Christian Hypocrites Downfield

The best-known so far is Jim (“In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids.”) Tressel, but in today’s New York Times Joe Nocera identifies a rival for top seed.

[Baylor University president] Ken Starr was as complicit in the two-year-long silence [about a football player/rapist)] as anybody in the Baylor athletic department, which makes his current “anguish” seem like little more than P.R. posturing…

But it’s at moments of crises like this one when people discover how a university, and its president, prioritizes athletics. Baylor, a Baptist school that professes to adhere to Christian principles, appears to have “sheltered” a “perpetrator,” to use Starr’s own words, because this particular perp might be able to help the team win a few games.

The Paranoid Style in American Professors

Since it’s attracted a lot of attention, even prompting the president of Washington State University to make a public statement against it, UD doesn’t know how long this syllabus will remain online. But for now you can feast your eyes on one of the strangest documents UD has seen in awhile. If you told me it was written by a bitter washed-up person who’d been the relentless object of her students’ contempt for decades, I’d say well okay… I can see how a lifetime of abuse would inspire this sort of long angry welcome to my classroom, assholes out to destroy me

But the instructor is a young person. A graduate student.

The part of the syllabus people are talking about and against which the university’s president is defending his school, is this:

Gross generalizations, stereotypes, and derogatory/oppressive language are not acceptable. Use of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, classist, or generally offensive language in class or submission of such material will not be tolerated. (This includes “The Man,” “Colored People,” “Illegals/Illegal Aliens,” “Tranny” and so on – or referring to women/men as females or males.) If I see it or hear it, I will correct it in class since it can be a learning moment for many students. Repeated use of oppressive and hateful language will be handled accordingly – including but not limited to removal from the class without attendance or participation points, failure of the assignment, and – in extreme cases – failure for the semester.

This is the Kindergarten Teacher/Mao Zedong multiple personality type we do sometimes see in certain courses of study in American universities. The problem is that the professor wants to be nice but wants at the same time to subject her reactionary charges to the harsh re-education process the little fuckers deserve.

The results of this muddle are reliably funny, as when, at the end of this seven-page screed against students she hasn’t even met yet, the professor writes

No Class / Have a fantastic break!

It’s like the Alternately Rude and Polite Monty Python sketch.

A mind is a terrible thing to concuss.

But at least there’s a humongous new movie all about what our college football players experience in school, and then experience again when they graduate to the pros.

As you watch the trailer, think of all the university (hell, high school) coaches we’ve covered on this blog who let their players continue playing while they’re still reeling from a hit.


“[I]t will sure be fun to watch the NFL attempt to bury or explain this film away come December.”

As for the NCAA, UD is sure they’ll maintain an – er – studious silence.

A GW Student is Missing in South Africa.

He had gone swimming “in the East Cape Province on Sunday, on the country’s ‘Wild Coast,’” and has not been seen since then.


Nicholas Upton has drowned.

UD’s cousin Karen stars in the softest of …

soft core.

Oliver Sacks, a spectacular writer and a complex and intriguing human being…

… has died.

He did interesting things.

In 1974, Dr. Sacks tore his left quadriceps while running from a bull on a Norwegian mountaintop...


Like James Merrill, who notes in his great poem Santorini: Stopping the Leak that as an artist he has always suffered from “psychic incontinence” – an uncontrollable tendency to imagine the experience of others, to lose himself and get inside them sympathetically and try to give language to their experience – Sacks says he was

fascinated by my patients ….[I] cared for them deeply, and felt something of a mission to tell their stories — stories of situations virtually unknown, almost unimaginable, to the general public and, indeed, to many of my colleagues. I had discovered my vocation …

He also put it like this:

“I would like it to be thought that I had listened carefully to what patients and others have told me … that I’ve tried to imagine what it was like for them, and that I tried to convey this.”

It’s what Iris Murdoch describes as the artist’s capacity/compulsion to “see the vast interesting collection of what is other than himself and … not picture the world in his own image.” The larger Murdoch quotation makes clear that this impulse is as moral as it is aesthetic:

[M]ost great writers have a sort of calm merciful vision because they can see how different people are and why they are different. Tolerance is connected with being able to imagine centers of reality which are remote from oneself. The great artist sees the vast interesting collection of what is other than himself and does not picture the world in his own image. I think this kind of merciful objectivity is virtue…


Like Christopher Hitchens, who wrote up to the last moments of his life, a friend of Sacks said of him toward the end, ” We are pretty sure he will go with fountain pen in hand.”

