Life of the Mind, Washington State University

Observations about journalism from WSU’s highest paid, highest profile, most respected figure.

You know, you run your mouth in your little old column and stuff like some sanctimonious troll. You’ve never been fair and even-handed with us, so I really don’t care what you think. OK, go ahead, because you’re going to write something nasty stuff anyway like you always do. I don’t know which Coug way back when did something that offended you and I really don’t care about that either. But you can live your little meager life in your little hole and write nasty things and if that makes you feel even, you go right ahead. OK, next.

And then Mike Leach got down on all fours and pretended to be a dog pissing.

Oh wait. That was Life of the Mind, University of Mississippi.

Title IX in Action at Washington State University!

For every two male athletes afforded the opportunity to destroy neighborhood cars, one female athlete must be afforded the same opportunity.

More on Washington State University’s Highest-Profile Representative

Leach talks like someone who can see the fading, wavy outlines of the system he wants to criticize, but because he doesn’t understand where he lies within this political conversation, he mostly comes up with nothing but empty words and sentences. He’s woefully and painfully undereducated on the topics that are upsetting him, and seems confused about what kind of conversation he even wants to have.

And that’s why he’s the highest paid person at a major public American university!

Leach’s own ideology is hard to pin down because he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about; his four-hour Twitter rant and response in this Q&A mostly come down to denial and steering things back towards himself. It’s all honestly impossible to parse, because there’s mostly nothing there.

In other words, a spectacular model for our students!

Background on Leach here.







Just when you thought squalid Washington State University couldn’t fall any further…

… their massively overcompensated, violent, nutso football coach – the Roseanne Barr of the Gridiron – blasts out a hoax tweet, is informed it’s a hoax, and tells everyone who told him it was a hoax to fuck themselves.

[A doctored video] has been circulating for about four years among extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists; [it] splices elements of a speech [President] Obama gave in Belgium in 2014. The words are edited to make it seem like Obama told a European audience that “Ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”

In fact, as the unedited video and transcript of the speech shows, Obama was saying the exact opposite, discussing two visions of power in the world and arguing that authoritarianism was a threat to the international order.

Actually, the version where Obama’s saying the opposite is also doctored. Here is the actual original, from a speech Baylor president Ken Starr gave at Baylor when the rape scandal broke under coach Art Briles:

American universities are too intellectual to win football games; athletic victory can only come when professors surrender their rights to mentally retarded football coaches.

But giving the stupidest person in the state the state’s highest salary is only Step One.

The winning coach must also be a moral cretin, happy to recruit so many bad actors that WSU football boasts more arrests than any other team (here’s a loving defense of the goofy adorable lads).

He must be embroiled in endless expensive lawsuits against his former university football employers so that his current employer is afraid to fire him (lawsuits and buyouts and bad publicity oh my!).

Did I say afraid? Unable.

… Leach’s newly signed five-year, $20 million [WSU] contract means they have no power to coach up their head man on anything and have no financial resources to buy him out if push came to shove — which it most certainly would if they tried to rein in The Prickly One. Moreover … this episode ensures that no other Power 5 school would consider hiring Leach away.

He must contribute to the school’s already appalling overall deficit by adding a $67 million athletics deficit.

He must, ideally, be the foreman at so demoralized a football factory that students must lecture professors, at the end of every semester, on their responsibility to give them final exams.

He must coach at a school that responds to massive sports scandals by appointing new presidents who can say huh? Dunno. Just got here.

And if you’re Leach’s Washington State, which happily scooped up the notoriously mad bad Leach cuz it doesn’t give a shit about anything except football (even sportswhore Texas Tech fired Leach after he tortured a player), you’re going to show your keen sense of irony by hiring a new leader whose main life accomplishment is this:

President [Kirk] Schulz chaired the NCAA board of governors, the NCAA’s highest-ranking committee, from 2014-2016. The board ensures that each division of the NCAA operates consistently within the basic purposes, fundamental policies, and general principles of the association.

When UD read that, she almost peed herself laughing.

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Commentary coming in, and as usual Deadspin’s got some of the best:

[The] irony of a guy whose entire career has been spent at the public trough JAQing off about government power is a thing of beauty.

This one has a country music song twang to it:

[H]e’s every aging white moron

(Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be…)

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Sing it, Carly.

The concussed player you left in your office
The sound of you tormenting the kids
The look in your eyes like a nutcase
Your moronic conspiracy vid

You’re every aging white moron
Every aging white moron
The tweets, the lawsuits, the vileness, the sting
Of every little thing

Guess it’s our fault what you brought us
Our reputation’s dead on the floor
Why does your ghost still haunt me?
Cuz I can’t get rid of you no more

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

Another Deadspin winner.

I think we can all agree that tweeting racist memes about our first black President is an excellent way to recruit black athletes.







