… Spend any time reading about big-time university football and basketball and it’s like a thesaurus full of adjectives for morally vile. Some schools are so disgusting they’ve been given whole new names: not the U of L (for the University of Louisville, with its pimpy basketball coach) but the U of Smell. Almost all the Texas football schools exhaust the efforts of sports writers to come up with new ways to say absolutely rock bottom gagworthy – rape-besotted, self-righteous Baylor; Southern “Slush Fund” Methodist; Texas “Pain Slut” Tech… You’d think a university, rather than say a fleabag hotel, would aim for a modicum of dignity, a veneer of seriousness, a hint of higher things…
Every now and then a derelict university tosses into the scrimmage a gridiron hero who’s so flagrantly mentally disturbed that any location other than a football school or the NFL would pass on him. Norman Bates turns out to have one hell of a throwing arm, so you hush up his – teehee – little indiscretions; the university’s president is wheeled out to say he’s a fine lad with the waywardness of youth, and the students sell t-shirts representing him as Jesus the Christ.
Norman typically implodes after his short stint (it’s not as though he’s attending school) at Football U, and, if he’s Mister Texas A&M Johnny Manziel, he’s in the professional leagues for the full onset of dementia. Who knows why he waits for the professional leagues, where tens of millions of dollars are at stake, to wig out? Maybe he holds it a little bit together in order to be able to go pro; but maybe the pressure of going pro is too much or something.
Anyway every now and then the conspiracy of silence at these sorts of schools suffers a security breach. Seems things were so bad at Manziel’s Texas A&M that some of his fellow players transferred out in disgust. One of them gave an interview and everyone’s talking about it. So let’s see what the guy said…
Former A&M quarterback Kyle Allen says he transferred to Houston last month largely because he disliked the culture of the A&M football program — a culture that Allen says goes back to Manziel thinking the rules didn’t apply to him.
“I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny’s era there — the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there,” Allen told CBS. “They [could] do that and still win games because they had Johnny . . . and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now…
A lot of people were riding off that, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday,'”…
UD sympathizes. It’s a delicate balancing act for coaches. On the one hand, you want the guys to act like insane fucking assholes, because that way they feel strong and invincible and able to win games. On the other hand, you don’t want their rapes and batterings to exceed a certain manageable number. Say one or two a semester. The difficulty of this subtle calculus is reflected in the coach’s sky-high salary.
I mean, it’s easy for a student journalist to say this:
I defended Manziel to the end of the Earth as a fun-loving, work hard-play hard future franchise quarterback and therefore I was part of the problem. He seemed fun and loving, but he was really just sick.
It’s far harder for the multimillionaire coach whose salary depended on keeping Johnny on the field to say this. And anyway the coach has a time-honored option: I did everything I could for Johnny. I loved him like a son. I think the discipline of the team and the games and the university family kept it together for Johnny; I think we were the best thing that could have happened to him.
… its This Is Madness article and sticking it on Page 1A again. UD remains baffled as to why none of these articles (here’s a good one) (what the hell – go to town) tells you why this is going on — the degrading, bankrupting business of new stadiums, multimillionaire coaches, and expensive conferences.
As UD has pointed out before, it’s because the people who run these particular universities cannot think of anything else to do. They’ve already pretty much dismantled their universities as, say, teaching institutions… Everything’s online, or bogus… Their ideal student, their big man on campus, is Johnny Manziel, held up by Texas A&M’s chancellor as a model for us all. Or Richie Incognito, loved up as much by the University of Nebraska as Manziel was by Texas A&M. Did these universities help or hurt Manziel and Incognito, with their veneration and love and no classes and don’t bother graduating and feel free to beat up our students and sell merchandise and reel around being a drunk motherfucker? Have you followed these men’s subsequent careers in the NFL?
If these universities could think of anything to do with their money other than put on games and recruit criminals and destroy players’ lives, don’t you think they would? This is the only thing they can think of doing. This is what they think a university is.
Since we’re all remembering David Bowie today, let’s remember what he told us.
On the whole, you know, this whole world is run by brutes for the common and the stupid. Frankly.
