At its monthly meeting, the Faculty Assembly of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of San Diego discussed “the prudence of an institution of higher education sanctioning an activity that may be dooming its participants to debilitation,” according to the San Diego Tribune.
The topic was raised by three USD professors proposing a non-binding resolution to ban the school’s successful Division I football program.
History professor Kenneth Serbin told the Tribune, “As faculty members, one of our primary duties is to safeguard the well-being of our students. We believe playing tackle football, especially in light of the scientific evidence, is a danger to our students.”
“If you see two people banging their heads repeatedly against each other, this is likely to bring about danger, sickness. It’s so obvious," added professor of phsychology Navad Goldschmied. "Now we have scientific evidence, we have something to back it up. … This is not a healthy game. This is a dangerous game. It is clear. There is no gray area here.”
While other sports also present a risk of potential head injury, physics professor Daniel Sheehan maintains that other sports can be more easily altered to prevent head trauma.
Said Sheehan, “The laws of physics are stringent, and they make it very difficult for football to be safe — without head impacts. You either slow the game down or outlaw head impacts. … In 20 years, football as we know it will not exist, I don’t think. Too much is being known.”
A vote held at the Faculty Assembly resulted in a 50-26 defeat of the proposed ban, with 30 abstentions. However, university president James Harris has said the topic is open to further discussion.
Said Serbin, “We would hope this would spark other universities to follow in our footsteps. We don’t see the vote as a total loss. We see the vote as a starting place.”