Washington State University: Nihilistic Romper Room

Their absolutely massive and growing athletics debt is attracting a lot of press attention, especially after an audit which disclosed just the sort of greed, lies, stupidity, and desperation you’d expect from a humongous sports program humongously tanking.

But it’s not just about numbers: WSU crowned the… troubled Mike Leach king of the school (Mike absconded clutching most of the school’s money and trailing lawsuits); their football players typically rack up more arrests than any other team; and their professors? Don’t ask.

And of course there’s a brand new management team in place! Life will soon be beautiful all the time.







Washington State University and Area 51

Somewhere in the distant inaccessible reaches of Washington State University lies the crashed alien spaceship from which the school will extract the $67 million they need to pay their athletics deficit.

Details here.







UD’s Pretty Confident that Washington State University’s Mike Leach will be getting an emergency…

… raise of $20,000 — half of it to cover the $10,000 fine he just got for telling everyone that an upcoming football game he might lose is rigged, and another $10,000 to make up for the pain and humiliation he might have suffered because of having been fined.

Don’t leave, Mike! We love you! How much more money do you want? You are our golden boy and shed nothing but light and love upon our fine institution!

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And yes – to answer your question – he’s a Trump man.







In following the ongoing Washington State University fiasco…

UD has said that WSU is one of those American universities that doesn’t have a president – only a football coach.

Someone at WSU had the bad idea of letting its latest president-impersonator (very latest – he won his audition only a couple of months ago) out to talk to the press. Everyone was wondering what he’d say on the subject of Coach Crazyass and his Merry Marauders, and this clueless genial man did not disappoint.

“Clearly, at the end of the football season, I think it’s very fair that athletic director Bill Moos and myself and coach (Mike) Leach all sit down and say, ‘Hey, is what we’re doing working?’ ” Schulz said. “But we don’t do that in the middle of the season for anything.”

Not for anything! When you’re doing this well, you don’t fuck it up!

The Spokesman-Review covered the team’s recent history of encounters with law enforcement in stories on Sunday, revealing what appear to be systemic problems within the athletics department. Since Leach started coaching the team in early 2012, players have been arrested 29 times – more than any other college football program in the nation, according to ArrestNation.com.

The new prez has also said he won’t comment on team carnage that occurred before his ascension… WSU being a remarkably bloody location for a long time… And people are wondering why he won’t. But Mr President won’t say. That’s just how he feels. He just doesn’t feel like talking about that stuff. Fiddle-dee-dee.

As the school, under the leadership of Coach Crazyass, goes down the tubes, two factions are emerging. The allies of the coach think it’s a shame that the evil media is paying so much attention to non-events like football players breaking the heads and jaws of WSU students. This phenomenon – common on quite a few campuses – is as we all know a small price to pay for attracting the most aggressive tacklers in the country to your campus. You’re going to lose a few students. I mean, not to death haha! But to grievous injury… UD has suggested reducing the yearly student athletic fee of anyone who can show he or she has sustained significant physical or mental trauma from the lads.

The other side thinks all the attention WSU is attracting onaccounta its crazy coach and his marauding men is not a good thing.

“As a former WSU regent, I am saddened that the university’s efforts to focus on world class academic excellence are in danger of falling victim to a ‘just win baby’ mentality driven by the bottom line of big money athletics,” Marr wrote. “I encourage the regents to seize leadership on this.”

In response to this, the regents have been totally, unanimously, utterly silent.

Then there’s faculty, another peripheral group we certainly expect to keep its trap shut.

“[The coach is] embarrassing us on ESPN, on a national stage,” said Matthew Sutton, a history professor. “To me it’s just outrageous.”

Sutton said he initially brushed aside negative comments about Leach when the controversial coach was hired in 2011. Leach had been fired from Texas Tech in 2009 for ordering that a player be locked in an equipment shed, and later a darkened office, during practice.

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt,” Sutton said. “I’ve since realized that all the criticism from my colleagues about him was correct.”

Oh yeah now I see how it is! Before, this was just a dude with a bad behavior sheet the length of a football field, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But now – well, I guess all those colleagues who told me what a shit he was were right…

And why didn’t all of those colleagues… you know… designate a spokesperson and object to your university deciding to be led by a hopped-up son of a bitch? Now you’ve got yourself in the classic jockshop place: A clueless prez-impersonator; Coach El Duce and his Dudes; hospitals full of hemorrhaging undergrads; and even a fan base beginning to question The Wonderful World of WSU Football.

But don’t panic. There’s an established triage here: 24/7 surveillance for the team. Various forms of bribery (free tickets and more) to the cops to keep them from reporting stuff. Put the president back in his cage. Don’t worry about trustees and faculty – there will be a squeak here or there from them at worst. Hold off for a year on the next student fee increase. And for god’s sake: Hold a bunch of charitable events featuring players, staff, and coaches!







