A WNAX story about SDSU’s effort to translate its athletic publicity into recruitment of students and donors got me thinking about our sportless vo-tech schools. Without so much as a croquet team, our vo-techs keep enrolling thousands of students. Lake Area doesn’t need a football stadium with skyboxes to draw the attention of President Barack Obama and ten-million-dollar donor MacKenzie Scott. And as I noted last Sunday, our vo-tech graduates get jobs that pay pretty good starting wages compared to South Dakota’s average pay.
South Dakota has four institutions of higher education that provide paycheckable skills to thousands of students every year while spending zero dollars on sport. No coaching staffs, no far-flung athlete-recruiting trips, no astroturf or arenas, just smart people teaching useful skills.
If our legislators are really interested in improving efficiency at our Regental institutions and not just promoting the ill-informed Republican war on education, perhaps they could ask the Regents to what extent they could replicate the vo-techs’ sportless yet successful business model.
Related Reading: This article will probably sound too much like critical race theory to our legislators, but two Brookings Institute scholars say college sports relies on a fundamentally regressive and unjust business model that transfers wealth from poor minority students to wealthy and mostly white students and coaches.