…and has that ever paid off. Scenes from their most recent game.
There was booing …from the sparse crowd even before the first quarter ended, and the stands – where some fights broke out – were largely empty by the midpoint of the third quarter.
Miami, playing in an empty stadium, was held to 146 total yards and just six first downs. The 58-point loss was the worst in Miami’s history, surpassing a 70-14 loss to Texas A&M in 1944.
UM’s athletic director, surveying this empty stadium, blithely reminded everyone to “make sure we continue to support our team.”
Yeah, it’s all gonna be okay. Maybe we’ll get a new coach.
Miami’s AD doesn’t understand that if you want people to go to your games, you shouldn’t make them puke forever.
Eight of the fifteen American university football teams that dominate the “most flagrant chaplaincies” list also dominate the “most team arrests” list.
“MOST FLAGRANT CHAPLAINCIES“:
University of Georgia
University of South Carolina
Mississippi State University
University of Alabama
University of Tennessee
Louisiana State University
University of Missouri
University of Washington
University of Illinois
Florida State University
University of Mississippi
University of Wisconsin
1) Washington State: 31
2) Florida: 24
T-3) Georgia: 22
T-3) Texas A&M: 22
5) Oklahoma: 21
T-6) Iowa State: 20
T-6) Missouri: 20
T-6) Ole Miss: 20
T-6) West Virginia: 20
T-10) Florida State: 19
T-10) Tennessee: 19
T-12) Alabama: 18
T-12) Iowa: 18
T-12) Kentucky: 18
T-15) LSU: 16
T-15) Marshall: 16
T-15) Oregon State: 16
T-15) Pittsburgh: 16
T-19) Arkansas: 14
T-19) Michigan: 14
T-19) Oklahoma State: 14
T-19) Purdue: 14
T-23) Auburn: 13
T-23) Colorado: 13
T-23) Kansas: 13
Longtime readers know that University Diaries likes to follow the Italianization (background on this term here) of the American university, its step-by-step degradation to the point of no return… The big-time sports schools are the leading edge here, of course; and within that category alcohol-sodden big-time sports schools are the real winners. U President Vows Push for Stadium Liquor Sales is, when you think about it, a really remarkable headline… the university president as booze pusher… spending his time pushing booze for his students through the legislature… the university president as alcohol salesman… on the august occasion of his retirement, we scroll through the president’s achievements… got the state to allow our students to drink in the stands…
So here’s a recent Dignity Watch item: The chancellor of one university boasts that his university, unlike a neighboring university, doesn’t – yet – generate revenue by fucking up its students.
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp hasn’t held back lately taking shots at the Longhorns, which for years ruled the state of Texas in college sports.
Sharp had a cutting response to the news two days ago that the Longhorns will begin selling alcohol at football games.
Through a tweet from Gabe Bock of TexAgs radio, Sharp said, “Our athletic program has not reached the point where we require the numbing effects of alcohol.”
And that’s A&M saying that! Texas A&M!
… you’ve produced a species of cheap irony: A management professor who cannot manage his management class.
Whatever the back story, UD would argue that a professor who sends his students a long rant denouncing them and puffing himself up, and who announces in the same email that he’s failing every last one of them and deserting the class (he seems to have handed it off to someone else on the faculty) is un p’tit peu out of control. Texas A&M Galveston has a strategic management problem on its hands.
Sure, some professors occasionally walk out of their classes in the middle of a lecture or discussion. Scott Jaschik reviews a few such cases here. In these examples, however, it’s about something very specific — students texting, or watching films on their laptops. In the Galveston case, the professor’s email (assuming the paper covering the story has published the correct email) shades off into the paranoid, with talk of whisper campaigns against him and his wife, and of needing police protection to teach the class.
UD doesn’t doubt that this guy’s got some shitskies in his class. You’re not supposed to deal with them by going nuclear.
I thought university football was already “truly professionalized,” but according to this, there’s much more to come.
UD has predicted that most physical campus life will disappear as everyone goes online; but she has also – naively – said that the only place on campus where students will continue to congregate in real time will be the football stadium. Wrong.
