Intercollegiate athletics, a uniquely American malignancy

September 27, 2016 OPINION/NEWS , Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

John Beale/AP



Don Krieger



So many who walked in with double vision

came out of surgery with a lifeless eye,

expected so unreported.


Somehow akin,

every college plays so many others,

every high school too,

every student glories in their team,

every stadium has a mortgage,

more than 30 billion per year.


Perverted public trust, wasted fortunes,

wealthy coaches guarding their jobs,

needless injuries, raped children,

all policed by the ticket takers,

legal so proper.





Transparency International provides yearly measures of government corruption worldwide.

Here are links to their interactive world map, and a summary map with links to data sheets.

They define “Grand Corruption” as the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society.

The corruption of sport in the United States described by the poet fits this definition yet goes unchecked and without accounting by any city or state government in the US. The people love it. You or I would likely earn ourselves a beating in any bar in the country with this indictment of intercollegiate sport.

Yet its existence is unjustified by the mission or purpose of any college. It subsidizes professional leagues, basketball, soccer, hockey, and American football. Cities go into hock to finance stadiums for their professional teams. High schools direct their athletically gifted students towards intercollegiate and professional athletics.

The money involved is greater than the GDP of most nations. It motivates school administrators and coaches to cover up crimes by their athletes.

This is corruption so deeply entrenched that it goes unrecognized, by the people, by the lawyers, by the government, even by critics of the US.









Don Krieger

I have built satellites, worked in the operating room, been in a cult, …

I earn my living as part of a group which is trying to understand and treat head injury.

In my poetry and short blog pieces, I want to express ideas with unambiguous clarity and intensity.

I willingly sacrifice rhyme and meter, art, cleverness, elegance, and beauty for these.


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