A local writer puts down some fine Waco prose.

A Texas sports journalist puts the rape scandal at Baylor in perspective for us. (UD‘s comments appear in brackets.)


So am I calling Art [Briles, Baylor football coach,] a liar?

Yes, I’m calling him a big-time college head football coach in the same classification as Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Jimbo Fisher, etc. [These are all the biggies, plus etc. – i.e., pretty much everyone else.]

Check their rosters. [Plenty of scary people on them. But c’mon on: The Steelers just signed Michael Vick.] These are coaches who will always gamble on talent over character, and when that talent brings trouble to campus, the talent will be protected and coddled. These coaches just don’t care, and they are powerful enough they don’t have to care.

Art doesn’t have to care at Baylor. And it’s paid off big time for him and the school.

Well, it was paying off. Except now, all hell has broken loose.

Briles, however, won’t stop gambling on bad actors, even now, unless at some point, he’s ordered to stop. But who exactly gives that order in Waco? [Baylor president] Ken Starr?

On that leave ’em laughing note, we know heads will roll over all this. And we know Art will be watching from a Waco safe place, high above it all. [Hilarious to think that the official head of a football factory has any power. The God who stands above it all directing and watching is the coach. UD read somewhere – can’t find the link – that a sacrificial woman from somewhere in the administration has been selected to suffer for her Art.] [Good one, UD.]


Remember: This guy is writing about a place that was founded as a university.


Oh. And here’s a great blast from the past. In a recent tussle with his league over their team ranking system (it placed Texas Christian, the place Briles found Baylor’s most famous rapist, over Baylor), Briles said

[The league is] obligated to us because we’re helping the Big 12’s image in the nation.

Totally, Art, and keep up the good work.

This seems to be the other thing (besides the …

… rampantly happy Black Eyed
Susan Vine
) that I bought at
Brookside Gardens weeks ago.


After some research, I think
it’s a sunflower. A sunflower
that’s about to bloom. And
that’s doing really well in
mixed sun and shade.

I had forgotten what
seeds I bought.

UD Loves Temporality, University Football-Style.

The arrest is the first for an Arkansas player since defensive end Tevin Beanum was arrested in late February for DWI.

Yeah, this here’s a real shocker. Why, I can barely ‘member last time someone on that team got himself arrested… Was it… way back in April? Nah. Even farther back than that… I know! No wonder I had such trouble ‘membering. It was February!

Bravo. This is just the sort of guerrilla warfare rape-friendly schools deserve…

… and their incoming students need. Before the University of Montana administration took them down, the following signs greeted this fall’s students:

Montana Hunting Season OPEN. Female Students The Prey.

Get Drunk. Get Raped. The Players Are Ready.

Next Rapee, C’MON DOWN!!

Baylor University… will [eventually] deliver a big check to a woman raped by one of its scholarship football players.

And along with a check, you get a book!

It’s not quite Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, but heads are rolling real fast…

… at the University of Illinois, where one after another, in the space of a few days, the chancellor, the provost, and now the football coach have all been fired or resigned. People are calling for the school to fire the athletic director.

Predictably, the coach thingie is about how twisted big-time American university football is. UD can’t get enough of the fact that the high-profile normal people on campus (football players, frat boys, coaches) almost always, when the shit hits the fan, turn out to be absolute pervs next to whom the weirdo humanities types are the actual mainstream. It’s the players who are often enduring a sick masochistic family relationship with their sadistic coach daddy.

Before the Illinois athletic director could no longer deny the sadism going on in his program, he dismissed player complaints about the coach by saying this:

“The feedback I get from players and our players’ families is that our coaches genuinely care for them and treat them like their own children,” Thomas said May 11.

How to unpack all the ugly in this statement? Since when do you treat adult males like children? But of course dominating and infantilizing and then intimidating players is the name of the game in much college football coaching. Like the sickest father ever, you embrace them and then scare the shit out of them if they disobey you. Daddy Dearest. Coach would make his own son play injured; he’d terrify his kid by telling him he’s gonna lose his scholarship if he doesn’t do what he tells him to do. He’s verbally abusive.

I mean, sure. There are fathers like this. It’s called child abuse.

This coach had already been accused of abuse.

Beckman was the subject of a lawsuit, later dismissed on a technicality, alleging the same kind of disregard for player injuries that would get him run out of Champaign.

