College Football

Is the drive for prestige and profit out of control?


College football, the nation's third-most-popular spectator sport after pro football and baseball, has millions of devoted fans but also a growing number of critics who say the game has become a multibillion-dollar business increasingly in conflict with colleges' core educational mission. Major football schools spend lavishly to field top teams and reap millions in revenues, but most colleges actually lose money on athletics overall. Players earn millions for schools and private companies but must shortchange academics because of demanding schedules. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is proposing changes to help players and tighten academic standards, but it has little power to control schools' spending. Meanwhile, big-time football schools are jockeying for position in conference realignments. And the game drew more unwelcome attention with the ...

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