Page 4A OPINION East Oregonian Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Founded October 16, 1875 KATHRYN B. BROWN Publisher DANIEL WATTENBURGER Managing Editor TIM TRAINOR Opinion Page Editor MARISSA WILLIAMS Regional Advertising Director MARCY ROSENBERG Circulation Manager JANNA HEIMGARTNER Business Office Manager MIKE JENSEN Production Manager OUR VIEW End the scam of college football Oregonians love our college football) players earn a degree, according to the NCAA. And many football, especially since the of the athletes that do graduate are University of Oregon Ducks rose to clustered into “easier” majors that prominence in recent decades. allow them to focus on their sport, We’ve created good-natured but don’t set them up to succeed dividing lines between Ducks and later in life when the dream of the Beavers, and some of us make treks across the state to support our teams NFL disappears. Even if they do graduate, that from the stands and the sidelines. And it’s not just our two diploma is not free for many football players — many pay mightily in big-time state schools that earn our allegiance. Plenty of us root medical expenses, both in the short term and long term. for Washington State, Boise State, The NCAA allows schools to set Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon, too. A few even side with their own policies when it comes Alabama or Ohio State, UCLA or to paying their players’ medical expenses. While some schools do Notre Dame. The fandom gives us pay, it is not a requirement. Many joy, something to believe in and small schools hope for, as well as require athletes a way to pass cold Saturday mornings College football to shell out up to $10,000 from their in the comfort of is a morally own pocket before our warm couches. the university steps Some even have repugnant in. degrees from the If we’re not yet schools they root system that must ready to blow up the for, and victories be dismantled. system — and end on the field give a college football for sense of pride and good and remake it as a for-profit, accomplishment for the old alma developmental league — then mater. we have a few small changes that But this week has cemented should be the very least the NCAA what many have long known can do for its football athletes. to be true: College football is a Each student who secures an morally repugnant scam that must athletic scholarship should receive be dismantled. A safer and more free tuition to that school until they equitable system needs to be rebuilt earn a degree — even if it takes in its place, somewhere far from them an extra year or two or three America’s higher education system. due to their disrupted schedule. Ducks coach Willie Taggart And secondly, each should have has flown the coop, just a year full-coverage medical insurance paid after he was wooed to Eugene for by the school. If these young with a big contract, a $68 million men are putting their bodies on the athletic facility, and Phil Knight’s line, universities should be on the unlimited pocketbook and jersey hook for the cost of injuries that colors. Taggart lasted a year, having occur in the line of duty. made promises to recruits, the local Perhaps that will make college community and his own family that football too expensive. So be it. he did not keep. Let the best players make a buck Taggart will replace former in another league, and let colleges Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, concentrate on what they should be who in turn took a job with Texas A&M, for which he will be paid $75 doing: educating our nation’s young people. million as a state employee. That is Football is a dangerous sport, patently absurd on the face of it — but all societies have had gladiator then add in the fact that he will be games and likely always will. coaching a bunch of teenagers who The NFL must do what it can to are the reason the stands are packed, make the game safer, but in the end in some cases bringing millions its athletes are paid handsomely for of dollars to the university and the the risks they take. That is not the athletic department. case in the NCAA. Its athletes are The NCAA says they pay these treated like chattel while its coaches athletes with a college degree, an expensive piece of paper nowadays. and athletic directors accept millions and millions in taxpayer dollars. But even that is barely true when it End it. Rework the NCAA soon, comes to football players. About 55 but end college football now. percent of FBS (top level college AP Photo/Chris Pietsch, File In this 2014, file photo, Nike’s Phil Knight acknowledges the crowd on Uncle Phil Appreciation Night at Matthew Knight Arena. Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the East Oregonian editorial board of publisher Kathryn Brown, managing editor Daniel Wattenburger, and opinion page editor Tim Trainor. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of the East Oregonian. YOUR VIEWS Condolences, thanks to officer who shot suspect Condolences to the Pendleton police officer who neutralized the crime suspect near Walmart and his or her family for having to go through what they are going through now for doing what he/she is paid to do for us. Also, thanks. Gary Roberts Hermiston LETTERS POLICY The East Oregonian welcomes original letters of 400 words or less on public issues and public policies for publication. Send letters to 211 S.E. Byers Ave. Pendleton, OR 97801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. OTHER VIEWS Why the Alabama Senate race is shifting in Moore’s favor fter all that has happened, the and it remains the most serious today. Alabama Senate race appears Corfman has seemed credible in media to be reverting to a fundamental appearances, and Moore has not been political truth: A state that is one of the able to refute her story. The Moore most Republican in the nation is likely campaign realizes Corfman’s is the to vote Republican. most compelling allegation against Of course, there is still the him. possibility of some new and But the Post account also included devastating sexual misconduct the stories of three other women who Byron revelation about GOP candidate Roy said Moore asked them out when York Moore. But there is an increasing sense they were 16, 17 and 18 years old, Comment that the old and devastating sexual and whose cases against Moore did misconduct revelations are receding not involve any physical abuse or into the distant past of two weeks ago. Now, coercion. Moore is recovering in the polls and more Then there was Beverly Young Nelson, Alabama voters seem comfortable with the who said Moore assaulted her in 1977, when idea of voting for him. she was 16. Nelson made the mistake of Moore was six points ahead of Democratic retaining celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred when opponent Doug Jones in the she made her allegations, RealClearPolitics average and she also mishandled of polls before the first Moore’s contention that allegations. By Nov. 21, a signature in a yearbook Moore was eight-tenths of she produced, ostensibly a point behind Jones. Now, by Moore, might be a fake. Moore is back in the lead, Both moves reduced her but by just 2.6 points. credibility. It appears the So that is five accusers improvement in Moore’s right there. It is likely that fortunes is being driven by voters pushed four of them a gradual change in the Alabama electorate’s to the side, leaving Corfman. view of the allegations against him. In a Then there was a woman who said Moore Morning Consult poll taken in mid-November, grabbed her behind in 1991, when she was 43 percent said they found the sexual 28. A woman who said Moore asked her out misconduct allegations against Moore to be in 1982, when she was 17. A woman who credible, while 19 percent said not credible, said Moore asked her out repeatedly in 1977, and 37 percent said they did not know or had when she was 18, and gave her an unwanted, no opinion. “forceful” kiss. And finally, a woman who said In a newer poll by the same company, taken Moore asked her out several times in 1977, in the last week of November, 41 percent said when she was 22. they found the allegations credible, 21 percent Asked her out several times when she was said not credible, and 41 percent said they did 22 years old? That’s not the most outrageous not know or had no opinion. allegation in the news these days. Four more That’s not a huge change, but it’s a total accusers, some with very thin stories. six percentage point increase in the group of That makes nine. The point is not that none people who say the allegations are not credible of the accusers is telling the truth. Perhaps or who say they don’t know. some, or all, are. What appears to have In the poll, the number of Republicans who happened is that one very serious allegation said they don’t believe the Moore allegations was followed by a series of less serious, or stayed roughly the same. But there appears to less credible, accusations that in the end did have been a pretty significant shift from those not have the cumulative effect that Moore’s who earlier said they believed the allegations opponents perhaps hoped. to those who now say they don’t know. The bottom line is, instead of Roy Moore Among Democrats, the number who versus nine accusers, in many voters’ minds, said they did not believe the allegations the story is Roy Moore versus one accuser, ticked upward. The same occurred with Leigh Corfman. And that is where the mental independents. calculations begin. Part of the change — perhaps a large part Corfman’s allegation is serious; she was, — seems to reflect the idea that many voters after all, 14 years old. But it’s not airtight. And don’t view Moore’s accusers in the same way it was in 1979 — 38 years ago. Memories that many media figures do. A number of fade, or change. And even if it is all true, has media reports portray overwhelming evidence Moore changed in the nearly four decades against Moore. “He’s pitting his word against since? Is there a statute of political limitations? the word of nine women who accused him of Thoughts like that can change minds. varying degrees of sexual misconduct,” CNN Finally, many conservative voters see Jones reported recently. The message is that the as a doctrinaire liberal whose pro-choice sheer number of accusers means at least some views on abortion would likely be enough must be telling the truth. to ensure defeat in an Alabama race. And But it seems likely that some Alabama so Alabama Republicans are more and voters don’t see nine accusers. They see one. more assessing the situation as Alabama That one accuser is Leigh Corfman, who Republicans. It would be no surprise if they says Moore sexually assaulted her in 1979, vote that way on Dec. 12. when she was 14 years old. Published in the ■ Washington Post, Corfman’s was the first Byron York is chief political correspondent and most serious allegation against Moore, for The Washington Examiner. A Polls have Roy Moore back in the lead, but by just 2.6 points.