Even though college football is as steeped in its history and culture as any sport in the country, with the amount of money flying around the sport, it’s just more efficient to play games in these huge stadiums, sold to the highest bidder. The strange thing is that—national title games aside—these stadiums are often empty, particularly for conference championship games. (None of the major conference championships—the Pac-12, Big Ten, or SEC—is expected to sell out their games at neutral sites this weekend.) That doesn’t really matter for the people selling these games: Television stations, particularly ESPN, who just need the programming. (The fans in attendance are essentially just atmosphere—extras.) This is the ongoing trend, too: Fewer and fewer students are even showing up to campus games anymore. In the future college football world, you won’t even need them: These games might as well be played on sound stages.
I mean, yes, UD has been blogging for some time about disappearing students; she just thought that … you know… while they’d be totally gone from physical classrooms, there’d still be “the few, the proud” in the stadiums. (Thanks, Andre, for that link.) Apparently not.
(Silver lining: They’ll still show up for the tailgate and the riot.)
That being the case, UD will make another prediction.
It’s very embarrassing to the schools, these empty televised stadiums. (“[On] average, only 8 percent of U.A.B.’s 18,600 students attended home games this year.”) Soon many universities will revamp their entire admissions systems. They will seek above all in a student the willingness and ability to sit – not too drunk; reasonably excited – in a stadium for the entire duration of a football game. Extras Scholarships will go out to students who can document (via admissions portfolio videos of their high school game attendance) their capacity to simulate being a fan of the university’s football team.
Required reading for the credit-bearing freshman-fan training course will be DeLillo’s White Noise, and in particular the simulacral German nuns scene:
“Our pretense is a dedication. Someone must appear to believe. Our lives are no less serious than if we professed real faith, real belief. As belief shrinks from the world, it is more necessary than ever that someone believe. Wild-eyed men in caves. Nuns in black. Monks who do not speak. We are left to believe. Fools, children. Those who have abandoned belief must still believe in us. They are sure they are right not to believe but they know belief must not fade completely. Hell is when no one believes. There must always be believers. Fools, idiots, those who hear voices, those who speak in tongues. We are your lunatics. We surrender our lives to make your nonbelief possible. You are sure that you are right but you don’t want everyone to think as you do. There is no truth without fools. We are your fools, your madwomen, rising at dawn to pray, lighting candles, asking statues for good health, long life.”
Real fans are gone; no one cares about a fake tv spectacle. But a large group of people must sit in the stands looking like students who give a shit. Someone must appear to care.
[C]ollege football has been accused of being an unpaid farm system for the NFL. This winnowing of the ranks [of universities with football teams], and the increased ability of Power Five schools to compensate players, could make it that much closer to a formality. If we accept—as the Northwestern [University] union lawsuit claims—that these players are more “athletes” than “students” (and thus more employees than subjects) then they’re essentially professional leagues already. You can see this eventually—maybe not as early 2025, but someday—becoming standard operating procedure, and having the Dallas Cowboys go ahead and make Baylor or Texas A&M their “farm” team.
The effect on academics? Well, first of all there will be a synergy with the movement of the university’s teaching business to online. There won’t be any angst about academic integrity, because everything will be invisible. Nothing to see here! And the new honesty about the tv-run, paid-player, farm-team, nature of the university, coupled with the obsolescence of the NCAA itself (“one of the last connections any of these athletic departments have to ‘academics’ at all”) will truly clear the way for more and more American universities to drop the whole “university” pretense and get down to business.
Maybe all cultures do. I don’t know. But I know my culture enshrines its most violent men as heroes even in universities. The hero at the University of Nebraska was and is Richie Incognito. They’re proud to say he chose them and they nurtured him before he went on to his celebrated professional career. Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel. The reigning hero at Florida State University is Jameis Winston.
Icky scary hyped-up babies – the highest-profile, most esteemed, representatives of America’s universities.
But here’s what I love about my country. (I love many things about my country. Here’s one in particular.) It knows it’s ridiculous, and if you push the deification-of-shits thing a little too far, the country will push back.
