For the definitive statement of why American university professors don’t wanna know from their local Athletic-Industrial Complex, go here.
For pathetic up to the minute details of the pathology, go here.
By the way, the Chapel Hill Show Trials (I write about them here) seem not to have gone over well.
[A group of high-profile] retired [UNC] faculty took issue with an event at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting in which several athletes talked about their studies and spoke favorably of the tutoring program that assists them.
“The recent presentation to the Trustees by several accomplished student-athletes whose work as students has not been impugned was one more embarrassing exercise in avoiding the heart of the issue,” the professors wrote.
April 4th, 2014 at 10:30AM
loving yer higher-ed column, reminds me of the scene in the Sopranos when the mobster’s wife is in a head-shrink-ing session and she tries to make it all about her husband so the analyst says to her just so someone has said it straight to you if you don’t get proactive and make some real changes this situation will destroy you and your children…
April 6th, 2014 at 10:37AM
Yes, where are the faculty?
At my own humble institution, a dozen of us proffies recently proposed a set of revisions to the Athletics Program Handbook and submitted it to the intercollegiate athletics policy committee.
Our idea is to weave our concerns (the usual concerns) into the bureaucratic fabric of the athletics program. To give just one example: we’re asking that the Coach Evaluation Form explicitly require that each coach’s players be retained and graduate at a rate equal to or above the institutional average. This would effectively mandate that coaches would be evaluated as “Needs Improvement” (essentially an “F”) if they continue to recruit academically marginal, one-and-done “students.”
Also, by recording an official recognition of problematic practices, this policy would create greater exposure for the institution in the event of a scandal. It would take away any plausible deniability, and thus improve the athletics program’s behavior up front. Such is our hope, anyway.
The thing is, this kind of stuff is a LOT of work: drafting proposals; gaining consensus among faculty members; sitting in athletics program meetings with a bunch of foot-dragging, poorly educated sports types; trying to reframe issues in ways that will appeal to a jockish set of values and otherwise ransacking one’s bag of rhetorical tricks; calling in political favors; etc., etc. And always at the back of one’s mind is the knowledge that all we faculty can really do is to get this policy committee to endorse recommendations, not set actual policy. The Athletics Director reports directly to the president, and final decisions are up to him.
So on the one hand I’m proud of the faculty who’ve been working with me on this, but I can understand why so many others feel it would be a waste of their time.