Movie Review of 'The Program'

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The Program (1993): Review Although everyone knows that the NFL is a business, the fact that college football is just as much of a money-making endeavor is often ignored, because of fine slogans about amateur sportsmanship and teamwork. However, the film The Program (1993) shows that this supposed 'amateurism' is a sham at many big universities. The coach of the university in the film must often bend his ethical standards, because of pressure from the administration to win at all costs. Coach Sam Winters, as played by James Caan, is well aware that many of his players do not have a prayer of graduating, and have only been selected to go to college because of their football talent. It is his job to make them into fine athletes and to win games to make alumni and students happy, not to educate them. The film portrays a gamut of different types of athletes: white, black, talented, and average. Their one uniting characteristic is that all of them have high expectations of what football can do for them and their future. The film asks the question is what Coach Winters does unethical, by bolstering players' hopes and competitive spirit, even if they are essentially being used by the university, not to improve their own fortunes? If the university is supposed to behave 'in loco parentis' it is shown to be a failure in this regard. Winters subjects his football players to grueling practices and pep talks, to prepare them for what they will face on the field. However, he
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