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Need to Know, March 4, 2011: Libya’s uprising, the high cost of college sports, Wisconsin’s unions

This week on Need to Know: Are college sports programs enabling universities to say afloat during tough economic times or are they hampering the classroom? While many state budgets have forced administrators to make painful cuts to academic programs, intercollegiate sports seem to remain unscathed, even in bleak economic times. We travel to Ohio University to see how athletic success has been affecting their academic mission.

Also: Princeton University professor Bernard Haykel speaks to us about what the international community’s responsibilities are with regards to the uprisings in the Middle East. And in light of the protests in Wisconsin, Jon Meacham sits down with Columbia University professor Gregory Wawro to discuss controversial political tactics being used by Wisconsin and Indiana legislators to avoid being forced to vote on cutting benefits and collective bargaining rights for unions.

And: Our Watch List segment, in cooperation with the Seattle Times, investigates exploitation and mistreatment of seniors at home-based facilities.

The episode airs Friday, March 4 — check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

What happens next in the Middle East?

Need to Know speaks with Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, who argues that the rest of the world has a responsibility to promote political dignity and good governance in the Middle East or “remain hostage to the pathologies of this region, which provide ample opportunity for al-Qaeda to reassert its narrative and influence.”

Libya’s uprising, in photos

It is now three weeks into the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi. This week, fighting continued throughout Libya. Thousands have fled the country and are still trying to get out. Need to Know narrates specific events through photographs taken by VII magazine photographer Franco Pagetti, who is in Benghazi. Check out our live blog for daily, in-depth reporting on the Libya’s revolt against the Gadhafi regime.

Sis, boom, bust: The high cost of college sports

State budget deficits have cast a pall on America’s public universities, forcing administrators to make painful cuts to make ends meet. But there’s one program that seems poised to emerge from this bleak time more or less unscathed: intercollegiate sports. Need to Know travels to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, to see how the pressure to compete as a NCAA Division I program is affecting the classroom.

Gregory Wawro on ‘filibuster by flight’ in Wisconsin and Indiana

Jon Meacham talks to Professor Gregory Wawro of Columbia University about the controversial political tactics being used by legislators in Wisconsin and Indiana to avoid being forced to vote on legislation cutting benefits and collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

The Watch List: Cottage industry

Need to Know, in cooperation with the Seattle Times, features an investigation that reveals exploitation and mistreatment of seniors at home-based facilities. Neglect and abuse by minimally-trained workers operating with little regulatory oversight often goes unreported and uninvestigated. (Original aired Sept. 17, 2010).

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    A symphony orchestra thrives in Congo, and we investigate faltering safety in work sites that police themselves. Also: South Sudan's historic election and Jami Floyd on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case. Maria Hinojosa guest hosts.
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    How will Greece's debt crisis affect the U.S. and the rest of the world? Also: California's radical new approach to statewide redistricting, and journalists Brian Stelter and David Carr discuss "Page One: Inside the New York Times."
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    We explore the inner workings of a military organization's $17 billion effort to combat IEDs, and Jami Floyd discusses the ramifications of the Supreme Court's decision on the Wal-Mart case. Also: The science of what makes a good marriage.


  • Bob in Ohio

    Once again, WOSU in Columbus pre-empts this show for commercial tripe and demonstrates why it is THE WORST PUBLIC TELEVISION STATION!

  • Fred

    Ch 8 in Phoenix Az has also pre-empted this program for some unknown Celtic singer, they seem to feel any thing celtic is hot. I will not be making my annual contribution this year.

  • Da_sco415en

    I am very disappointed at your slanted liberal lies that you applied to your Ohio University story. What you failed to say about the sports program story is that Football and Basketball brings in MILLIONS of DOLLARS in TV revenue contracts, sponsorship deals from shoe companies and sports drinks as well as ALUMNI. As Jim Calhoun said, His basketball teams bring $13,000,000 in an average year. I used to faithfully watch your program but I will no longer waste my time with you because if you lie about one thing then you lie about everything. A team that makes it to the Cotton Bowl get’s between 5-17 MILLION DOLLARS in TV revenue and profits. If you want to report on something useful, speak to the corrupt faculty and administrators misusing funds purchasing unnecessary book revisions from greedy publishers, or unneeded classroom equipment, etc… Any idiot can make false, half cocked accusations without proof or research. All this does is inflame people and move attention from the true problems. REAL SPORTS over at HBO usually give pretty accurate and truthful reports concerning athletic issues. Leave these issues up to them. By the way, that turd of a reporter covering this story looked really stupid with his fake patronizing tone and posture. This will be the last time I watch your program now that I know you are LIARS.

  • Sports fan

    Da I hate to tell you that your figures are wrong. Since you quoted a UConn source, you might like to know that UConn’s trip this past year to the Fiesta Bowl cost it $1.8 million – that’s right, cost it $1.8 million. I won’t call them lies but the myths that continue to circulate that football and basketball make money for their universities is true in a small percentage of cases. At Ohio University, student fees make up $15 million of the university’s athletic budget. Not one sport there comes close to turning a profit. This is not about having athletics or not but about deciding at what level we fund them. Sorry that you won’t be watching this program any longer. From reading your post it’s apparent that you could use some balance in the information you’re consuming.

  • OU Prof

    The facts are accurate. It is true that some schools with exceptional sports teams can use them to generate money (e.g. OSU and Michigan), but here at OU it is a one way transfer of funds. It will never be a profitable venture for us.

  • Chris Stephens

    I am an Ohio alum and I would love to know where Da_sco415en gets his facts. The O U football program could not possibly make money. The stands are never filled and if they are it is mostly students. Athletics are like the OU President having his own plane, they are not “cost”justifeid.

  • Amy Perko

    The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics provides straight-forward recommendations for financial reforms in our universities’ athletics programs in its report–Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values and the Future of College Sports.

    One of the core recommendations is for NCAA rules to require greater transparency of athletics finances and the reporting of better measures to compare athletics spending to academic spending

  • Laurence

    In Boston, the inital showing on Friday at 9:00 pm was pre-empted by a beg-a-thon. If you’re on cable, have a DVR and TV listings service, it’s worth the trouble to find the other times NTK is broadcast. On WGBH-TV, WGBX-TV and WGBX’s digital side-carrier WGBX-World, I was able to record and view NTK last week. Also, Comcast in Boston, and perhaps elsewhere, has video-on-demand of some PBS shows. That said: I have one comment about the ridiculousness of college sports. According to the Hartford Courant, the University of Connecticut at Storrs LOST 1.6-million dollars due to its appearance at the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day in Arizona. They couldn’t sell enough tickets even to BREAK EVEN! Gives you some idea about how gung-ho UConn alumni really are…they wouldn’t take an opportunity to get out of Connecticut in January!