country when "our" team played in the NCAA tournament. To say I'm a fan is an understatement. In my area of the state the basketball rivalry is so intense that it can break up a marriage and everyone would understand.

I love my profession, too. This week my heart broke when I read about the local teacher who is half a paycheck away from homelessness and who is in danger of losing her job. Just as I was wiping away my tears, I read the following:

"With 11% unemployment in NC that includes 5400 educator jobs, the Senate's budget continues $14 million funding of our-of-state athletes' tuition. Out-of-state athletes cost upwards of $42,000 annually, mostly at taxpayer's expense. A starting teacher in NC makes $30,000 annually."

Did you just hear a needle scratch violently across a record (you have to be my age to understand that reference.) Seriously? Seriously? I can barely summon a response.

My husband says, "Yea, but how much do those athletes bring to our state?" And to that I say, "Not a damn thing if they hadn't had thirteen years of teachers and coaches training them to do what they do and be who they are."

I'm so mad I don't even have words...


Anonymous said...

This is such a spurious and meaningless comparison that I wonder at the logic and thought processes behind it. First, colleges, whose budget include student athlete scholarships, don't pay primary and secondary teacher salaries. Therefore spending in one may be completely unrelated to a cut in the other. Second, the cost of out-of-state student athletes is arbitrarily inflated by assuming out-of-state tuition. Out-of-state tuition is routinely waived for students receiving certain types of financial aid at many universities around the country. Third, eliminate student athletes and you reduce college student populations, which could result in laying off college professors. Unless you're saying college professors are less worthy than other teachers, why would you support this?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting, Anonymous. Actually there is an undeniable relationship between funding student athlete scholarships and funding teacher salaries in North Carolina. Both amounts are decided by our legislature and are parts of the budget currently being debated in the house and senate in my state. And both come from taxpayer money - mine, for instance. My point is not to reduce student populations (believe me, if every student athlete decided to attend school elsewhere, there would be thousands of high school seniors waiting to take their places)- my point is that we, as a society, have our priorities in the wrong place. Celebrities and athletes are making insane amounts of money, and teachers...including college professors (my daughter is one) are making minimal amounts and often have to take on second jobs to make a living for their families. That's my point.

hou said...

he cost of out-of-state student athletes is arbitrarily inflated by assuming out-of-state tuition.
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