The nation’s news media focuses in on Coach Brady Hoke, the moral and mental midget who runs the University of Michigan.

Meanwhile, UM’s Potemkin president – some random dude with a PhD – does nothing. He’s still trying to absorb the fact that this is the way his academic institution treats the brains of its students:

[Concussed Michigan student] Shane Morris didn’t need a hero coming to his rescue. He needed someone who cared about him as a person, cared enough to pay attention to the damage he was suffering on the field. Shane Morris needed a Michigan Man on the sideline, but all he had was Brady Hoke and the stooges on Hoke’s staff.

A description of the most important, most highly paid, most high-profile person…

… at one of this country’s highest-profile universities:

…[Discontents] consider his inability to formulate coherent thoughts a sign of a lack of intelligence and competence. Interpreting [University of Michigan football coach Brady] Hoke’s intentions … circles back to a Chauncey Gardner–esque mystery that has always surrounded him. Stupidity, which used to be the main charge against Hoke, now turns out to be his best defense…

This is how you measure what big time sports has done to the American university. Once-proud University of Michigan, of all places, is ruled by an idiot.

“The student section booed Hoke when he failed to pull Morris out of the game, and the school newspaper has now called for him to be fired.”

Fewer and fewer Michigan students attend football games, and when they do, they boo their WAY expensive coach as he puts a concussed player back on the field

Strange, the business of being a University of Michigan student. For your own good, because you’re so enthusiastic about the experience, the place hits you up for athletic fees galore and pays its coaches three million dollars a year…

Yet you are either withdrawing from the game day experience altogether, or booing the coach when you attend.

Strange.

“I will not be watching Michigan play Rutgers… I cannot in good conscience support the coaches who are putting this team at real physical risk.”

One thing you can say for American university football. It’s giving writers an opportunity to have their Martin Luther moment and make a huge deal out of having a conscience.

For here is yet another football (well, Michigan football) boycotter, a person eager to share with us her willingness to, in good conscience, put up with scummy Rick Rodriguez as coach of the team, but not Brady Hoke… Brady Hoke who is about to cost the University of Michigan even more millions to get rid of than Rodriguez, and Rodriguez cost it oodles of millions…

Yes, it’s all been a pretty spectacle – The multimillionaire coach keeping a concussed player in the game is just the latest classy move from a school increasingly indistinguishable from Auburn. Scroll through my University of Michigan posts over the last few years (start here) if you have the stomach for it.

(Oh – and the game the latest Here I Stand fan is boycotting? It’s against Rutgers. Rutgers! Talk about a scum cosmic convergence. Rutgers.)

“[We] just kind of bite our tongues and watch the games.”

Yeah, shut up and watch the game, kiddies.

“The administration is dedicated to football.”

Big time. No question. And not just the University of Kentucky administration:

… UK’s basketball and football teams and their boosters … are rich and powerful and prone to trouble. [The programs] bring in a lot of money, and some of it goes to academics. But not nearly enough.

Sports are fun and exciting diversions. But at UK, as at many universities, athletics has become the tail that wags the dog.

[UK's] rabid fans … think the university exists to support a sports franchise, rather than the other way around.

Basically everyone at UK is way dedicated to football (plus basketball, natch). The school’s academic ranking shows it: 112 in 2007; 129 today. Rah.

Still… with the whole nation lately beginning to absent itself from university football games, UK is no exception.

I don’t get it.

The weather forecast for tomorrow [UK vs Vanderbilt; UK won] is gorgeous; lower level tickets can be purchased for $20; and Kentucky is expected to win its first SEC game since 2011. So what’s the problem?

Last year’s average attendance in Commonwealth Stadium was 59,742, roughly 8,000 more than what we’re currently looking at for tomorrow.

This writer warns darkly of “ramifications down the road,” and we know what that is. Expect that academic ranking number to improve if UK’s not careful…

Add to this the fact that the sport itself is so spectacularly grody that it is “referred to in the news and by late-night comedians as a national shame,” as one professor notes (read this Guardian article from which the quotation is taken only if you get a kick out of witnessing car wrecks) and a university almost exclusively devoted to sport has its work cut out for it.

“UNM Athletics Records Deficit, Adds Sand Volleyball”

Sorta says all you need to know about the University of New Mexico, don’t it?

When a university that’s nothing BUT its fraternities and sports teams…

… shuts down its fraternities (relax: they’ll be back in business in no time), you know that public attention to the hazing/football nexus has grown so alarmingly that even pathetic Clemson (famous for having gamed its US News and World Report ranking by rating “all programs other than Clemson below average” on the US News survey) has had to look sharp. Its drunken carnage is definitely trending up a bit, so it’s decided to give everyone a chance to take a deep breath and think about how they can avoid killing more pledges once frat life starts up again. Very creditable of them.

No wonder universities have to sell alcohol to keep students in the stands.

The future of football will be determined not by a mass boycott or a government crackdown but by individual fans who confront the brutal realities of their favorite sport and act as their own consciences recommend.

You want to keep students far away from the capacity to have that confrontation.

“If you want evidence that football represents American masculinity in its most toxic form, like war or cigarette smoking, we don’t need figures of speech or sociological studies: It is literally killing the men who play it.”

Life of the mind, USA.

A hot new prospect for US university and professional football…

… advertises his wares from Canada.

[Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota, an award-winning football player for McGill University,] was arrested Wednesday afternoon and will be arraigned Thursday on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, theft and uttering threats… He pleaded guilty last February to an assault charge after he and two accomplices beat up a young man outside a Quebec City bar in May 2010.

A career assaulter! Expect a bidding war here soon.

“Last year, a macaroni and cheese noodle from Kraft in the north side of the stadium upset fans enough that it was removed from the premises within a week.”

The University of Michigan: Cheesy.

It’s not the latest particular Rutgers thing; it’s the general sense its athletic program gives the university of being a perpetual-farce-machine-on-wheels…

… that’s doing the place in. So what if their athletic director (who came in to fix what their sadist-on-wheels basketball coach did to the school’s rep – it became, among other things, a notorious Saturday Night Live joke – and then turned out to have her own apparently sadistic past), so what if she told her staff to reach out and touch people in the community, but “not in a Jerry Sandusky-type way.”

In itself, this remark is nothing. But in context, it’s just this week’s shabby Rutgers Thing, part of a narrative involving a school giving all of its money to athletics, run by a ridiculously greedy new president, fronted by hilariously obscene fans, coached by cretins…

The God of Florida State University

“[Heisman voters] gave him the benefit of the doubt last season when he was accused of — but not charged with — rape. It’s unlikely that they will give him the same leeway after first being caught stealing and, now, after shouting obscenities into a microphone.”

FSU: It’s all good. Only way to make it better is to dispense with what’s left of the pretense of academics altogether.

And dammit! Let them have their chiropractic school! Somebody’s gotta bind up all them wounds.

This description captures not just our general culture…

…but many of our universities.

We idolize players of a game that champions aggression and violence. Their [way of life is] dependent on their ability to run fast, throw far and hit very hard. They are so dependent on this lifestyle that [several of them] no longer have the ability to control the aggression for which they are revered.

Lots of professional sports are scummy and are dominated by front and back office scumsters (Lance Armstrong dominated cycling for decades, Zygi Wilf continues to own the Vikings, etc.) and UD finds this unsurprising.

Yet everyone is unsettled by the particular case of football.

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

Almost all cultures enjoy violent spectacles; America’s a notably violent culture; America has immense wealth to use toward refining and enlarging the spectacles.

It does seem, however, that even Americans have some breadth and scope of violence limits. Football’s unapologetic violence – highly financially rewarded violence – is getting so out of hand that people are beginning to boycott games, broadcasts, and sponsors.

None of this should surprise. People have a gag reflex, and football is making more and more people gag.

What should surprise people – and UD has no idea why it doesn’t – is the fact that this same culture of make-me-puke violence has come to dominate quite a number of our most high-profile universities.

Universities! Think of what they are! And think about what – to use one example – the University of Nebraska actually is! This is one of many universities that fought hard to recruit (although his story broke not at all long ago, you’ve already probably forgotten about this guy – he’s been overwhelmed by subsequent football violence stories) Richie Incognito, a notorious head case long before he applied to college. UN not only didn’t care – it debased itself in every imaginable way to get him.

A touch of collateral damage on campus and in town? Who gives a shit about our students’ welfare?

And UN professors? Where were the professors?

One of them, recently hired, describes the academic culture:

“Would you like seasons tickets for the faculty cheering section in the football stadium?” [the department secretary] asked.

“No thank you,” I said, effectively ending my social life at the University of Nebraska. I didn’t realize it wasn’t a question but an imperative. Faculty members were expected to wear sweaters with the school colors and hold up colored pieces of cardboard to spell out, in giant letters, eternal verities like: “Hold That Line!”

Universities wonder why on game day their student sections are emptying out… Why students either don’t show up at all, or trail in drunk after awhile, try to focus their eyes on the game a bit, and then trail out well before the game is over. Expensive experts have been called in to reverse the situation, and they’ve told universities to sell liquor in the stadium, to provide wifi, to offer money bribes, etc. But universities should look at professional football. Professional football is making a lot of people sick, and it ain’t got nothin’ to do with wifi. And then universities should look at universities. Even the deadest dead head who attends university has a rough sense of the difference between a university and the mass culture outside of the university. It’s time universities themselves got a sense of this too.

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