• Sean Coffey

When it’s your alma mater, you listen harder.

On Wednesday night, NBC’s Bob Costas hosted a “town hall” on college sports and its discontents, and there are so many of those that two hours was barely enough time to wave at a few of them. Of course, it wasn’t two hours. Advertisers love big-time college sports on TV—even TV dedicated to exploring what’s wrong with big-time college sports. So about a third of Costas’s 120 minutes were turned over to sponsors and their messages.

And doggone it, in the time Costas had left he never managed to get around to a question that might strike you and me as pretty central: what role, if any, has the billions of TV dollars thrown at big-time college sports played in corrupting them?