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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 19, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Lakeside basketball: Part of a trend of forgoing students’ futures

Steve Ballmer, center, and Lakeside coach Tavio Hobson, left, play basketball with youths at Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club as part of the A PLUS Youth Program. Hobson had met Ballmer in the mid-2000s and had led workouts with Ballmer’s oldest son. (DEAN RUTZ / The Seattle Times, 2011)

The Steve Ballmer crusade at Lakeside School to buy athletics success at the high school level leaves me feeling incredibly sad [“With Ballmer’s aid, elite school pushed limits of prep-sports rules,” Local News, Aug. 17]. As a society, we have corrupted so many of the ideals and institutions that create opportunities for individuals to better themselves.

As an academic surgeon at the UW, I have witnessed continued erosion of academic standards in higher education and increased focus on money in all its forms as the only measure of true worth. I have been privileged to be a Lakeside parent and now see an institution that had the best interests of students at heart being subverted.

At the college level, the NCAA is a $10.5 billion enterprise that pays the people in charge extremely well, while allowing no protection for injured athletes. Mass entertainment makes and attracts serious money, in itself not a bad thing. The fact that we are taking our children and other vulnerable individuals in society and making them transient entertainers for us, with no thought given to their futures, is unconscionable.

What Ballmer’s wealthy posse is doing in subverting Lakeside solely for their entertainment is ineffably sad. What’s sadder still is that they probably don’t see it that way at all.

Marc Coltrera, Seattle

Comments | More in Sports | Topics: athletics, Lakeside School, Marc Coltrera

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