SIU System President Dan Mahony and School of Education, Health and Human Behavior Dean Robin Hughes are teaming up this semester to co-instruct CI 495, “History and Current Issues in College Athletics.”
Mahony previously taught a similar class at University of Louisville as an assistant professor and at Kansas State as a dean, but co-instructed the course after he moved to Winthrop and joined the SIU system.
“This past semester, I actually taught a class that was in the Honors Program that was for both Carbondale and Edwardsville students with Dr. Bobbi Knapp here, she was my co-instructor. So Dr. Hughes will be the third co-instructor I’ve had in this class, and so I’ve been teaching the class for a while,” Mahony said. “The addition of a co-instructor always adds something different, and each one of them brings something different to the class, so I’m excited to work with Dean Hughes.”
Hughes has also taught a similar class over the past 20 years, focusing on current events in athletics, but Mahony will now teach the historical aspects of the class.
“The good thing is that President Mahony does the history part, so I don’t have to pretend like I’m a historian and try and grapple with that,” Hughes said. “Typically what I’ve done is I’ve had an expert, who is a friend who does history in sports, and I would invite them in to tackle that, and then I do the critical issues pieces, or current issues.”
Hughes said some of the issues she will focus on are deconstructing the notion of the “dumb jock,” and whether student-athletes should be paid.
“I’ll take particular focus at some commonly held myths, and then some commonly held … things we hear out there, like student-athletes and pay. Should we pay college athletes? That’s one that I love to tackle,” Hughes said. “So we’ll look at, like, what does an average day look like for a college student athlete, and we’ll ask student-athletes not just from SIUE, but from other institutions to join us in that discussion.”
Mahony said his discussions will cover how college athletics began, and how they have evolved throughout history.
“I actually go back to the 1800s and talk about how college sports developed, which was really developed by students, not by coaches or faculty or anybody like that, it was really just … student activities that the students developed on their own, and how that evolved from more intramurals and student-run organizations to the large enterprise we see as college athletics today,” Mahony said.
Mahony said while there are no current plans to teach the class at Carbondale, there is a possibility that the honors class may return.
“I don’t know yet what we’ll do after this year. We have talked a little bit about maybe doing what we did in the fall again, which was doing the honors class, which was open to students on both campuses. We may do that again next spring, but we’ll see,” Mahony said.
Jessica Schilli, a senior elementary education major from Benton, Illinois, took CI 495 last semester, but said the class was much different before, when it was called “Special Topics.”
“Before, the class was extremely hands-on. We spent pretty much the entire semester, we were split into groups, and given a household appliance that had been donated because it was broke,” Schilli said. “My appliance that I got that was broken was a Dustbuster, and we had to take whatever we had and completely take it apart and record everything we found in it, and we had to turn it into something else.”
Schilli said while she prefers the class she took as an elementary education major, the course’s usefulness to others depends on what they want to do.
“I definitely think people who plan to eventually be an athletic director within a school, it would be a really good class for them to take. If they’re wanting to pursue teaching P.E. that would be great for them as well, or if they’re wanting to coach … but I’m not sure if every single elementary major needs to be taking that class,” Schilli said.
Read more about the new class by visiting SIUE’s website.