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- The spirits of Denton
- A living canvas
- UPC music series brings South Carolina singer to UNT
- Comedian Lechler ignores hecklers
- Festival Review: Austin City Limits
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Opinion: Darnell’s Declaration: UNT has a football problem
Will Darnell / Intern
UNT is masquerading as a Texas football factory and the university must decide whether it wants to keep the reputation of a solid, growing academic university or if it wants to be a part of the willful harm of student athletes and its long term future alike.
UNT has a social and practical obligation to its students, faculty, fans and alumni.
Schools that are supremely successful in football become national powerhouses and make tons of money.
The key to that statement is defining supreme success and what it takes to attain that level of success. The top athletic department in 2011, in terms of revenue, was the University of Texas with more than $160 million. UNT’s revenue in the same time period was under $18 million, according to the office of postsecondary education of the Department of Education.
From a practical standpoint, in order to reach the levels of national or even in-state prominence, UNT would have to increase its revenue by several times.
Many have signaled the upcoming move to Conference USA as a steppingstone in the development of UNT football. This is simply untrue. The University of Houston – a university which has had a much more successful past five years despite a similar budget – and other schools formerly of C-USA are leaving to join the Big East.
Basically, C-USA is the new Sun Belt Conference. UNT still remains $100 million in revenue short of national prominence and is stuck in neutral on the academic front.
Since the first game in Apogee Stadium in 2011, the Mean Green football team has won nine games. The stadium stands like a $79 million albatross built to keep pace in a football stadium arms race and it is extremely symptomatic of pre-recession excess.
Believing that a new stadium or moving to a new conference will somehow fuel success and excitement is purely 20th century thinking. UNT made a mistake in building Apogee and now it needs to decide whether or not to compound that mistake by continuing to expose itself to the risks associated with football.
UNT can be a great university and funneling money into a losing football program is nothing but a hindrance to that goal.
A university employed with the nurturing and teaching of generations of young men should not willingly subject them to the amount of risk that football entails.
Football has always been, and will always be, a dangerous game. The dangers are inherent and every player tacitly accepts that he will suffer bodily harm while playing. However, the evidence linking the violent collisions of football to concussion-related brain trauma and syndromes is too strong to simply cast aside in the same breath as broken ribs or a separated shoulder.
National Football League players, such as retired players Dave Duerson, Andre Webster and Junior Seau, and players in the midst of their career like Chris Henry were diagnosed after death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a brain condition caused by repeated trauma to the head, found most often in former football and hockey players. The disease is diagnosed post-mortem, and symptoms include dementia, memory loss, aggression and depression.
Due to the growing issue of liability and the personal safety of participants, football has an expiration date. Whether it’s ten years from now or 50 is debatable, but countless experts predict that, within this generation, the game that millions love and cherish will cease to exist.