But fiddling with the rules to reduce risk is like advising alcoholics to cut back. Short of giving up tackle football, these schools are ensuring that a significant number of students will suffer serious injuries to their excellent brains.
Harvard and Yale, of course, are just two
of the hundreds of colleges that have varsity football teams. Why should they be singled out for doing what so many are doing?
One reason is that elite educational institutions have large responsibilities. Universities that are academic leaders have no business pretending there is no problem or waiting for others to act.
Their stature also gives them outsize influence. If Yale's Peter Salovey and Harvard's Drew
Gilpin Faust were to move to abandon the sport for reasons of health and safety, administrators at other colleges would be confronted with the question in a way they could not avoid.
With every game, Yale and Harvard are knowingly exposing their young charges to the serious risk of permanent incapacitating neurological injuries. How many students' brains have to be wrecked before they decide to stop?
Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https:// www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.