Morning Joe | May 09, 2012
>>> welcome back to " morning joe ." with us pulitzer prize winning journal journalist buzz and tim green . we're going to have a debate here. buzz says we have to get rid of college football altogether.
>> that's a little extreme.
>> makes the case we we ought to get rid of it altogether.
>> it's a two-pronged attack. there are seeious medical issues we're just beginning to stand about football in johnson. the concussion issue and they're more dangerous the younger you are. and i think there's the academic issues. i think universities are there for a reason, which is academics academics. we're 14th in math, 14th in sign science, 14th in reading. it's a global competitive economy. i love football but i don't see what academic purpose it serves on college campuses.
>> how does getting rid of college football improve our standing in the world in terms of math and science?
>> because i think college is too much about distraction and i think football is the biggest distraction. there was a study done that surveyed nonathletes. drinking goes up and studying goes down because of the the excitement of a football program.
>> you can't blame football for everything, i'll tell you that. i do agree with buzz that our nation is -- there's a decline in our graduation rate of the general population . that's at 56% now, which he said is 14th in the nation -- in the world. football player graduation rates are on an incline. from i played they went from 60% to 70%. maybe football should be mandatory, maybe everybody should play football .
>> i want to read an excerpt. buzz provides the thickest layer of distraction in an atmosphere when college universities are all about distractions, nursing an obsession. cup really lay all this at the feet of football ?
>> i think can you lay it -- as i say, football is the biggest distraction. can you lay it at the feet of all football ? no, you can lay it at the feet of other ancillary activities. the thing about football , it's very, very expensive. some schools make money. 43% of the bcs colleges don't make money. you're talking about 95 kids, not talking about the entire student body. tuitions are going up. of course offerings are being cut. penn state has been through hell in terms of the budget cuts by the governor. as i say, universities are there for academics. they're not there for sports, they're not there for ancillary activities. if we're satisfied to be 14th, if we're satisfied to lag behind china and india in the global economy , that's fine.
>> i come at this from a football player's perspective because i played football . it's not just me and it not a small number . there are 23,000 full scholarship football players in this country every year and the money that they generate not on pays for their own education, and a lot of them be able to have otherwise but the surplus pays for a lot of the title 9 -- i think that's fabulous.
>> what's really the point here?
>> i think buzz is right about the problems, identifying the problems but i think he's wrong about the cure. getting rid of football is not going to cure it. it might have a little bit of an effect but we have to restructure from prekindergarten on our education system .
>> with that i agree.
>> we've got to motivate kids to le go into science and math.
>> i agree.
>> we're fighting this global economy with one hand behind our back because we don't get women in math programs. 2% of women earn math ph.ds. we have to restructure the whole experience. i think getting rid of football wouldn't cure much. i think the biggest problem is the medical part. would you let your kid play --
>> everyone is talking about the damage concussions do. how much damage? there's no study that says this much football creates this much risk. we don't know. alcohol creates bran damage as well. there are all kinds of things that create brain damage . you've got the junior seaus and people on the fringe of the extreme examples. we don't know what other kind of substances they've had throughout their lives or environmental impacts they've had. you can't just lay everything on the feet of football . when you look at statistics that we do know, which are mortality rates of athletes indirect and direct mortality rates, football is sixth, number six in each category in the ncaa in sport behind sports like hockey and lacrosse and water polo and skiing and gymnastics. so football really -- if we're going to eliminate football , i think we've got to say we're going to eliminate any sport that's a risk. it much more risky to drive a car or ride your bicycle down the street.
>> i'm not going to make the suicide link, suicide is very complex in in each of the 44 brains that b.u. has studied, they founded that the brain was ravaged, which would indicate it leads to early alzheimer's and depression. andre waters , was the first. no one hit harder. i don't know how many countless concussions he's had. they looked at his brain at the age of 43 and it was the shrivelled brain of an old man.
>> honestly, i'm hoping there isn't a connection. there are thousands of football players out there. do they have cte or don't they? i hope they don't. you can't say right now definitively it's doing all this tremendous damage. remember ten years ago no one wanted to talk on their cell phone . then they did the study and found out, gosh, there is no connection between cell phone use and brain cancer . so it's --
>> it's clearly a problem that should be study.
>> this athlete at penn, the family wanted his brain studied, it wasn't the concussions, it was the amount of repetitive hits. he had advanced cte. i love football . i love the violence. i'm one of the few people who say that's why i like it. it's not just concussion. it's repetitive hits. it could be as much as 40 gs.
>> quickly, do you think duke should get rid of basketball?
>> no, duke should get rid of football .
>> why isn't basketball a distraction?
>> at least in basketball they do well. in football --
>> i'll tell you what, though, buzz and i are in agreement on some things. the state of football is not perfe perfect. we think college athletes should have a nominal stipend.
>> they should be rid of it. a one and done, kentucky wins in the national championship , all five players are leaving. they don't care about education.
>> by the way, we won the debate.
>> okay, gentlemen.
>> i want a rematch. i want a rematch in ann arbor , michigan.
>> no way.
>> tuscaloosa, ann arbor , austin, forget it!