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Tue., Nov. 27, 2012, 8:44 a.m.

Studying the future

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If you want to major in dance or theater in many of our nation's universities, with the thought of heading to Hollywood or Broadway, you have that option. But if you want to major in athletics, with an eye on a professional career, you are out of luck. Is it time for that to change? Read on.

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• As I struggled to come up with a subject to write about this morning, I was guided by a higher power (Twitter, if you must know) to this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I recommend you read it. A former college professor, David Pargman, believes it is time for major universities to offer a degree in professional athletics. A degree built for those college athletes who believe they want to have a career as a professional. After reading the commentary, I was floored with how simple an idea this was and how much sense it makes. But, as a college graduate with a degree based in criticism, my first thought was, what's wrong with it? Some thoughts came to mind, though you might have a few others. The first was, many folks head to college thinking they are going to play professionally. But they are only fooling themselves. What good would their degree do them? Then I thought, they get degrees in art history and communications now, so what's the difference? At least this proposed degree would help them understand why their body is breaking down after four years of college football. The proposed classes in Pargman's syllabus would be of use to just about anyone. And they don't seem all that easy. Getting through the course of study should earn an athlete a gold star. Another problem, schools are dropping majors left and right thanks to budget cuts. Why start a new one? That's where the athletic department's media money – and the exorbitant coaching salaries – can make a difference academically. For example, the Mike Leach School of Professional Athletic Studies, underwritten by ESPN, would seem appropriate at WSU, started in part from a large donation from the football coach's $2.5 million a year salary and a grant from the world-wide leader. Will it ever happen? Maybe. Most big changes begin as a small thought in one person's mind, so I wouldn't rule it out. If it does happen, I might even go back to school to get another degree. After all, someday there will be a professional softball league for people over 80, and I want to be ready.

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• Washington State: Christian Caple spent Monday with basketball, highlighted by Ken Bone's press conference, but that doesn't mean there isn't football news. Christian covered much of it in his morning post today, including the All-Pac-12 teams that were announced yesterday, but we have more. ... The most interesting thing that happened Monday was the press conference in Colorado for outgoing football coach Jon Embree. Athletic director Mike Bohn, who held the same job at Idaho a few years ago, was raked over the coals by the media – and then skewered in the newspapers. ... The schedules for next season – and the makeup of the teams – are already being examined. ... The Pac-12 title game is still to come. ... California is looking far and wide for a new coach. ... One last Apple Cup link. It's worth reading.

• Gonzaga: The Zags moved up to 12th in both polls yesterday, though I believe that is still a bit low. They are a top-10 team right now. ... Jim Meehan had more on the Davidson game on the blog yesterday.

• EWU: Three Eagles earned All-American honors. ... You can win tickets for the EWU game with Idaho by answering a few questions.

• Idaho: The Vandals are interviewing finalists for their football coaching position, with Josh Wright passing along all the news. ... San Jose State's football team still doesn't know its bowl destination. ... The Spartans played Kansas tough. ... Utah State is looking for more consistency from its backups on the hoop team.

• Seahawks: The shoe has yet to drop concerning the Hawks' cornerbacks and possible drug suspensions, but the reports have called into question the good news aspect of their careers as well as made some wonder if anyone really pays attention to the rules. ... One last look at Sunday's loss.

• Mariners: If the M's sign Mike Napoli (pictured) – and I guess if they don't – you'll have your answer on whether moving in the fences will have an affect on free-agent signings.

• Sounders: A Sounder midfielder earns a big award, while a backup has a chance to reflect on the season. ... Another award was handed out this morning and Eddie Johnson won it. He earned it but it's an award you only want to win once: Comeback Player of the Year. Wait, it's Johnson's second time winning it? My bad.

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• That's it for today. I am interested on your thoughts concerning a possible professional athletics major, especially considering the proposal is coming from an academic and not someone associated with the athletics side of things. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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