But no. Oh no. We’re being pussies, aren’t we? Have you noticed how long the pussy list is getting? How many names the bruisers who love bigtime university and professional football now have to keep track of in order to dismiss them with contempt? Most recently there’s the name Chris Borland; and, at Illinois, there’s Simon Cvijanovic, who didn’t appreciate the unrelenting viciousness of the coach. There are many others; and the university officials whose job it is to keep their massively indebted football programs alive will no doubt want to encourage the frat boys and others as they cry pussy.

UD has covered so many of these coaches – highest public salary in the state, private jets, country clubs, worshipped by all, and physically and psychologically beating the shit out of their players.

And do you think a guy like this is going to let the university deprive him of a penny?

He will not receive the $3.1 million remaining on the last two years of his original five-year contract or the $743,000 called for if his contract had been bought out, the university said.

If he doesn’t sue, UD will be astonished.


Update: Here we go.

UD thanks Wendy.

“[T]here was a lot of real quality dialog that took place in that weekend.”

A few years ago, when he was football coach at the University of Washington, Steve Sarkisian went on a couple of those all-important coach retreats – at taxpayer expense, of course – so that real quality dialog, as he puts it up there, could take place. This article shows you two receipts for two such events, representing major hundreds of dollars in state-reimbursed booze for between ten and fifteen people.

UD would love to have been at those dialogs. Like this, only with guys.

Now that Sarkisian has behaved, uh, strangely at his latest job (the upshot of those expensive dialogs is that Sarkisian dumped his UW job right after UW paid for them), the gloriously scandal-free University of Southern California, people are… I dunno… beginning to ask whether Coach might have a wee problem. Which has brought on one of the peppiest Coacha Inconsolata pieces UD has ever read. (Put Coacha Inconsolata in my search engine for clarification of that term.)

TIME TO GET OFF SARK’S BACK, orders the campus paper’s sports editor. Coach’s public apology was

as down as I’ve seen Sarkisian, or any college football coach for that matter, during his tenure at USC — even worse than the team’s last-second loss last year to Arizona State.

Pure Coacha Inconsolata. After all, there he was, “manning up and opening up about his issues in front of reporters — not an easy thing to do.” Courage, indeed, to hold a press conference when your public behavior is so obscene that you don’t have any choice.

The writer ends on his strongest argument.

[I]f this year’s team wants any chance at playing in the Pac-12 championship game or even the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game, they’re going to need Sarkisian — not in rehab, not at home, but on the sidelines with his headset on and ready to go.

Shambling wreck or not, we need this guy!


Two other quick points:

1.) Keep in mind Norwood Teague’s recent alcohol-fueled demise at Minnesota. USC’s president is surely thinking about the damage ol’ Norwood did to that school as he ponders Sarkisian’s fate.

2.) What’s with the need for weekend retreats on top of all the country club memberships coaches get? Can’t these guys meet anytime at one of the clubs USC is paying for?

Gohmert at the Galleries.

A congressman famed for his anger
Wants museums to bust Margaret Sanger.
Their refusal leaves Louie
– At zero for two-y –
To calm himself down with his wanger.

Publicists for a New Harvard University Press Book about Grad School in the Humanities…

… have asked UD to read it and write about it. The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It. It’s by Leonard Cassuto.

She’s already reading it – these days they give it to you via download – and will review it on her blog.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
Dissent: The Blog

[UD belittles] Mrs. Palin's degree in communications from the University of Idaho...
The Wall Street Journal

Professor Margaret Soltan, blogging at University Diaries... provide[s] an important voice that challenges the status quo.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Inside Higher Education

[University Diaries offers] the kind of attention to detail in the use of language that makes reading worthwhile.
Sean Dorrance Kelly, Harvard University

Margaret Soltan's ire is a national treasure.
Roland Greene, Stanford University

The irrepressibly to-the-point Margaret Soltan...
Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
Perplexed with Narrow Passages

Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
Outside the Beltway

From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
Money Law

University Diaries offers a long-running, focused, and extremely effective critique of the university as we know it.
Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association

The inimitable Margaret Soltan is, as usual, worth reading. ...
Medical Humanities Blog

I awake this morning to find that the excellent Margaret Soltan has linked here and thereby singlehandedly given [this blog] its heaviest traffic...
Ducks and Drakes

As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
The Bitch Girls

Many of us bloggers worry that we don’t post enough to keep people’s interest: Margaret Soltan posts every day, and I more or less thought she was the gold standard.
Tenured Radical

University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
Mary Beard, A Don's Life

[University Diaries offers] a broad sense of what's going on in education today, framed by a passionate and knowledgeable reporter.
More magazine, Canada

If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
Notes of a Neophyte