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How college sports make it almost impossible for athletes to be good students

How college sports make it almost impossible for athletes to be good students
USC quarterback J.T. Daniels is sacked by California defensive end Luc Bequette during a game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 10, 2018. (Alex Gallardo / AP)

To the editor: Plaudits for your editorial highlighting the financial and academic problems that high-profile varsity sports create for universities.

I’ve been a faculty member at USC since 1979 and have seen firsthand the outsized influence that big-money sports like football and basketball have on a university that has striven mightily — and successfully — to be taken seriously.

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I’ve also had a few athletes in my undergraduate courses whose main priorities have not included academics and, most importantly, whose time was eaten up by frequent required practice sessions and games played away from Los Angeles. These commitments — bordering on the professional — inevitably make it difficult for these athletes to benefit from the education that USC offers.

There are two issues you did not mention. First, in what universe is it OK for coaches to be paid millions more in salary than the university president or the most prominent faculty? Second, is any serious thought given to the damage caused by high-contact sports?

Gerald C. Davison, Los Angeles

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