Higher Education Emulates the National Football League
The “Rooney Rule” is the latest debasement of academia.
The controversial halftime show at Super Bowl 50 demonstrated–if any proof was needed–that the NFL is in the entertainment business. The football cartel’s ratings-conscious bean counters carefully assessed television demographics to maximize the spectacle’s appeal to the broadest possible audience–bread and circuses for the masses. It worked. The musical trifecta of Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars was a cynical mishmash of genres that helped attract a viewing audience of nearly 112 million people to an otherwise boring game. Professional football is big business, and it was fitting that the 50th iteration of the championship game was held in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, a taxpayer-funded facility that—with a price tag of $1.3 billion—constitutes a stupendous wealth transfer from taxpayers to a professional sports team (the San Francisco 49ers).
This is the business model the higher education cartel wishes to emulate. Competition is restricted through the accreditation process, faculty cartels such as the American Association of University Professors, and trade associations such as the Association of American Colleges & Universities and the elite Association of American Universities. Taxpayer subsidies are an indispensable component of higher education today. State-funded colleges and universities receive direct taxpayer support, and nearly all institutions—public and private—depend on enormous amounts of federal student loans (about $103 billion last year), tens of billions of dollars in federal student grants each year, and $75.6 billion in federal grants and other benefits paid directly to schools annually.
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