William Dowling, author of the wonderful Confessions of a Spoilsport: My Life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption at an Old Eastern University, has taught at Rutgers University long enough to track its fall from its glory days as one of the public ivies. In an address to the Peithessophian Society, Dowling asks whether Rutgers can save itself as a university rather than a distillery. The current campus is

swarming with party animals who actively despise anything having to do with thinking or learning, who brag about cheating on exams, who spend most of their time playing video games or getting drunk with their friends, and who … should never have been admitted to college at all.

Note the actively despise. UD has noticed this at many of our football factories: Not just polite indifference to the life of the mind, but active hatred. Think Richie Incognito, the soul of the University of Nebraska. Dowling makes the obvious point that “a life devoted to mind or spirit or intelligence [is] what college is all about.” Yet it’s equally obvious that at Rutgers, as at other schools which have always been, or have decided – like Rutgers – to become jock shops, all the money now goes to coaches.

It’s a sad and sickening degeneration. Only students can arrest it.

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UD thanks Brent for sending her the link to Dowling’s talk.

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