Brady Hoke and the Old Prince Dilemma

Brady Hoke

We all know him, we all watch him clap endlessly on the sidelines on football Saturdays, and we all wonder about his future: Brady Hoke, the head football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines. As many may know, Hoke’s future with the team is in serious question, following many seasons of incompetence and loss. After a 7-6 season last year, and the team off to a 4-5 start this year, many Michigan fans have become restless, and demand a change. Hoke has fallen prisoner to the philosophy of Machiavelli, and how a prince’s term affects his approval.

In Chapter XXIV of Machiavelli’s The Prince, he explains how leader’s success at various points in their career can either make or break them. Machiavelli states “for the actions of a new prince are more narrowly observed… because men are attracted more to the present than the past, and when they find the present good they enjoy it”(Machiavelli, Ch. 24). When Brady Hoke accepted the head coaching job at Michigan, he hit the ground running. Through his first season in 2011, the Wolverines cruised to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl win. Michigan fans instantly fell in love with Hoke. He was so tightly observed, and so loved for bettering the program, he was hard to hate.  Continue reading

Are Professional Athletes Really Professional ?

In class, we discussed professionalism and what jobs are considered professional. One job that gets to own professionalism is professional athletes. They get to use professional as their title. However, are they really professional? The definition of professionalism from our lecture is “an occupational grouping that has the sole authority to recruit, train and supervise its own members.” Under this definition professional athletes are not all that professional. They do train, but they do not do their own recruiting, and their job is not to supervise. So why do we consider them professional? We consider them professional because they get paid more than the average household income, they have professional training, they have sponsorships, and they are a step above amateurism. They certainly do not work a nine to five job, they do not dress in business attire, and though they do get recruited themselves but athletes do not do the actual recruiting.

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A Marathon Over the Hill

The topic of women in athletics continues to be an ongoing controversy in America and all over the world. Even though progress has been made, there are still clear differences in the treatment of women in sports versus men. However, with the constant discussion about the gender differences between men and women, is society overlooking the obvious differences and discrimination against older people in sports? Do people ever stop to think about the cultural norms attached to being “Over the Hill?”

After reading Ariel Levy’s article “Either/Or,” I gained a better understanding of the nature of gender norms and sex and the resulting barriers to participation in sports due to these norms. Historically, men have been thought to be generally more athletic than women and more fit to participate in sports (see Title IX). There used to be institutional barriers to participation in which women were simply not allowed to participate in specific sports. Society has since made progress in attempting to eliminate most, but not all, of these institutional barriers. However, there are still value barriers that make it difficult for women to engage in certain sports due to societal norms and cultural beliefs. Some value barriers present false beliefs about the competence of women such as sexist comments like “girls can’t throw” and “women should wear dresses.” Other value barriers follow the assumption that because women participate in something, it makes that institution inferior. Continue reading

Declaring For More Than the NBA

Stauskas, Randle, Embid, Wiggins. Nik, Julius, Joel, Andrew. If you know the player personally, and odds are you don’t, only then do you have a right to share your input in his decision. Now, I’m not saying debate is out of place– in fact, I derive this rant from a previously opposing point of view. For years, I was the naive fan: selfish, unyielding, and ignorant. Understanding a new perspective is difficult, and emotion often consumes our mind and clouds our opinion. Today’s basketball scene is synonymous with money and fame. Movie, media, and music moguls frequent the sidelines of NBA 20121208_Nik_Stauskasgames and even locker rooms (I’m looking at you, Drake). With their presence now afflicting the college game, a dangerous dynamic has been created. With increasingly young and successful rosters (Michigan ’91-’93 to Kentucky ’12,’14, Kansas ’14, Arizona ’14 –the list goes on and on) combining with the atmosphere of money and fame, it is no surprise some college basketball fans are upset over the changes ensuing in their sport. But, lines have been crossed, and often without a smidgen of perspective. Often times, these uber-talented young players come from underprivileged circumstances. Not always, but often.

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