Wow. Just Wow.

Jane Stancill, News Observer:

In 2012, when former Gov. Jim Martin unveiled the last report into academic fraud and no-show classes in African and Afro-American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, the leader of the faculty, Jan Boxill, called the report “disturbing,” and “astonishing.”

Wednesday’s report from Kenneth Wainstein showed that Boxill, a faculty member who served as a counselor for the UNC women’s basketball program, had little reason to be astonished.

Boxill was directly involved in sending students’ work for the classes, Wainstein’s report said, and went so far as to suggest the grades her players should receive.

In one email exchange Wainstein uncovered, Deborah Crowder, the department secretary and mastermind of the scheme to set up the no-show classes, responded when Boxill forwarded a paper for a women’s basketball player in 2008.

“Did you say a D will do for (the basketball player)?” Crowder wrote to Boxill. “I’m only asking because 1. no sources, 2, it has absolutely nothing to do with the assignments for that class and 3. it seems to be a recycled paper. She took (another class) in spring of 2007 and that was likely for that class.”

According to the report, Boxill replied: “Yes, a D will be fine; that’s all she needs. I didn’t look at the paper but figured it was a recycled one as well, but I couldn’t figure out from where.”

… Boxill is a senior lecturer in the philosophy department and was chair of the faculty from 2011 to earlier this year. She directs the university’s Parr Center for Ethics.

UD, as you know, loathes PowerPoint.

But sometimes things happen that make her reconsider …

For instance, without PowerPoint, the slide (the “insane slide,” as an Australian newspaper calls it) specifying the advantages of bogus classes for athletes at the University of North Carolina would never have surfaced.

Let me provide some background. The slide was prepared at a moment of great sorrow among athletics counselors and team officials at UNC: Their academic mainstay, Deborah Crowder, who for years administered the school’s vast and venerable bogus curriculum, had just retired, leaving the university at a loss. (Some traditions, I guess, are difficult to hand down. Though UD does have to wonder why Crowder failed to groom a successor. Shows a lack of commitment to the school, I think.) Amid general panic, the two groups – the counselors and the athletics staff – met to keen over the fact that (as the investigative report puts it) “Crowder’s retirement would require the whole football program to adjust to a new reality of having to meet academic requirements with real academic work.”

Just in case some of the assembled mourners didn’t, uh, get what this meant, one of them prepared a slide which stated as simply and explicitly as possible what they had lost:

WHAT WAS PART OF THE SOLUTION IN THE PAST?

WE PUT THEM IN CLASSES WHICH MET DEGREE REQUIREMENTS IN WHICH:

THEY DIDN’T GO TO CLASS
THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO TAKE NOTES, STAY AWAKE
THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO MEET WITH PROFESSORS
THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION OR NECESSARILY ENGAGE WITH THE MATERIAL

THESE NO LONGER EXIST!

With PowerPoint, we have a permanent record of this poignant moment in the history of the University of North Carolina – the moment when the implications of Deborah Crowder’s absence began to sink in.

****************************

Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning …the U.N.C., Chapel Hill, chancellor said that a reason the paper class scheme thrived for so long [twenty years] was that it was hard for anyone to imagine that something so beyond the pale could happen at all.

“It was such a shock that it was hard for people to fathom,” she said.

Nice try.

‘“I am surprised that the students haven’t taken to TCF Stadium and football back on campus” after nearly 30 years of being played in downtown Minneapolis, [former Gophers football coach Glen Mason] said.’

How long can people remain in a state of surprise? Ever since – at enormous student and taxpayer expense – the University of Minnesota’s new football stadium opened in 2009, every dumbass prediction about its success has been ground into dust. Read UD‘s posts about it. (Scroll down.)

As desperation sets in (there are loans to pay off!) bribery and coercion have begun.

Minnesota offered student packages for men’s hockey and men’s basketball tickets — but only if students also bought slower-selling football tickets. But after students and Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this month complained — the governor said he was “appalled” by the practice — the school adjusted its policy. Forty-two students were given a refund, the school said.

Why wasn’t the governor (he wasn’t governor then, but he was a citizen) appalled when the state went ahead and let the University of Minnesota take all that money and build a failed stadium – one that can’t even get the university’s students to attend games in any significant number? There were already, back then, dark omens that the university had tightened admissions standards to the point where a shocking number of admits didn’t give a shit about football. Why didn’t anyone heed the omens and roll back, say, literacy requirements?

Now THIS guy has the right idea.

Start them when they’re young. If you treat high school football players with kid gloves, they’re not going to know what to do when they get to Rutgers University and Coach Rice slams basketballs into their genitals and calls them faggots.

What’s also key – and what some high schools forget – is “to get students to bully other students, especially if those students’ parents have made complaints to coaches.” Make a note of it.

“Seven players were arrested at a high school for raping their teammates. You can draw a line from there through Steubenville, Penn State, and the NFL.”

There’s a direct line from what allegedly occurred in Sayreville to Tallahassee, Florida, where an all-too cozy relationship between the university and the local police hindered any possible investigation into the sexual-assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston, to bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room, to Steubenville, Ohio, and to Penn State University.

… Jason Christopher Hartley, a veteran who served in Iraq and the author of Just Another Soldier, saw hazing in the military and says the only way to begin the process of eradicating this kind of behavior is a total reboot.

“It starts at boot camp or whatever the boot camp equivalent in football is. You have to inculcate them and make it clear that you won’t allow this fucked up behavior,” he said, “You can’t do it afterwards. You can’t have a cult that has this kind of shit and then bolt on a new morality and ethics and expect it to work. It can’t. Human nature disallows that. It has to start from day one.”

Going Cosmic on Manoa

The University of Hawaii-Manoa has a $31 million deficit and growing. Its big athletics program is a morgue, a wasteland, a joke. Its latest interim chancellor (you haven’t seen administrative turnover until you’ve seen Hawaii) has a statement to make:

Some have suggested cuts to the athletic budget and system administrators’ salaries, but [Robert] Bley-Vroman said the deficit requires more structural solutions. “There are big forces here, and they have to do with the society’s view of education and who’s going to pay for it.”

Yes, it’s a big, big… cosmic problem, and until we as a nation reconceptualize the entire ground of university education as such, cutting the athletics budget is pointless.

So as the nation soul-searches about football like crazy (after the latest thing, the …

Sayreville thing), allow UD to reiterate her position.

This is a blog about universities and the problems with them. UD‘s interest in football (which under normal conditions would have to grow to become cursory) is restricted to what it’s doing to our universities.

UD (as you know if you read this blog) calls football The Freak Show That Ate the American University.

As for football outside the university: UD recognizes that millions of Americans need regular, massive, violent, pissed to the gills spectacles. She’s had little to say about the NFL, the tax exempt non-profit organization to which the nation has given the job of mounting the spectacles. Similarly, she’s had little on this blog to say about NASCAR. If universities began fielding NASCAR teams, she’d begin talking about it.

That there is a world of blood-lust outside the university is unremarkable. That universities – outposts of civil reasoning – are sometimes little more than football camps is quite remarkable. The university, as institution, starts out so high that its transformation into a football camp represents a resounding fall into the gutter.

We all know the schools that have really let themselves go – Penn State, Rutgers, Alabama, University of North Carolina, University of Georgia, Auburn, University of Miami, etc. – and we all know the obvious stuff covered by journalists: systemic cheating, sometimes orchestrated by professors; systemic corruption by money; high rates of player crime; budget-busting payouts of fired coaches. This blog covers that stuff, but also tries to evoke the daily, on-the-ground scummy environment that football camp university students and professors endure.

I don’t mean simply, for instance, the humiliation of being threatened all the time by coaches and high ranking administrators who are angry with you because you don’t go to games, or because you leave games early. How many emails per day does a typical University of Alabama student get from the school’s enraged multimillionaire coach harassing her about her non-attendance? How bad is she willing to be made to feel because she is focused on university studies? How often must she be made to defend her preference for reading over watching steroid poppers break each others’ skulls?

I also mean the literal filth of the university football camp. I mean the University of Georgia’s long struggle with post-tailgate trash all over campus (trash that includes human waste). I mean North Carolina State’s similar problem, concisely expressed by a campus journalist: “[W]hen the students get drunk, they don’t really care what goes where.”

****************

Why are university students en masse refusing to go to football games? Everyone’s worried about it. Michigan State’s AD says it’s “embarrassing,” but he doesn’t think it’s embarrassing that a coach putting on shows no one wants to go to makes three million dollars a year. One sports writer calls the non-compliant University of Miami student fans “pathetic,” but he doesn’t ask himself whether rational people might prefer not to be identified with a pathetically corrupt program. Florida A&M is all upset that no one goes to their football games. Does it occur to them that people would prefer not to have to think about manslaughter when they see a marching band?

“[T]his is a sport that disproportionately attracts aggressive males, many or most of whom use steroids, human growth hormone, and other drugs that elevate testosterone levels, and therefore possibly aggravate their violent tendencies.”

Coming to a university near you.

This is in a defense of the sport, by the way.

The core of the defense?

If you don’t let us beat the shit out of each other on the field, we’ll get frustrated and come and kill all of you.

“After almost every crowd-pleasing hit, a player would stagger off the field, steady himself the best he could, sometimes vomit a little…”

Football: Just the thing for a university setting.

“The Florida State athletic department prioritizing the welfare of football-playing suspects over victims, many of whom are fellow FSU students, shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed college athletics for the past few decades.”

That’s the part that always gets to UD. The University of Nebraska says to its student body Look who we got to play with you! Room with you! Study with you! Richie Incognito!

You’ve got all these American universities doing everything they possibly can to recruit legions of violent nutbags whom they immediately and without warning loose upon a clueless group of normal teenagers.

Clueless? Worse than that. These students are predisposed to worship the recruited players. Unless they grew up in Sayreville, they have no idea how twisted is the cult from which the recruited emerged. Like fools, they jostle each other to get near their heroes…

Victims, many of whom are fellow FSU students…

ULTIMATE Coacha Inconsolata.

It doesn’t get any better than this. (For background on coacha inconsolata, go here and scroll down.)

A somber coach “Boom” rested on the pulpit. [University of Florida football coach Will] Muschamp had a cross to bear that wasn’t his own but instead a player’s. The weight grew heavy.

“[S]orry to inconvenience you guys, but with the situation Monday and the seriousness of it, I felt like it was a little insensitive to have a football press conference. I think it is today, too,” Muschamp said from the crease of his mouth.

His head drooped, his voice lowered.

“But we’ve got to move forward.”

Putting Intellectual Life in America into Perspective

Scandal fatigue with the NCAA began setting in a long time ago. The long wait for penalties in the USC case started it; the Penn State penalties, misconduct in the Miami case, and lack of action on UNC’s academic scandal were other major milestones.

The NFL’s recent history has gotten more people asking even harder questions about what the important scandals are in the sports world. College football has not been immune either. Jameis Winston, Treon Harris, Treyvon Paulk, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Devonte Fields are all part of the same trend, with more scrutiny on how teams handle allegations of assaults, especially violence against women. And less on who might be trying to make a buck here and there.

Go ahead and get rich off of university athletics! That’s a trifle here.

“Before the scandal broke, Myles Hartsfield was headed for Penn State on a football scholarship.”

Perfect spot for him.

Why won’t the damn New York Times leave Florida State University alone?

Just after featuring the rape-positive, bonkers-for-BB-guns school in a long article in the Sunday Magazine, they’re at it again in a whole new article, gnawing at FSU like a dog with a bone… Why can’t they leave FSU alone to live in the way the school has chosen to live?

Does the New York Times fly down to Sicily once a week to try to upset the delicate balance among the mafia, the courts, and the police? No! The newspaper recognizes and respects the right of Sicilians to live in their traditional fashion, under the ethos of omertà, etc. If, in just the same way, the heart of the FSU community has always depended on a complex synergy among football players, coaches, police, lawyers, boosters, and the leadership of the university – a synergy that keeps players on the field and out of jail by ignoring their crimes, plus makes everyone rich off a winning team – what business is that of some newspaper?

Tattle-tale reporters just can’t resist sharing details of the FSU way:

At least 13 football players have been implicated in a string of wild public shootouts with CO2-powered BB and pellet guns, causing thousands of dollars in property damage, endangering bystanders and eliciting a police response. Yet until the most recent case — a previously unreported shootout in June that caused such a commotion that a sheriff’s helicopter was called in to search for suspects — none of the episodes led to charges, even though elsewhere in Florida suspects as young as 12 have been arrested for doing the same things.

It’s like they think they’re better than the folks in Tallahassee or something…

Money from the Boosters has helped pay the salaries of high-ranking athletic officials and the university president, whose performance goals included enhancing “the partnership” between the Boosters and the athletic department.

And… And? … You got a problem with that? Everybody benefits! It’s not like we’re not gonna cut the president in on the deal. He’s the chief fucking academic officer! He, like, keeps the place all intellectual and all. Without that we lose our tax breaks.

Agrégation…

… in the French university.

Aggregation in American university sports journalism.

Because there are so many stories, you might as well aggregate them.

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