Originally Posted by rjakapeanut
in the eyes of the students -- the ones paying money -- they're going for the education. i understand what you're saying, what the univeristy is trying to do -- in regards to research and making money. i understand that. but the average student isn't interested in that. their goal is to get an education. that's the point i'm making here. i think if you ask 100 students why they went to school, most will tell you they went for the education and experience,
Now I'm probably going to open up a can of worms here, but I'll say it anyways. You say that students aren't interested in research, but instead in receiving a quality education. How do you define a quality education? Who would provide this quality education? I think that the research ability of a university is strongly related to the level of education that is provided. Why do people go to schools like M.I.T. or Harvard, etc.? Likely to receive a good education you could assume. So why is it that these schools have reputations for providing a quality education? Likely because of the professors/instructors that teach there. I don't think it is coincidence that these "quality" teachers are also likely to be widely considered as top researches in their respective fields. My point here is that you probably can't separate out education from research. Now, you probably are correct that the average student doesn't care about research and how the university provides quality instruction to them, but that doesn't mean the mechanics behind it are unimportant. I don't particularly care how my car runs, but I do care that it runs.
Now, of course, everything I just said isn't absolute law or anything. I'm sure there are small college that don't produce research in any meaningful sense that provide an excellent education. Likewise there are researches out there who are horrible teachers and could care less about student learning. But both of these groups are probably marginal at best. With all this said your argument is turning into less of one about athletics affecting school budgets and more of a big university vs. small school comparison.