East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 06, 2017, Page Page 4A, Image 4

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    Page 4A
East Oregonian
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Founded October 16, 1875
Managing Editor
Opinion Page Editor
Regional Advertising Director
Circulation Manager
Business Office Manager
Production Manager
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
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
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
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.
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
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 editor@eastoregonian.com.
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
possibility of some new and
But the Post account also included
devastating sexual misconduct
the stories of three other women who
revelation about GOP candidate Roy
said Moore asked them out when
Moore. But there is an increasing sense
they were 16, 17 and 18 years old,
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,
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.
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
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.
Polls have Roy
Moore back in
the lead, but by
just 2.6 points.