The idiots at FSU so worship their icks that they don’t understand this. They don’t understand that you need to keep the icky reality of the icks blurry so that America doesn’t have to look at them directly. If you decide to fashion a huge social media campaign around unmediated ick-deification… If you actually solicit questions the American people are panting to ask their baby buddhas about life…
A Florida State social media campaign turned ugly Sunday when the university’s athletic department opened its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to nationwide mockery.
The department attempted to engage fans on Twitter by soliciting questions to be used for a video on the team website.
The hashtag “#AskJameis” became a trending topic on Twitter for a time Sunday — for all the wrong reasons.
… The tweets covered a wide range from witty to malicious. Most were aimed at Winston, but others questioned why the university would risk this type of response.
One post read: “Do you know that you have to Buy One to get One Free at Publix [Super Markets]?”
Another read: “Who gave you better protection last year — your offensive line or the TPD?”
TPD is shorthand for the Tallahassee Police Department.
Oh Jameis King of the Library Tell Us! Shed Upon Us Thy Everlasting Light!
So here’s a helpful hint to the FSU public relations people for next time.
Remember Bagehot on the British royalty.
A secret prerogative is an anomaly — perhaps the greatest of anomalies. That secrecy is, however, essential to the utility of English royalty as it now is. Above all things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it. When there is a select committee on the Queen, the charm of royalty will be gone. Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.
The secret to maintaining the American university’s royalty is this subtle work of obfuscation. Would you ask Queen Elizabeth to take part in a Twitter campaign? The more you poke Winston the less he will be reverenced. Do not let daylight in upon him.
(Remember: If our reporters had followed this no-poking policy, Americans would be free to continue worshipping Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. Keep it blurry.)
… was a cheertator at Texas A&M.
Although Perry gave into his desire to adopt this strikingly non-mainstream personal choice, he’s not very generous when it comes to the inclinations of others:
“I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that,” Perry said in remarks broadcast on the local CBS affiliate. “And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way.”
Johnny Manziel, and now his replacement at Texas A&M: Really not too bad. Not too bad at all!
To persecute [Kenny] Hill for doing something that Texas A&M students, and college students across the nation, engage in routinely is a crime in itself. If you haven’t seen the Arizona and Wisconsin University riots from this weekend, I suggest you Google them immediately.
Many “students” are little more than cogs in the great NCAA money machine. Sure, they receive their scholarships, and some are serious about their studies, but how much time can they put it on classwork when they are expected to practice, travel across time zones and play at a quasi professional level in order to keep those scholarships?
And what happens to them when they get hurt? Or more often, flunk out? The answers often aren’t pretty.
College sports and the big-time dollars they produce have effects on the core educational mission. When Nike founder Phil Knight builds his alma mater, the University of Oregon, a $68-million “football performance facility,” it is money not spent on a new science or performing arts building. D-III athletes don’t “inadvertently” sell their autographs, like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, to memorabilia collectors, nor do our alumni have reason to take the NCAA to court for compensation for use of their likenesses in sanctioned video games.
Attendance is tanking at lots of Division I football games, and UD wonders whether some part of that isn’t simply disgust, scandal fatigue. Americans expect the professional leagues to be disgusting, but there’s a vestigial sense that universities should be better. Amid all the theorizing about why people aren’t going to university football games, there’s maybe this, as the authors of the opinion piece suggest: Our tolerance for the Div I Big Lie is finally starting to weaken.
Next up, on the Sports Illustrated hit parade:
Around 2007, Joel Tudman, an [OSU] assistant strength-and-conditioning coach who is also the team’s chaplain and carries the title of Life Issue/Social Development Counselor for the football program — a mentoring position that has become more common within athletic departments — was put in charge of the drug counseling program for football. Tudman is also founder of Net Church, which he started in 2006. The congregation has grown quickly, and Sunday-night services were moved from Bennett Chapel to a student union auditorium, where Tudman’s sermons are delivered to an audience that often includes 40 or more football players.
Tudman, however, has no formal training in drug counseling. While Tudman’s bio on the athletic department website indicated that he had received a “double masters in health and counseling” from Texas A&M-Commerce, he in fact has only a single master’s degree, in Health, Kinesiology and Sports Studies. (Tudman’s bio on the Net Church website also erroneously stated that he had master’s degrees in Health Promotions and Counseling. After Tudman was interviewed by SI the bio was corrected.) His Oklahoma State bio said that he was twice honored by the Lone Star Conference as a running back and was a “3 time All-American sprinter.” In fact, that conference recognized him once (honorable mention in 2003) and he was an All-America sprinter only in 2004. (After SI began investigating Tudman’s background, the school pulled his bio from its website.)
Tudman says because he took courses in health and counseling while at Texas A&M-Commerce he “thought it was a double masters.” He produced a transcript that showed he completed five counseling courses, but none of them dealt with substance abuse and he never enrolled in the two courses Texas A&M-Commerce offered in that area. Tudman concedes that his athletic accomplishments were also embellished. “That’s [a mistake] on my part,” he says. “I take full responsibility.”
… (Tudman remains unlicensed to treat drug users.)
When asked about Tudman’s qualifications and background, [OSU] athletic director Holder said, “I didn’t look at Joel’s résumé” …
What Holder looked at was whether Tudman was a sufficiently pathetic blowhard to be controlled by Holder. Answer: Yes.
Graham Spanier, Holden Thorp, Gordon Gee, Donna Shalala, David Boren – As Chief Inspiration Officers of football factories, these leaders have taken whatever dignity the office of university president once had and run all the way downfield with it.
Rick Perry’s football factory – Texas A&M – has got itself a way-depraved chancellor who’s been out there boohooing over little Johnny Manziel and his drunken greedy ways. So the boy’s a lout — so what? Physical aggression, financial self-serving, and booze up the wazoo happen to be the values we cherish at this school, and Manziel’s three for three.
… to discern the figure in the carpet. …It was invaluable training,” said Ryan Crocker in a recent interview at his college,” in how to think about complex foreign societies.”
But that Henry James short story, which Crocker “analyzed for my senior oral,” concludes with no figure found, its enigma intact.
We interpret stories; we tell stories. We chase down meanings and patterns and plots all our life -in some sense, this is our life – but we never solve the mystery, discern the figure. Tzvetan Todorov puts our rather brutally simple situation this way: “Narrative equals life, absence of narrative, death.”
Crocker’s storied, harrowing diplomatic career has ended, and, as some sort of result, he seems to have fallen apart, having been arrested for DUI and hit and run. Although named as dean of Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, he has not been much in that role. He left to take an ambassadorship, and, for next year, he’ll be a teaching fellow at Yale.
The life Crocker lived for decades pitched him forward from one byzantine, bloody narrative to another – an existence nightmarish, but engrossing and heroic. Now there’s the business of being an ordinary man with nightmares.
… alarms really should go off. You shouldn’t be surprised that people like Bharat B. Aggarwal are under investigation for
fabrication and falsification in a host of published studies [65 and counting, to be precise] about the cancer-fighting properties of plants.
I mean, look at the page, please. This person tells us he has seven professorships:
Member, University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston
Adjunct Professor at Albert B. Alkek Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT), Texas A&M University, Houston
Ransom Horne, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research
Professor of Cancer Medicine
Professor of Immunology
Professor of Biochemistry and Professor of Experimental Therapeutics
Chief, Cytokine Research Section, in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
He’s published over six hundred papers… Of course, this number doesn’t raise eyebrows because other med professors say they’ve published a thousand… two thousand… a zillion squared…. When you’re one of thirty authors listed at the top of a page, when you’re a lab chief who probably did squat on most of the studies, the sky’s the limit. Go for it.
You’re seven professors at once, and you’ve published six hundred papers, and you’ve been invited to give 324 lectures in fifty countries… But you still have time to
[manipulate your] images – adding or subtracting features, cropping, stretching, rotating, flipping horizontally or vertically – to leave the impression the same ones represented different experimental conditions.