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Whormitory Days

Our universities’ latest nationally riveting sex scandal, second only to Penn State’s Sandusky thing, has started another one of those Is something wrong with our universities? conversations.

Richard Vedder takes note of “the financial excesses and corruption that pervade college sports,” and calls for the feds to form a national commission on the future of university athletics so we can decide whether we want to keep subsidizing pimps, pedophiles, and the coaches who love them.

Kansas University chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, chief academic officer at Chapel Hill during years of the now-notorious Nyang’oro scandal, worries in particular about the future of public universities in America.

As well she should, given the way she did absolutely nothing throughout her UNC tenure about immense academic fraud at that school… But she takes no responsibility for all of that; she’s worried that public universities are going to die because of declining state support.

Whenever the heads of public universities condemn the stinginess of their legislatures, they loftily remind everyone that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Yet as Vedder suggests, when your school looks like a money-hemhorrhaging joke run by idiots (sample headline for the University of Kansas: Kansas Football is Doomed, and the School’s Other Sports are Paying the Price), you make it awfully easy for politicians to shrug you off. When your school uses “transactional sex as a method of recruitment,” when sixteen-year-olds enter the dorms and “are told by people in power and players they’ve seen play on national television that in big time college hoops, women are just another item to be passed under the table,” it’s a little hard for university presidents to maintain their lofty academic airs.

Margaret Soltan, October 23, 2015 8:25AM
Posted in: sport

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5 Responses to “Whormitory Days”

  1. dmf Says:

    that’s what i’m talking about, of course the other side of the coin is that in mad-tea-partying-states-of-mind like Kansas or here in Nebraska the only thing that keeps the populist hatred for pointy-headed profs (trying to convert their children to some sort of sodom&gomorrah style cosmopolitanism)at bay is their own cultish devotion to the football (and in some cases basketball) programs, so damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t.
    here’s a taste of the mood:

  2. dmf Says:

    Yanis V. on the contested values of Democracy and the academy:

  3. JND Says:

    My grandfather graduated from Kansas University in 1924 (!)with a degree in engineering. No one else in his family had ever even graduated from high school. He worked his way through by washing dishes and came out an educated man who built a good life in the 20th Century. I can see a direct line of his influence through my mom to me to my adult children. Thank you, Citizens of Kansas; this education stuff does still matter.

  4. Dr_Doctorstein Says:

    It’s the sex that gets all the attention, but the true scandal is not that we “keep subsidizing pimps, pedophiles, and the coaches who love them.” It’s that we subsidize the NBA and NFL by running their farm teams, and that we do so in a way that exploits so many aspiring young athletes.

    Ideally, the NFL and NBA would develop their talent by operating a system of minor league feeder teams that would bypass the colleges and provide attractive employment opportunities directly to promising young athletes, who would no longer have to live on a pittance while pretending to be students. The top sports schools then sell their stadiums to the minor league teams, an lease their logos, etc.

    Yes, I know that minor league MLB salaries are abysmal. The fix there is to eliminate the antitrust exemption and legislatively facilitate the creation of a strong minor league players union.

    Could something like this ever come to pass? Not likely, since most of the stakeholders benefit so tremendously from the status quo: the universities, the pro owners and players, the alumni…. The only possible chance I see for achieving justice lies in an almost unimaginable collective radicalization of the injured party: the athletes themselves. You’ll know that fundamental change is possible when you finally see something like this:

    It’s a beautiful January day in Tampa Bay, perfect weather for the BCS Championship. The players line up for the opening kickoff. The kicker runs toward the tee. But instead of kicking the ball he picks it up and walks calmly toward midfield, along with the other players from both teams. At the fifty yard line they all lock arms and sit down, except for the one who grabs a megaphone and says, “Here is a list of our demands….”

    I saw a glimmer of hope with the appearance of the College Athletes Players Association at Northwestern, but the NLRB snuffed it out.

  5. dmf Says:

    well and if the ALEC type folks have their ways our public institutions will become subsidized (taxes, student-debt) job training programs for the corporate cronies of the politicians&administrators all in the name of private/public partnerships…

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