With pillars of smoke still rising from the ashes of Happy Valley, I wasn't surprised to read about a $68 million dollar football fantasy being erected in Eugene, Oregon. Neither was I surprised by the fact that this "crown jewel" of Oregon's athletic department is being funded by former JoePa-apologist and child labor profiteer, Phil Knight.
By the looks of it, the Oregon Ducks will have better facilities than the Cincinnati Bengals. Which is absurd, until you think about the question "Who would I rather have own my football team? Mike Brown or Phil Knight?"
Make no mistake, as an Ohio State homer, I know what programs dealing with fat stacks are like. I've been in the Les Wexner Center at the Woody Hayes Football Facility. Granted, I've never toured Purdue's football compound, but I'd be willing to bet Ohio State's shits on it.
As the Register-Guard's article pointed out, this is likely to kick off a new wave of revamped football facilities in the Pac 12. Likely as possible, but not mentioned, is that this will also set the bar higher on a national level.
While it's certainly "cool" to read about and envision -- it's rarely asked if this is a good thing for college football.
Isn't Penn State, at least, a textbook example against building a program around one person and power consolidation? Then what does Phil Knight become after this 68 million dollar donation to the football program? (Don't worry, there will be nine classrooms in this football manse -- for all nine key position groups.)
This is 21st century American "amateur" football, dealing with real children, their education, and sometimes, their general welfare. An envelope with $400 cash in it is enough to end an amateur's career, yet a 68 million dollar gift to the football program gets waived in with bright lights and greased government permits. Nike gets to turn Oregon's student athletes into a marketing test-lab without nary a peep from the NCAA.
It's funny, because I oft see college football eulogists whining about how college football may become "NFL-light" one day. Newsflash to those neanderthals: that day is already upon you.
Didn't the NCAA try to stamp out college football sugar daddies by giving SMU the death penalty back in the '80s? Well, fast forward to 2012, and now those same sugar daddies have returned, but now they've circumvented the system entirely. Their gifts are no longer lavished on the players, for that would violate the sanctity of the NCAA rulebook. No, the Phil Knights and Les Wexner's of the world are now simply giving their money directly to these billion dollar institutions. (And then they more-than-likely write them off on their taxes.)
Granted, I doubt Phil Knight has ever enabled a child molester, but it's not like he's ever been afraid to gin a nickel out of kids who were unlucky enough to be born into impoverished countries with weaker human rights laws.
Man, what a system; JoePa degraded and Phil Knight lauded, all in the same breath, all in the same week.