Posts Tagged ‘sport’

Officials at World Athletics championship do not impress

August 13, 2013

I have just been watching the World Athletic Championships from Moscow on TV and need to have a little rant at bumbling officialdom.

I am not sure if this is to the account of the IAAF or to the Russian organisers but the officials at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow have been less than impressive.

  1. Idiot officials at the winning line who try to shoo away decathlon and heptathlon athletes who have collapsed on the track after completing their grueling final runs in the 1500m and 800m respectively.
  2. The utter lack of interest from idiot officials who merely watched as an athlete (Diego Ferrin high jump) was writhing in pain from a pulled muscle (hamstring?).
  3. The apparent lack of medical facilities  around the stadium which takes many minutes for assistance to come to injured or physically drained athletes (Hansle Parchment, Diego Ferrin)
  4. Idiot officials who try to keep winning athletes from celebrating and approaching their supporters.
  5. Idiot officials who are unable to ensure that the athletes competing in the 20km walk follow the designated route and where the position of the winning line is obscure.

I’m sure many of the officials are just temporary help drafted in off the streets for the championships but they do remind me of the security staff at airports – instructed to follow some rigid protocol and not – in any circumstances – to use their brains or their discretion.

College athletes and accommodating professors

August 22, 2011

The massive commercialisation of college sports in the US has led to the situation where coaches can make $10 million per annum and sometimes have salaries which are 25 times higher than what the college president may earn. The media payments to the colleges for covering these sports is enormous and provides the incentive for colleges to have sports programs attracting the best athletes in spite of any academic shortcomings. Colleges provide the forum and the vehicle for the money-spinning sports enterprises. And since the colleges are supposed primarily to be academic institutions it becomes necessary to have – or seem to have – minimum academic standards that even the athletes must satisfy.

A PRICE TO PLAY  ‘Corrupt’ system in danger of collapse

But the academic standards to be fulfilled are merely a cover for the sports-based enterprise.  This in turn creates the pressure for colleges to create easy courses especially designed for academically disabled athletes and  for academics to go easy on athletes attending their courses. Effectively athlete students are encouraged to cheat and all the different codes of ethics and integrity that are created serve only as a way to define all the loop-holes in the code that can then be used to cheat without being declared a cheat.

“(Stanford) accommodates athletes in the manner that they accommodate students with disabilities.” Prof. Donald Barr, Associate Professor of Sociology and Human Biology

The recent case of Prof. Julius Nyang’oro and his 400 level class in Bioethics in Afro-American Studies is a case in point. An athlete got into the class despite having a score on the written portion of the SAT that was low enough that he needed to take a remedial writing class, which he took in the subsequent fall semester. No student received less than a B-minus on Nyang’oro’s course. The Charlotte Observer writes:

Julia Nichols, the student services manager for UNC’s Academic Advising Program, said it is unusual for any freshman to begin his or her college education with a 400 level course. The exceptions, she said, are freshmen who have demonstrated an aptitude, either through advanced placement classes or other experience and petition the professor to be allowed to take the course.

“As a general, blanketed rule, freshmen are not normally allowed to take 400 or 500 level classes,” she said.

There is little doubt that while inter-collegiate athletes are privileged, others suffer from being stigmatised as academically stunted. It would be unthinkable however for an academic student to be required to satisfy some minimum sports or athletic standard to graduate or to be stigmatised as athletically stunted. No athletically inept student is stigmatised because he cannot catch a ball.

If a professor knows you are an athlete, you are assumed to be stupid until you can prove otherwise. (White male water polo)

In a big, class (400 people). Before test professor said, “It’s an easy test. Even athletes can pass.” (White male swimming)

Professor asked the student athletes to stand on the first day of class and said, “These are the people who will probably drop this class.” (African American female, basketball)

….. They are seen as academically unqualified illegitimate students whose only interest is athletics, who expect and receive special treatment from professors and others. The perception is that in order to remain eligible and participate in sports they put in minimum effort, do little academic work, take easy classes and have others do their work for them. …..

But there is no reason to confine a college to only the so-called academic courses.

Perhaps if every college had a sports or athletic faculty where grades were obtained for performance and where courses at this faculty demanded a minimum level of performance, some of the hypocrisy would be eliminated. Promoting excellence in any discipline – even a sport – is surely a legitimate activity for any University or College. The brain does not have to be separated from the brawn.

Indian fiasco likely at the Commonwealth Games

September 23, 2010

The mess that is the organisation and preparation of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi is going from bad to worse. Every day there are new instances of rampant corruption, new examples of the venal attitude of all the organising committee and the surrounding politicians, collapsing architecture, cases of child labour, withdrawal of athletes and maybe even countries, security fears, uninhabitable and unhygienic athletes accommodation, traffic chaos and now even potential flooding after a prolonged and vigorous monsoon.

India is known for the “last minute” fix but is also known for  the “last mile syndrome” where the final 5% never gets completed. The organising committee and the Delhi politicians are busy pointing fingers and the Central Gov’t has been forced to step in.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stepped in to clear the Commonwealth Games mess. Singh has called Union Sports Minister MS Gill and Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy for urgent consultations.

A view of the 2010 Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi. Certain players have asked for a different accodomation as they found the Village 'unliveable.'

2010 Commonwealth Games Village:players have asked for a different accodomation as they found the Village 'unliveable.'

On a day of embarrassment for Delhi and with 11 days to go for the Commonwealth Games, the incomplete and “filthy” Games Village came in for severe criticism from foreign delegates and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

The finger pointing and posturing is getting ugly. Meanwhile, Congress MP and former Union sports minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has slammed the Commonwealth Games Federation top bosses – Mike Fennell and Mike Hooper saying they have no right to criticise the Games.

This threatens to be a national embarrassment.

I live in hope but whether something can be salvaged from this fiasco remains to be seen.

%d bloggers like this: