… there’s this remarkable bit of writing on the subject of the American university.

The author glances at the latest sports scandals and writes

[This blogger] deplores the deplorable as much as anyone else, and only wishes readers could see how elegantly we wring our hands as each sad new story appears on our screens. Wring, wring, wring. Alas, alas, alas. Deplore, deplore, deplore. Repeat until Moral Seriousness is fully established.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm felt a frisson of sophistication reading this.

Allow her to reread it.

Yes. Again the frisson.

This writer has crouched down and taken a crap on Moral Seriousness. He has summited Mount Serious and crapped.


SOS finds his debonair cynicism irresistable. The success of whatever argument he’s about to make about university sports is close to guaranteed.

The polemic announces itself in the title of his post: It All Begins with Football. The author argues that the very basis of our rich, globally dominant universities lies in the “tribal” appeal of their games, at which “shirtless boys” covered in warpaint whoop their way to abiding love of alma mater.

No naked tits, in other words, no money. Take away the tits and what’s a university? Buttoned up Mr Wizards, men incapable making the alumni cash register go DRRINGGGG.


And you know, he’s right. Thinking back, SOS can date her decision to give money to Northwestern University to the first home football game there, at which she peeled off her sweatshirt and whipped them out.

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One Response to “Via UD’s Wonderful Reader, Shane…”

  1. dave.s. Says:

    I read Walter Russell Mead every day, and usually think he’s very sensible, as well as a very engaging writing. His scorn is well packaged – take a look at his posts about Kyoto Protocol! His views about tits and money, well – my kid # 1, who is perfect in every way, is all ready to paint his face with school colors. My wife and I – I did Young Democrats and chess club in school, she did choir. We are bewildered. And I think Mead is right that the road to his loyalty runs through athletics.

    I’m going to detour through an FDA story. Baby food: too salty, and it’s bad for babies. The right saltiness for babies is utterly bland for mommies who put a little dab on their wrists and lick it to see if it is okay. So – if Beechnut did it right, Gerber would salt theirs up and crush them in the market. FDA got them all together and said, get the level down to X or we will regulate you. And they did. Nobody could have done it alone.

    I see the NCAA as a remarkable bunch of hypocritical greedheads who lie about their real goals. But I’m inclined to think that if reformed or if a substitute organization was put in place, it could ratchet college sports down to a level not too far from today’s club sports, and that would let my kid have someone to scream for and remember fondly as an alum.

    I went to Berkeley in what I now think are glory days. We regularly lost to Stanford in the Big Game. Ohio State regularly crushed us, too. One of the guys on the football team was a biochemistry major! The stated goals of the NCAA were more or less met. Scholar-athletes, yah. So this is sort of a muddy and meliorative claim that the goal would be to get people who actually had the goals the NCAA claims to have into power in an organization to control college sports. Maybe more rules would help – remove the charitable deduction from moneys raised for stadia. No team can have an SAT average more than half a standard deviation below the average of the school. A coach whose team fails various strictures gets banned from coaching employment for a couple of years. Make NCAA’s lies about its role come true.

    Can’t hurt, right?

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