Sports Rivalries

I was recently at a party where I talked with Terrence Johnson, a young guy who works for the northeastern sports network as a starting reporter.

He was filled with really down to earth wisdom about sports, but my conversation with me (in which I just shut up and listened given my lack of knowledge) left me with this interesting fact.

Sports rivalries are important, especially in college, for reasons of monitoring costs. You see, I always thought that sports rivalries were just the result of poorly directed feelings of frustration or anger on the part of immature college kids. Why don’t we like the school down the way? Who the hell knows. But it turns out that rivalries often spur rivals to monitor each other closely, and that this monitoring often results in disclosures of abuse of NCAA rules regarding player compensation, scholarships, or academic standards.

Since every school probably has at least one rival, the vehement and undirected dislike of a rival school serves to set up an unbribeable and inescapable watchdog. Interesting.


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