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Those who love football as well as civil society, like me, face a chilling ambivalence about a sport that has become not only a stand-in for war (although we still have the real thing going on), but also a huge business that commands, in the corporate world of college education, expenditures seldom lavished on non-athletes.
Football as a game has not only become “war;” it is also big business that deals in millions of dollars and the euphoria (or depression) of thousands of people, depending on winning or losing.
And like all big business, money and winning are the gravity that warps higher education space-time, giving us the recent follies of UNM head football coach Mike Locksley, Athletics Director Paul Krebs, and President David Schmidly.
Both college and pro football have long been described by their devotees in terms of war: Games are “battles.” Big games between evenly-matched teams are spoken of as “wars.”
Players and entire organizations are said to be battle-tested. The giants of the offensive and defensive lines slug it out “in the trenches,” evoking the bloody slaughter of World War I. Worst of all, good players are said to be “weapons.” Johnny got his football.
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