“Universities don’t get much worse than San Diego State, an epicenter of the drug trade, a money-hemorraghing sports joke, and a school run (though considering what goes down there, is anyone actually running it?) by a president whose greed so outraged the local community that legislators moved toward imposing mandatory salary caps on executive pay there.”

If I may quote myself. San Diego State gives off the same hopeless pointless stew of corruption vibes that University of Louisville does – and what’s most interesting is that these schools probably always will be like this. Whether it’s Piero Anversa or a fraternity just taken off suspension and just put back on suspension for being irremediably violent, nothing gets done because the people in charge are cynical greedy party-school-modelers.

You know – recall what the West Virginia University professor who studies the phenom up close — really up close — wrote:

Many residential universities, such as the so-called party schools … have become so well-known for their super-charged party environments that it would be very difficult to change the culture without negatively impacting enrollments that are now dependent upon the lure of this party scene. Moreover, many of the disruptive behaviors that I document in the book (e.g., burning couches, riots) have become “traditions” for both current students and alumni. As such, traditions are very difficult to change.

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

[People who live in bad neighborhoods] feel terrorized, they change their routines to avoid certain streets, they don’t leave their homes at night. In many college towns, residents are beginning to experience similar problems (albeit less life-threatening) as a result of a minority of extreme partiers who make life uninhabitable [I think Weiss is conflating two phrases here: life unendurable and neighborhoods uninhabitable.] for their neighbors.

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

While it is easy to see why bar and club owners are reluctant to eliminate drink specials or other promotions – after all, they make their profits from student drinking – it is more difficult to understand why university administrators, police and local town officials have not been more effective in reducing some of the problems caused by the party subculture. In the long run, it really boils down to a rather controversial reality: the party school is itself a business, and alcohol is part of the business model. Schools lure students to attend their schools with the promise of sports, other leisure activities and overall fun. Part of this fun, whether schools like it or not, is drinking. Thus, even as university officials want to keep students safe, they also need to keep their consumers happy. This means letting the alcohol industry do what it does best – sell liquor.

That’s why SDSU keeps suspending and suspending and suspending a criminal enterprise: You’re talking about a big chunk of their yearly enrollment!

Let’s just not have any bullshit about it, okay? Administrators get millions and students get maimed. End of story that will never end.

Name of the hot dog pilot who did a crab landing while all the other pilots at Bristol airport aborted and landed elsewhere?

Brenda.

Limerick.

John Martin. Sarkisian. Puliafito/Varma. Tyndall.
Takes a whole lot of naughtiness merely to kindle
A bit of Oh me!
From ol’ USC.
It’s less of a school than a swindle.

When your endowment struggles to break forty billion…

you can be forgiven for special admissions procedures for the children of big donors.

Yet ANOTHER University of Louisville Scandal.

One of their football players studied.

None of the subsequent unfortunate events would have occurred if he had not, wantonly, crazily, studied.

I trust this will be a lesson to his teammates.

“If federal prosecutors really want to clean up the muck in college basketball, then they should do it right and bring a racketeering case against a major university. One that sweeps up the entire operation: the big-donor trustee, the head coach, the athletic director, the college president and any others.”

Shiver me timbers.

This is the first sentence of an article by Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post. The link simply takes you to the front page of the Post; but you don’t need much more than the first sentence, do you?

UD’s First Political Endorsement.

UD‘s old friend Scott Wallace suddenly has the edge (according to one poll – scroll down) in the contest for Pennsylvania’s First District. If you happen to be voting in that district, she’d like a word.

For over a decade, Scott was one of UD‘s closest friends (they’ve drifted apart over the years). Basically Scott had it all – in abundance – and UD was at the beginning of their friendship wary that he might be a snob, obnoxious, ostentatious… hyper-rich person stuff. He was tall and handsome and a multimillionaire and well-connected and he lived in a cool modern house (photographs of his grandfather – Roosevelt’s Vice-President, Henry Wallace – hung in the hallways) in one of DC’s best neighborhoods. His parents lived in a Georgetown mansion.

Scott turned out to be kind, unpretentious, serious, and morally engaged. He was the best of Washington: Informed, passionate about improving people’s lives, tireless in his commitment to good works.

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

Unlike a lot of DC denizens, Scott was also an aesthete, with astoundingly impressive musical gifts. Like his mother, Scott played concert-level piano (his son has inherited this skill); to hear him play on the grand in his living room was a huge delight.

I remember lots of great dinners at his house, followed by charades; I remember travel together to local beaches and overseas. There were always long arguments about the politics of the day.

Scott was mild-mannered, generous, curious, funny. I think by nature he is rather quiet, rather observant. Not a natural back-slapper, like Joe Biden. But like Biden he radiates decency and modesty. He shares Biden’s political orientation; he is a natural democrat.

