•Shorten the basketball season and eliminate football spring practice. Also reduce the hours devoted to practices and film sessions in football.
•To give athletes a chance to get off to a good academic start, make freshmen ineligible in both sports.
•Reduce the number of football scholarships—currently an absurdly high 95—and link the new number to a school's athlete-graduation rate: The more players who graduate, the more scholarships a school may grant.
•To reduce the pressures to win, distribute the money derived from televised regular-season games and postseason appearances so that all schools wind up with more equitable shares.
•Abolish athletic dorms.
•Crack down on steroid use.
•Make the matriculation of athletes subject to approval by admissions offices, which would certify that the recruits are solid students and citizens or have the potential to become same. Require coaches to do everything possible to help athletes flourish in school.
•For athletes who don't belong in college or don't want to be there, let the NFL and the NBA start their own farm systems.
One reason none of these steps has been taken, even as the outrages have piled up, is that college sport has strong entertainment value, even among those whom one might expect to be most offended by the current state of affairs. Says Walden, "Very often, the people who went to school for the reasons the buildings were put up in the first place—the chemical engineer, the botanist—are the same ones who on Saturday dress up in funny clothes and blow their stupid horns at the games. They don't want to just see the team play, they want to see the team win. Odd. The people to whom academics mean the most end up being the ones who perpetuate nonacademic attitudes."
But college sports would still be fun if they were made to fit more securely within the framework of university life. It is up to the college presidents to make that happen. The buck stops with them. Because even the best-intentioned presidents won't dare risk the competitive disadvantages that would come with unilaterally scaling down and tightening up their athletic operations, they can do so only collectively, in an atmosphere charged with the urgency the task deserves. The historic event would be a lot like a disarmament conference.