Your editorial last Sunday on UW athletics advances the antique idea that "amateur" collegiate sports should involve minimal investment and revenue.

That probably worked a hundred years ago. Today, the greatest amateur athletic event — the Olympics — involves hundreds of millions of dollars in both investment and revenues.

The editorial implies that institutions of higher learning, such as UW-Madison, really don't need an athletic program. Former UW Chancellor Donna Shalala was smart when she realized the overall value of the athletic program to creating greater interest in and support of the entire UW System.

The editorial barely acknowledges that the UW athletic budget is self-funded by the program. While students involved in athletics are not "paid," they often receive scholarships and considerable support from the athletic department to help them succeed on the field and in the classroom.

Students also benefit by acquiring skills that will help them succeed later in life, and some become professionals in their sports after graduation. They all make friends and valuable connections for life.

It's time the State Journal accept the reality of competitive collegiate sports today. How would you guys like to run a sports section with no advertisements and unpaid bloggers? I have a hunch you wouldn't sell too many papers.

Marvin J. Levy, Madison

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