Washington State University under Football Coach Mike Leach (WSU is one of those schools that doesn’t really have a president; only football coaches)…

… is quite the spectacle for the violence-lovers among us. First there’s coach Leach himself, accused of abusing players at Texas Tech; then a couple of weeks ago a whole bunch of WSU football players apparently beat two students at a campus party; and now this:

According to Pullman Police, [WSU football player Shalom] Luani got agitated on Wednesday because his pizza order at Dominos was taking too long. Some other customers asked him to leave, and once outside, he got into a fight with a WSU student and broke the student’s nose.

There’s obviously good team coordination under Leach, because their regular reduction of select WSU students to a pulp has a remarkable about-the-head consistency: The players at the party apparently broke a student’s jaw, whereas here you have Luani breaking a student’s nose. Keeping it all highly localized. Good coaching looks like this.

So the question is what’s next? By UD‘s calculation (no one has yet given a clear number on the party attack), you’re beginning to see serious team depletion as significant numbers of players are suspended or removed because people are starting to notice the numbers of WSU students getting bloodied by them. It is, after all, really a numbers game: How many bloodied students can universities tolerate in order to attract the most aggressive football players to their campuses? Let’s say that right now WSU has two such students, with all the lawsuits and trials and publicity attending them. How many more before they fire Leach (and you really don’t want to fire extremely expensive, extremely litigious, Mike Leach) and try to find a coach who cares a bit more than Mike does what assholes he recruits.

These are the sorts of decisions that take up most of the time of the trustees at universities like WSU. How much blood do we mop up before we dump Leach?







And once Mike Leach leaves Washington State University football coaching for his Trump Administration …

appointment, WSU will want to hire as his replacement Montana’s Bruce Knerr — who just happens to be looking for a job!

The Livingston Public Schools Board of Trustees voted 9-0 to relieve second-year Park High football coach Bruce Knerr of his duties, according to the Billings Gazette.

Videos obtained by the Gazette show students sparring in lightweight boxing gloves under Knerr’s watch at the center of the gymnasium floor at nearby St. Mary’s Catholic School, where Park High’s football program was hosting a leadership camp.

Park junior Austin Peterson suffered five fractures to his eye socket and nasal cavity during a boxing match and required reconstructive surgery at a hospital in Spokane, Wash., the 17-year-old’s father told the local paper. Making matters worse, Knerr was aware Peterson had suffered two previous concussions, the boy’s father added.

“His skull was smashed in a depth of nine millimeters, putting pressure on the brain,” Austin’s father Tim Peterson told the Billings Gazette.

Atta boy! Far more scope for your coaching philosophy in college! Go for it.







“[T]he most well-compensated employee in the history of Washington State University …

— by far —” has really hit the ground running.

But then when you hire Mike Leach you should expect your money to be paying for more than coaching. When you take on at vast expense a person just fired – because of allegations of player abuse – by Texas Tech, pain slut … Texas Tech, a school that never saw a sadist it didn’t like… You should probably expect a little roughing up in exchange for all that cash.

You should also expect Leach to sue your ass and everybody else’s. Even though he always loses. After costing you millions of dollars in legal fees.

Yes, Mike Leach was quite the hot prospect when Washington State eagerly took him on board and gave him all its money. How utterly unexpected that just after he’s begun coaching there a prominent player has left the school, charging abuse by Leach’s staff. How totally shocked Washington State will be when Leach’s lawsuits against it start coming in.

UD long ago failed to be amazed by the criminal stupidity of certain American football factories. She does continue to be amazed that no responsible adults – faculty, trustees – exist at those schools.







“[F]our other [Washington State University] students have been hospitalized this year after drinking so much that they stopped breathing. They were revived…”

A fifth student has died.







An editorial in the Washington State University…

student newspaper.

As finals become a frightening reality for students, professors need to be reminded that finals week is for finals.  [Yes, it’s gotten this bad.  Students admonishing professors to do their job.] It has become customary for professors to schedule finals or place deadlines on lengthy term papers during dead week or the week before, often times violating Rule 79 of the WSU Academic Regulations. The rule states, “No examinations or quizzes (other than laboratory examinations, make-up examinations and make-up quizzes) may be given during the last week of instruction.” Professors are using the lax dead week schedules to turn finals into a two-week marathon of test-taking. Of the five members of The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board, we have 12 finals or papers due during “dead week” and only six finals or papers due finals week between us. We highly doubt that we are the only students facing an incongruous lineup of exams and deadlines.

Administrators have to take violations of Rule 79 more seriously. [Admonishing administrators too.  The students are correct to do so.] With the cost of tuition increasing nearly every year, students deserve every dollar of that education. The 16-week semester schedule does not provide enough time to cover course material in enough detail, especially when professors take an early holiday vacation by turning dead week into finals week. [It’s really not a good idea for professors to make students cynical.] By removing a week of instruction from the semester, professors also cut down on the amount of time they can tell stories about their children and pimp their latest book.  [Piling it on a bit here, but why not?  Students see the rip-off and are pissed.]

