Zirin on “Louisville Basketball and the NCAA’s Political Economy of Misogyny.”


Former University of Michigan and NBA star Jalen Rose, as quoted in the Detroit Free Press on the topic of college athletic recruitment:

“Yes, there is drinking. Yes, there is members of the opposite sex that are present. Remember, they’re trying to woo me to the campus … and as a 17-year-old kid, first off, if I’m not getting laid, I’m not coming. I’m not signing. I’m not coming.”

At times like this, as the fanatics rush to decry and defend the coach, I take a deep breath and remind myself that we’re about the only country in the world to confuse sports with education.

In this, it’s helpful to know that Dave Zirin is out there somewhere, writing about sports and those aspects of it embracing genuine significance. Zirin warns against moralizing and cynicism, and hits the center of the target.

Louisville Basketball and the NCAA’s Political Economy of Misogyny, by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

 … both of these reactions miss the most urgent issue—the NCAA’s political economy of misogyny. There’s a lesson in this scandal if we’re willing to learn it. It starts with Louisville Basketball, whose use of transactional sex as a method of recruitment produced results and made a small number of people very rich. Louisville has now been at the top of Forbes Magazine’s list of most valuable NCAA hoops programs for four consecutive years. Pitino won an NCAA title in 2013 alongside a new contract that pays him well in excess of four million dollars a year. The connective tissue before us between the political economy of amateurism and misogyny has been written in a neon script. It also shines a harsh light on how the use of women as currency links many of the public relations crises that plague sports and the psychological pain that plagues ex-athletes.