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

More than once, I saw him be tight with a penny. His wealth is primarily for distribution to a suffering world. I rarely saw him spend much of it, except on a room in his basement full of electronic music technology. (His extended family is also musical: One of his brothers, a composer, bought Glen Tonche and turned it into a famous recording studio.)

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

Anyway. I see that I’ve written a character sketch more than a political endorsement. But – put aside our president – character matters.

John Beckman, NYU Spokesman, Writes a Strong and Honest Letter to the Student Newspaper.

Washington Square News has suggested that three recent campus suicides should have been marked more publicly by the school, and that they may reflect NYU’s lack of a community and possibly substandard mental health services. Beckman responds:

[S]uicides, especially among the young in a closed community like a school, are prone to a contagion effect, which is exacerbated by rapidly spread information about the deaths and by honoring the individuals publicly.

… [I]t is a perilous endeavor to speculate about the motives for self-harm. The defining characteristic of suicide is typically deep, unrelenting hopelessness that goes untreated. It is little more than a guessing game to try to ascribe a suicide’s reason to one thing or another. That is why we were so disappointed to see WSN … impute the student’s death to a lack of community at NYU.

… WSN’s characterization of NYU’s health and mental health services doesn’t tell the real story. We routinely conduct patient satisfaction surveys with students, and the overwhelming majority feel their clinician was knowledgeable, that they felt respected, that their appointment was scheduled promptly and that the services helped them stay in school.

… [W]hile some will no doubt continue to disagree with our position [we hope] they will at least come to understand that our decision is guided by the research in the field, our experience and an unwavering focus on doing what is the best interests of students.

It sounds cruel – don’t honor the students publicly, etc. – but NYU is correct about the research and about the enigmatic complexity of the event. Boris Pasternak wrote:

We have no conception of the inner torture which precedes suicide.

… The continuity of his inner life is broken, his personality is at an end. And perhaps what finally makes him kill himself is not the firmness of his resolve but the unbearable quality of this anguish which belongs to no one, of this suffering in the absence of the sufferer, of this waiting which is empty because life has stopped and can no longer fill it.

… What is certain is that they all suffered beyond description, to the point where suffering has become a mental sickness. And as we bow in homage to their gifts and to their bright memory, we should bow compassionately before their suffering.

‘“Hilary told us she does not think a jury in Waco is ready to convict someone if this was only his first rape,” the statement reads.’

You have to understand Waco, Texas. You have to understand Baylor University. You have to understand fraternities. You have to understand football.

Once you begin to understand the culture of Waco, you’ll have no trouble understanding the likely legal outcome of the university’s 1,534th rape this week.

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

Begin by understanding context. To start with, this latest campus rape was just a rape: it wasn’t a gang rape, and it wasn’t filmed. At Baylor, this barely rises to the level of an event, let alone a crime.

As for a jury made up of average Waconians: Waco’s famous for breastaurants that host rival biker gangs that slaughter each other in hours-long shootouts right down the street from Baylor.

It’s just that kind of down-home all-American place okay? and no way the good citizens of Waco are going to convict a Baylor frat president of rape. I mean, that’s not what Waconians would call a violent crime. And remember: Baylor’s a Christian school! This boy’s a Christian.

At America’s scummiest university…

moral exemplar suspends moral exemplar.

‘This conference also allowed an opportunity to recognize and honor the singular contributions and achievements of Dr. Piero Anversa on the occasion of his 70th birthday. We celebrated research advances made possible by “The Professor”, who established the concept of the heart as a regenerative organ, and through his research and passionate commitment has revolutionized the field of cardiac biology.’

They love him at San Diego State; they loved him, for years, at Harvard. And Harvard still seems ambivalent about Piero Anversa; it doesn’t want to comment at all on the decade or so during which it did nothing and during which plenty of people knew Anversa was faking his research. It has nothing to say about why it took Harvard years and years and years to call for the retraction of essentially his entire body of work.

Officials at Harvard declined to comment on why it took so long to take action on Dr. Anversa’s published work. Dr. Anversa could not be reached for comment.

Through arrogance and bluster ol’ Piero has, since 2001, been peddling pretty obvious bullshit about how the heart can regenerate itself. Lots of legitimate scientists said he was a fraud, over and over again, but too much money was at stake. Harvard would do well to apologize for having given this person legitimacy for so long.

**********

And what country’s university system would be so farcically shabby as to welcome Piero and one of his, uh, associates to take up new prestigious positions?

ITALY’s, of course.

***********

Best part of this story: Anversa a few years back sued Harvard cuz pointing out that he was a fraud was hurting business. (He lost the suit.)

What’s the Italian for Da guy’s got balls?

Un uomo ha i coglioni … ?

The Showy Convictions of Universities

If I can be sure of one thing about the moneyed mess that college sports in this country have become, it is that I don’t feel sorry for the schools that have willingly made basketball and football coaches the highest-paid public employees in thirty-nine out of fifty states while maintaining their showy convictions regarding the sanctity of amateurism.

New Yorker

“[T]he coldly corporatized world of big-time college football indulged and exacerbated the very traits in Hernandez that would one day destroy his life and end others. His anger. His recklessness. His fascination with violence and the violent.”

[H]is verbal SAT score of 420 was below the minimum required at Florida, where the majority of freshmen scored 600 or above…

[There was] destructive impunity, drugs, and the company of bad actors he met through Florida football. This was the time when he snapped a selfie that later went viral — posing in front a mirror, a raised Glock handgun in his left hand…

[T]he Gators had so much contact with the Gainesville police that [Urban] Meyer once addressed officers at roll call. A running tally of arrests compiled by the Orlando Sentinel during Meyer’s six-year tenure reached at least 31, for offenses ranging from firing an AK-47 in public to throwing food at an employee at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop.

The Boston Globe revisits the University of Florida’s contribution to the tragedy of Aaron Hernandez.

“[T]here are 50 other middlemen out there just like him who truly run college basketball. This is the sport, no matter what Mark Emmert’s Blue Ribbon Commission thinks.”

T.J. Gassnola is the president and head of the board of trustees of the University of Kansas. He is the face of the school. The front porch of the school.

T.J. runs basketball at KU, and basketball is just about all you’re ever going to read about when it comes to KU.

More specifically, he runs KU’s players. T.J. is in charge of giving them and their families huge wads of cash under the table at Las Vegas hotels to play at KU. T.J. keeps KU all basketball all the time. He is KU’s VIP, MVP, and HRH all rolled into one.

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

Everyone knows there’s nothing wrong with outfits like Adidas – for whom T.J. also works – giving money to future basketball greats. This wise investment often starts well before these players launch their adventures in university education… well before they decide to take advantage of the intellectual resources of places like Lawrence.

KU enjoys an extremely lucrative business relationship with Adidas.

Marc Emmert’s multimillion dollar NCAA salary is predicated on his absolute indifference to the transformation of once-respectable American universities into stinky petty hilarious crime gutters, places run by people like T.J. Gassnola.

So. All good. Everyone gets rich: The player, his family, Marc Emmert, the University of Kansas, and ol’ T.J.

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

So… FUCK the FBI. What the fuck? It sashays in like it’s king of the world, drags T.J. into court and makes him sing in exchange for reduced prison time for the many many naughty things T.J. has been up to … Worse yet, it makes KU and Emmert scrunch up their features, take a deep breath, and blow out the very best horseshit they can come up with about how shocked and disappointed and eager to be helpful they are…

UD‘s only sorry this woman is no longer KU’s chancellor – she came to KU after running Chapel Hill into the ground cuz of their athletic scandal, remember? She’s just the sort of person you want running a basketball factory, and she’s still getting paid too.

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

We had a nice tidy world here, see. Emmert and the whole “university” thing at KU did the work of shedding respectability-light upon the scheme so no one would think anything dark and criminal was going on. The players and the corporate suits and the coaches pocketed the money and kept their mouths shut. But now T.J.’s talking, and it’s… well, it’s Kafka, kiddies.

The most absurd moment of a most absurd day at the federal fraud case featuring one of college basketball’s most absurd characters had to be the following … well, actually, there are many contenders.

Maybe it was when Billy Preston wrecked his Dodge Charger on the campus of the University of Kansas. The fact a top incoming basketball recruit was driving such a car caused concern with the KU compliance office, which investigated who owned the vehicle.

Text messages later revealed Preston’s mother Nicole Player bragging about buying the car for her son, but … the car was … registered with “Nicole Player’s recently deceased grandmother” who lived in Florida.

KU was fine with this explanation. Who wouldn’t be?

[I]n the process of looking into the car, KU discovered a wire transfer to Player that came from a man named T.J. Gassnola. Player lived in Euless, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Gassnola hailed from Ludlow, Massachusetts, a little town a couple hours west of Boston.

There appeared to be no good reason for this exchange – and there wasn’t, at least by NCAA standards. Gassnola, a member of Adidas’ so-called “Black Ops” group and AAU team owner, detailed from the witness stand how he had plied Player with $89,000 over the course of nearly a year, including a $30,000 cash payout in a New York hotel room and another $20,000 brick delivered while in Las Vegas.

But wait, that’s not the best part.

Worried there was no proper explanation for the payments, Player texted Gassnola to inform him she had told KU officials the two had been involved in an “intimate” relationship, believing such activity would somehow make it NCAA legal.

If you can’t get enough of this stuff – and there’s TONS – go here.

Better yet, go here. This narrative, penned by Kafka after he dropped acid, is truly one of the greats.

The front porch of the …

university.

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