TO ASPIRING GEORGE WILLS AND CHARLES KRAUTHAMMERS:
We’re seeking entries for an inaugural collegiate essay contest. The winning op-ed will appear in the print edition of our magazine, and we’ll write its author a check for a cool $1,000.
Submissions should grapple with the question at hand in a thoughtful, journalistic manner, and should draw on facts, figures, and personal experiences. Each essay should run approximately 1,500 words. Wit and humor are encouraged but not required.
Send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org as a Word document attachment.
Entries are due by October 15.
THIS MONTH’S ESSAY PROMPT:
Should Tackle Football Be Abolished?
College football is an increasingly controversial spectacle, for two core reasons:
First, there are those (including the aforementioned George Will) who argue that the gridiron pushes the human body past normal physiological limits. Critics complain that watching 300-pound men crash into each other at high rates of speed offers about as much pleasure as seeing Roman gladiators hack each other to pieces. And while college football is voluntary, many players see it as a ticket to the NFL — and their one shot at success.
Then there’s the money. It’s a cycle: High-paid coaches beget football wins, which beget alumni donations, which beget bigger perks to attract stronger players… Yet how can such revenue not corrupt? These days, an institution of higher education increasingly consists of a football program with an attached professoriate — not the other way around.
Should college players be paid to compensate them for the risks they undertake? Should academic standards be tightened to restrict college athletics to serious students, so universities can no longer act as farm teams for the various professional leagues? Is the heavy hand of the NCAA (or the law) warranted to resolve these problems? Or is college football perfectly defensible in its current form? Are its critics just whiny pantywaists?
The winner will be notified via email in late October or early November. He or she will be required to furnish a transcript (unofficial is fine) to prove undergraduate student status, and must sign our standard copyright release form. Essays will be judged by a panel of Spectator editors, who retain the right to choose no winner. Email email@example.com with additional questions.