Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting for Next Year’s ‘Justice Department College Playoffs’

as posted at Sports Illustrated

Justice Dept.: Obama administration may take action on BCS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.

In the letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that the Justice Department is reviewing Hatch's request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.

Kent comments:

I found an article commenting on this at The Freeman website.  This little mag is a good resource for ideas on liberty.  The author of The Freeman article, commenting on the Sports Illustrated article (gets complicated, doesn’t it?) concluded with this:  “Government has no business telling a private organization how to determine athletic championships.”

I agree with that completely, but I think the analysis is not deep enough.  If colleges were really always private organizations, the point would be well-taken.  The problem is, most colleges and universities are quasi-governmental organizations.  They are heavily funded by both state and national governments.  That being the case, no one should be surprised when governments start trying to ‘call the shots’ at colleges and universities – even on such things as how to organize sporting events.

In a free society, governments could have nothing to do with institutions of learning for many reasons.  First, when governments transfer funds to an institution of any kind, they must confiscate those funds from someone.  That’s not freedom.

Also, when governments sponsor and control any institution, they inevitably end up dictating, at least to some extent, what can be done at that institution.  That’s not freedom.

This list could continue, but you get the idea.  If you want institutions of higher learning to be free institutions, the government cannot be involved.  But if you are willing to have the government involved in your institution, it is no longer private, and you should not be surprised when the same government that gives you money wants to tell you what to do.  You cannot ‘have your freedom and eat it, too.’  Yes, that is a weird way to say it.  Let me try again.

Freedom is a seamless garment.

No comments: