FRATOCALYPSE

Ohio State, Florida State, Penn State, the University of Michigan, Texas State, and many other schools are either suspending their entire Greek system or suspending many fraternity chapters. The butcher’s bill is getting a wee bit too high, so time to take a breather before resuming the carnage.

‘This [Thanksgiving season], more people than ever will be thankful that their sons do not play football.’

After each [university football] game, we see statistics: number of third-down conversions, yards gained rushing, interceptions and more. But no listing of injuries. There are always injuries. We see the player down who doesn’t rise; the trainers rush over, he is helped up or carried off. We know concussions abound; despite the protective gear, we sometimes see blood flowing. This week, legendary sportscaster Bob Costas said football may soon “collapse like a house of cards” because of one “fundamental fact. …This game destroys people’s brains.” He acknowledged that tackle football is most dangerous for youths under 20.

Why is there no injuries list for each team after each game? (I don’t favor exposing vulnerabilities opponents could exploit. Anonymized statistical reports suffice.) By not systematically reporting injuries as important information, the football world sanitizes its narrative, making the game seem less harmful than it is.

Samuel Gorovitz
Syracuse.com

“Imagine a world,” she said, “in which everything was the same about higher education except there have never been Greek organizations. An 18-year-old waltzes into a dean’s office and says, ‘I want to start an exclusive club on campus that doesn’t allow women and serves mostly white and privileged students and we’re going to throw parties all the time that are illegal, and at these parties, all the bad stuff that happens on campus is going to happen disproportionately.'”

Yeah, UD sees where Lisa Wade is going with this…

But two can play that game! Imagine a world in which everything was the same about higher education except that there has never been quasi-professional football and basketball on many campuses. An 18-year-old waltzes into a dean’s office and says ‘I want to start a corrupt and bankrupting enterprise which will bring anti-intellectuality, illegality, violence, and global derision to our campus, and will ultimately put our president, athletic director, and senior vp for finance in jail for criminal neglect.’

The NYT‘s Frank Bruni forgets that frats/quasi-professional sports represents “the total way of life of a people,” as Clifford Geertz put it, and you can’t just decide to extract one element of a total culture (fraternities, university-sponsored alcohol sales at stadiums, coach-sponsored on-campus houses of prostitution for recruits and players, general excitement at the spectacle of college students getting their heads concussed, decades of fake courses, the adulation of violent, mentally ill people if they can play football, the routine cancellation of scads of classes so that everyone can attend games…) that you don’t happen to like….

Ooh, you don’t feel comfortable with guns in fraternity houses! The thought of packs of young men, alcohol, secrecy, weaponry, and post-game rage makes you uncomfortable, does it? Well fuck you. It’s a way of life, and you don’t get to say ixnay on the guns but the sexual assault of scores of female students is okay… Not at all or all in all, as Tennyson says…

Texas State University is shocked… shocked… that a university of its …

standing and seriousness has produced America’s latest fraternity death.

UCLA’s Scholar/Athlete…

Semester Abroad.

‘Fresno State held off a furious rally by Hawaii to secure a 31-21 Mountain West Conference victory tonight before an Aloha Stadium crowd of 13,714.’

Capacity of Aloha Stadium: 50,000.

Background here.

UD reads about an American university.

[The University of Louisiana] is playing Ole Miss on Saturday without four starters, each of whom is suspended …

[Okay. Four players is a lot at one time, but… ok…]

… The suspensions are related to the four being arrested during the offseason last spring.

[Related? Caused by, no? And were they arrested together because of the same offense? What’s the deal?]

Thirteen UL players, including those four, initially were arrested for conspiracy to commit felony theft.

[Whoa. Now thirteen. Thirteen, even by the rancid standards of this country’s student-athletes, is a lot. What gives?]

It’s believed the other nine served a one-game suspension at various points earlier in the season, but their suspensions were not made public at the time – and the Cajuns did nothing to make clear the real reason they were out.

[Murkier and murkier! So the university quietly suspended this player for this game and that player for that game without telling anyone… Cuz a couple of player absences per game isn’t going to attract attention… And the university said nothing about it…]

It some cases, it was thought the absent players were out because of injuries.

[Why was that thought? Because the coaches told the local press that?]

The 13 later had the charge against them reduced to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, with a chance to have the charge eventually dismissed upon completion of a pre-trial diversion program that includes community service, drug testing and other program requirements.

[What the fuck did they do? Aren’t you a newspaper? Aren’t you supposed to tell me?]

… They were arrested April 25, following an investigation that produced video evidence of an occurrence at Huger Hall on campus.

[An occurrence? Now I’m laughing! WTF.]

The alleged victim in the case: former teammate Artez Williams, who was arrested for felony rape on the same day items allegedly were taken from his room.

[My head is spinning. Hold on. We don’t know what they did, but they did it to Artez, whose recent terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day featured an arrest for rape and the theft of items from his room, but whose woes also include a still-unspecified attack by thirteen current football players…. Or are we talking about the theft?]

