The sporting news

I have no idea whether systemic sexual harrassment is going on in the athletics fundraising department at Binghamton University… but I have even less of a clue as to why anyone would get excited about Binghamton University athletics. (I guess it doesn’t excite too many people, so they seek excitement in other ways?)

It seems we have too many colleges with too many sports teams, all chasing the same money. I’m hard pressed to figure out what this current glut of college sports teams is really doing for the human spirit.

On a less cynical note, there is one sporting event that brings highly favorable national exposure to upstate NY every year. It’s not Syracuse basketball, it’s not Buffalo Bills football, it’s not a big golf tourney at Turning Stone. It’s the annual IRL Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, which gets serious prime weekend air time on ABC/ESPN. It’s safe to say that Watkins Glen is, next to the Indy 500 itself, the race that the Indy League drivers look forward to the most every year. They love the historic racing atmosphere of the village, they love the Seneca Lake scenery, and they adore the course — which no doubt reminds them of the Formula One courses they probably (in their heart of hearts) would rather be on. (Watkins Glen also hosts NASCAR races.)

Many of the Indy League drivers have taken to Twittering, and during the races there are large contingents of race fans watching and commenting on Twitter. This past weekend, when Watkins Glen hosted the race again, it was clear that the ABC telecast was doing for the Finger Lakes region (and Upstate) what a host of PR people only wish they could do: get people from all over America and the world interested and excited about the beauty and history of the region. Here are some comments by Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan.

It makes you wonder why so many alleged grownups are spending so much effort scuffling for the same tired old sports dime around here.

5 Replies to “The sporting news”

  1. Binghamton athletics continues to reside in the sewer–ever since the President and Athletic Director decided to go Division 1 in basketball. They recruit players with disciplinary and academic problems and pressure the faculty to keep these folks eligible.

    A new $33 million athletic center and a NCAA tournament berth this year–but all anyone talks about ids how Binghamton (the academic leader of SUNY) has compromised their standards.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/22/sports/ncaabasketball/22binghamton.html

  2. Well, all anyone could talk about for the last couple years with SU basketball was Devendorf and his problems. It seems like sometimes the problems of the athletes consume more resources than they are worth, and it’s not just a Binghamton problem.

    Has anyone ever really sat down and estimated the net energy gain/drain of college sports on a community? Why is it always considered an unquestioned plus? Granted, SU sports are probably more of a net gain than Binghamton sports, but honestly… is one 2003 NCAA heroin rush of a win always going to balance out the dreary sameness of the athletes (or other associated people) behaving badly?

    am I making any sense?

  3. Yeah, Ellen, you are making sense…. but, sense is not valued in these endeavors. I remember when I was in grad school, studying economic development subsidies that cities give to stadium-builders in order to keep pro teams in their city. The numbers don’t add up, not at all. They are, more or less, a drain on resources. But, they are justified via “indirect effects”…. which can be kinda boiled down to “makes important guys feel good.” So, talk sense to choir here if you want, but, don’t mess with Golisano’s Sabres or anything.

  4. Binghamton U wanted Division 1 sports for alumni support and visibility. That equals more funding and contributions. BU is the smallest of the state universities. In tight budget times, that is not a good place to be.
    Lois DeFleur is trying to expand the university in new directions. Maybe we should not fault the university for giving it a try. They want a law school, too. I hope people will support that effort despite the fact it might also have some growing pains getting started and getting support.
    The same thing can be said about a new law school — chasing after the dwindling state dollars and other schools already have law schools — why bother?

    There is alot of negativism in this area. Maybe central ny should be a bit more positive about the largest employer in Binghamton. Also, it is the biggest tourist attraction and the biggest recipient of research money in Binghamont.

  5. Speaking of sports and resources… I couldn’t help notice that while the Local section of the Post-Standard recently went away, the Sports section… did not.

    As for law schools — considering the amount of litigation going on in Albany recently I am sure we will need more homegrown lawyers for decades to come.

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