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December 8, 2010


Last week in discussion we had a whole discussion about sports. The discussion primarily focused on if it is necessary to level the playing field in different sports to make the competition fair or if everybody should have an equal chance to play at all levels.

My personal feelings on this matter are that it  is definitely necessary to level the playing field especially when it comes to sports. A good example of why this should happen comes from an example of my own experience. I played a lot of recreational basketball in high school in league with a lot of my friends.  In this league anybody who played high school basketball was not allowed to play and because of this the league was very competitive. However, during the summer I played in a league where everybody was allowed to play, and this league was much less competitive and not really fun for anyone besides the very talented high school basketball players who dominated the league.

Now some would argue that I am just complaining just because these better players worked harder than I did and thus are better players. However, I would say this is not the case in this type of situation. These  high school players have been exposed to so much more basketball resources, including mandatory practices, various coaches and all kinds of different facilities. These things which are not available to an everyday recreational basketball player.

My main point here basically is that the main element of determining fairness in sports is availability to certain resources. It is not surprising that certain colleges are good at everything consistently ever year, this is due primarily to the fact that some schools have more money and thus more resources than   other schools.

I think to highlight my point i should give an example of a league in which i think is fair. I believe the NFL and NBA to be fair leagues because due to the salary cap each team has the same amount to spend on their resources, in this their case players. The competition in these league doesn’t come down to resources but hard work and good strategy. Where as, in baseball where there is no salary cap certain teams with a lot of money can buy all the best players and win in this fashion.



  1. xiaoyzhang permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:14 PM

    I completely disagree that fairness should be enforced in sports. That would completely take out the competition aspect of it. If you were better than someone else at one sport, there should be no rules that should be enforced that gives a scrub more advantages so that he or she can produce the same amount as the person who is better. In your example of high school basketball player vs. the recreational player, the high school basketball player simply put in more work, so he deserves to dominate the scrubs. If the rec. player put in more time, he might be just as good as the high school basketball player. Fairness completely trumps the idea of a capitalist society, especially in sports. If you have the resources to be better than someone else, then thats just fair game. There should be no rules to hinder someone, especially sports.

  2. jmrusso permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:34 PM

    I agree with your point about having leagues that balance out the quality of players that are allowed to play. I think that leagues are without a doubt needed so that competition is at a peak. Your personal anecdote provides a great reason as to why these various leagues are needed. However, I do disagree with you on the conclusion of your post about the equality created in professional sports. Just because there is a salary cap in a league does not mean that it is not fair. Some teams may not have enough money to even reach the salary cap. Another fact is, take a look at the Miami Heat. They just brought in the three biggest names in the NBA over the past free agent season. Did this acquisition make the NBA more competitive? Obviously not, the salary cap has no influence on how competitive a sport is. Lets take a look at baseball. Yes everyone knows that the Yankees salary cap is enormous, but did they win the World Series this year? Plain and simple; no. Money does not buy everything and a salary cap definitely does not always make a league completely fair.

  3. Shauna Sitarek permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:41 PM

    I agree with whom ever commented on this post. It is ridiculous to have a kind of fairness be enforced in sports! The whole point of sports and competition is that someone can have natural talent or they can work extremely hard so they can beat natural talent. I think even with their theories, the theorists that we have studied would have understood the concept of sports and necessary competition.

  4. Jessie Altman permalink
    December 8, 2010 10:49 PM

    I think that a level-playing field is necessary but only to a certain degree. In your basketball anecdote I don’t agree that excluding the high school basketball players from the league makes it better and more competitive. Perhaps the competition with the much better player would inspire the recreational players and turn them into better athletes. If recreational players only played in a league with themselves they would get a false sense of their talents and get a reality check when they tried to join an upper level basketball league. They would not be challenged or forced to improve their skills. However, while I do think that high school players should be able to join the league I don’t think it would help anyone if college or professional players played on the same level as high school or recreational players. It would not even be a competition. Therefore there should be a limit to a fair-playing field. For example in economies there are regular markets and there are monopolies. In order to ensure that monopolies don’t dominate the economy the government places taxes and quotas to limit their production. At the same time, governments create subsidies to help businesses that need the extra help to survive .

  5. rickover09 permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:50 AM

    When looking at it from the bigger picture sure caps make things sound peachy and fair but are they really? I agree that there should be a cap, limiting how much each team owner can spend on his desired TEAM, however not a cap on individual players. By placing a cap even when talking about an entire team I don’t think its fair to the players but that’s where the competition aspect of things chimes in, you have to better than the next guy so you can get a better check at the end of the day. By having to pay more for one player you are playing for a better resource, better skill, thus hoping and expecting better results. This being the case I don’t think the high school basketball players should be left out of the outside league but the league itself should be limited to high school aged teens, it wanting to limit who actually takes part. As stated by the blogger, by keeping the high school athletes off the league there is more competition but it should also be noted that at the same time they are being penalized because they are good at something, how is that fair? This also being the reason I believe there should not be a cap on any individual player, but, as a means of keeping things relatively fair there should be a cap on how much each team can spend as a whole on their players.

  6. Rebecca Marber permalink
    December 9, 2010 2:48 PM

    I am a huge Yankee fan. I grew up watching and attending the games with my family, and am really attached to the spirit of the team. That being said, you either love the Yankees, or you hate the Yankees. Whenever I tell people of my baseball loyalty, eye rolls typically ensue. Other teams resent the Yankees because they are said to have more resources for “buying” their players. But if you have the money to do so, why wouldn’t you? Why should the Yankees decide all of a sudden that they don’t want to be a solid team, and sacrifice their season because they want every team to be equally skillful? This is the problem that I see with Marx’s theory in his Communist Manifesto: in theory it works, but how do you convince those with more resources to give some of those resources up? I admit that it may not be fair– but I am won over by years and years of dedication to the team that I’m not quite willing to give it all up in the name of fairness. Yes, this is wrong perhaps, but it is the truth of human nature and the hole in Communism.

  7. Eric Ju permalink
    December 9, 2010 11:01 PM

    The fact that a college or a team does not have has much resources as another doesn’t add to the unfairness of a game. In your recreational high school league, the people on the actual team did better than the recreational players not only because they were exposed to more basketball, but because they were better and were good enough to be on the team in the first place. Trying to say that resources makes a huge difference in sports is a huge misconception and insults to the competitiveness of sports. In the NBA for example all teams must follow the same salary cap, yet some teams are blatantly worse than others. In Baseball and soccer in Europe, the richest teams don’t always end up winning the big trophies. The unfairness that is resulted is because of the difference in talent and that is something that should not be restricted

  8. December 9, 2010 11:58 PM

    There is only one reason to level the playing field in professional sports and thats money. No one wants to watch one team win year after year just because they can afford to do so. People say that the Yankees win because they can afford the best players. That is not completely true. Many of their best players came up through their farm system. Most all american sports leagues are fair and balanced. Year to year in the NFL teams can go from great to terrible. Just look at the Carolina Panthers. I think it was two years ago they won the NFC South, now they are the worst team in football. Its not like any of our leagues would also not allow the greatest player in the world to play even if he dominated all aspects of every game. We would love to watch that and no business man would ever turn that person away saying your to good to play here.

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