Williams recently had a pre-trial hearing in which he was scheduled for another pre-trial for a date in 2018.

[… And?… But this is basically the end of the article…]

Well, but it’s not like FOOTBALL.

College football’s got all that stuff, plus it bashes your brains out.

Empty stadiums – for professional football and university football games – are all over the country, of course; but this is a blog about universities, so…

… let’s consider a comment from an Arizona State University observer. Why is its stadium empty?

I grew up an ASU fan and will always be, but what has happened is sickening. $305 million dollar upgrade to a tax-funded stadium that has at best 9 games per year, partially empty, ludicrous. I wish we could go back to educating rather than allowing our teachers [to] try to become businessmen. There is a reason they teach and are not in private business. No private business would spend $300 million to upgrade a venue with only 9 games possible a year even if sold out. Bring back sanity!

So the insanity has made him too sick to attend games.

Other perennial excuses include high ticket prices, a losing record, and, well, it’s so much more pleasant to watch in your quiet home, with its absence of threatening drunks and ear-splitting non-stop ads from the Adzillatron.

Plus lately there’s something kinda… squirmy… about watching college football. “The reality,” notes Bob Costas, “is that this game destroys people’s brains.” Now maybe it doesn’t bother you to watch college students get their brains bashed in. I mean, yeah, probably it doesn’t. But Costas says that in a few years, as more posthumous CTE scans come in, even you might start feeling a little uncomfortable shrieking with glee when an opposing player is stretchered off the field, his hands shaking ever so strangely.

“[T]ax-exempt organizations would be subject to a 20% tax on compensation in excess of $1 million that’s paid to any of their five most highly compensated employees; that would cover scores of college coaches and athletics directors.”

Now, now. You think the fun’s going to be over, don’t you? You won’t be able to give your coach five million dollars a year and each of your assistant coaches 2.5 million dollars a year; and there’s also that thing, in the proposed tax bill, about no more humongous tax deduction on that humongous donation you give a university for the right to purchase humongously overpriced season tickets.

[I]n 1988, Congress added subsection 170(l) to the IRS code that specifically allowed for an 80 percent deduction on donations to “institutions of higher education” that granted “the right to purchase tickets for seating at an athletic event.”

“Every time I think about it, I want to throw up,” [says tax law expert John D. Colombo]. “The effect of this exemption in the tax code is that my money, as a taxpayer, is going to help some guy be able to sit on the 50-yard line.”

These tax experts have jumpy stomachs. Most of us instinctively understand the educational and charitable urgency of tax-exempt bonds to subsidize new football stadiums (the new tax bill’s gunning for that one too), tax-free multimillion dollar compensation for coaches, and 80 percent deductions for 50-yard line sitting…

I mean, sure, everyone knows that “These [university athletic] programs are not consistent with underlying theories of exemption, and in fact are perfect examples of why commercial revenues of charities should be subject to taxation.” But boys will be boys, and boys write rolling around in the dirt concussing your head legislation; and no one is more surprised than ol’ UD that a bunch of Republican boys are actually sounding semi-serious about doing away with the fun…

But seriously – as opposed to semi-seriously – if you think any of these proposals will go anywhere, you also thought the University of North Carolina would be punished for twenty years of fake courses.

“Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton built a $70 million stadium in 2011. In recent times, its seats have been 80 percent empty.”

But at least it makes the trains run on time.

The Kid Stays in the Picture!

Twenty years of Julius Nyang’oro’s multifarious fake courses for athletes was fine by the University of North Carolina; one measly authentic course offered by Jay Smith made top administrators, as one, leap to the top of their desks screaming EEK. I mean, we can’t just approve every proposed course, and this one lacked clear and effective methods of keeping athletes eligible to play…

Oh but okay. I mean, if you must introduce meaningful content into the curriculum, I don’t suppose we’re in any position to stop you…

A U Penn Student Who Doesn’t Get It

[T]here are a lot of people who, like me, are not used to showing school spirit through sports and don’t really see the point

And I don’t understand why that is such a bad thing. [Why the] underlying assumption … that Penn “should” do something to increase attendance at sporting events and therefore increase school spirit[?]

The Occidental Tsouris

What if they gave a football team and nobody came?

*********

UD thanks John.

Brain-Injury Comedy

The N.F.L. is a business enterprise where announcers are often capable of addressing the sport’s most pressing on-field issue only in tones of gallows humor. To wit: late in the Panthers-Bears game, the defensive end Akiem Hicks was slow to get up after the whistle. This prompted some brain-injury comedy in the booth. “They’ll take a look at him for a possible concussion,” said one announcer, proceeding to note that, “of course, [Hicks’s teammates] gotta pat ’em on the head.” His partner mildly marvelled, “It’s just part of the deal, Dan.”

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