A weak economy, poor performance and a disregard for regulations are all adequate grounds for removing a professor. Given the cutbacks in numerous departments and custodial services, students would assume that professors are working harder than ever to make their courses as intellectually stimulating as possible. However, evidence points to the contrary.

Though this is no laughing matter, maybe underperforming professors should be replaced with custodians. We are not convinced that would negatively impact our education – that is how high we hold WSU’s current line-up of “educators.”  [Drop the quotation marks.  The word educator is vile enough without them.] Who knows, WSU might have a janitor who is a savant like the one played by Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting.” Dead week is designed to provide students adequate time to prepare for finals. Digesting 15 weeks of lectures is a daunting task for students who actually care about their education. Of course, some students will use dead week to party, but the irresponsible behavior of a few students does not justify the actions of professors who schedule early finals.

Students should be aware of their rights and report abuses of Rule 79 to the Office of the University Ombudsman in Wilson Hall Room 2.

Tenured academics are insulated from reality, and allowing them to keep their jobs while remaining ineffective is a disservice to everyone who is paying to be here.  [It’s certainly true that tenured professors are insulated from all sorts of realities, including the need to take angry editorials like this one seriously.  Pity.]







‘[Tyler Hilinski’s father] would start by banning guns in university-sponsored housing, even though it’s legal to carry certain firearms with concealed weapons permits in Washington state. “You have to understand the position I’m sitting in,” he says. “If that’s not there, he has to wait another day or week or hour, and sure, there are bridges to jump off and cars to crash if you really want to do something. But if he doesn’t have the gun, there’s certainly a better than zero chance of him surviving.”’

In the matter of the more than ordinarily mysterious suicide of the young (he was only 21) Washington State University hero quarterback, most people are talking about the recent autopsy finding that Hilinski already showed CTE. He had the brain of a sixty-five year old, the doctors said.

Which means scads of university football players in their twenties are probably running around with some degree of CTE. Hilinski after all was a quarterback, a position which typically receives less cerebral punishment than many others.

Et alors? Virtually no one in this country cares; they love football too desperately to give much notice to the early gruesome deaths of their gridiron heroes. People only noticed Hilinski because he wasn’t a mentally eviscerated former pro in his sixties, but still a kid. Same age as Owen Thomas.

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No, ol’ UD is more struck by Hilinski’s father’s comment up there in my headline. Hilinski’s father thinks it’s pretty fucking weird that his kid’s buddies in the dorm had an AR-15 style rifle. Handy, simple, 110% deadly – just the thing for an impulsively self-destructive guy who’d barely hit legal drinking age. (Almost all very young suicides are impulsive.) Hilinski had never handled a gun, but his clueless buddies were happy to give him some pointers, shortly after which he stole the AR-15 and – with this powerful weapon of war – blew his brains out. An incredibly violent bloody suicide, this one.

“We’re always going to have suicide,” [one researcher says,] “and there’s probably not that much to be done for the ones who are determined, who succeed on their 4th or 5th or 25th try. The ones we have a good chance of saving are those who, right now, succeed on their first attempt because of the lethal methods they’ve chosen.” … The element of impulsivity in firearm suicide means that it is a method in which mechanical intervention — or “means restriction” — might work to great effect.

Hilinski’s father’s intuition is absolutely correct; had his son’s demise been more difficult and less absolutely certain than a firearms death, things might have turned out differently.

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It looks as though no one in any way saw Hilinski’s appalling act coming. His suicide note, which will not be released, apparently revealed little or nothing of his motive (UD‘s going to guess that this means its content was pretty short and simple: Goodbye. Sorry.). FWIW, here’s a possible scenario.

Always very strong and healthy, he had begun to experience troubling symptoms: Some mental confusion, maybe some occasional trembling in his hands. Given his lifelong intense devotion to football, this would have panicked and horrified him and made him wonder about his future in the sport, not to mention the future of his general health.

Further, plenty of people who knew him have commented that he exhibited the macho stoicism typical of football guys: If you’re suffering, you don’t tell anyone.

Throwing a convenient big ol’ killing machine into that mix is just asking for it.







“When Mike Leach was caught in his video lie, his university did not set the record straight. Washington State issued a meaningless statement backing its coach’s right to his ‘personal opinions.’ And Leach himself said the actual words spoken by Obama are ‘irrelevant anyway’ because ‘we are discussing ideas.’ All of this from an institution of higher learning.”

Well, if you read this blog’s coverage of Washington State University, you’re not as surprised as this New York Times columnist. Because you would never call jockshop WSU an institution of higher learning.







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