Friday, October 24, 2014

Gets Worse From Here

An interesting take and a use of a favorite analogy regarding the North Carolina scandal in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education.  The authors, from nearby South Carolina, bemoan the inevitable nature of cheating driven by the desire of boards of trustees, high paying donors and upper administrators to bask in the reflected glory of athletes at Good Ole U.  The trio of authors opine:

The real problem is that, as the days pass and this latest scandal fades, coaches, players, tutors, and administrators will most likely go back to business as usual, and college-sports fans across the country will tune in to ESPN’s College GameDay and savor the sweet smell and taste of their big-time college-sports sausage, all the while ignoring the discarded athletes, as well as higher education’s integrity, that have been ground up in the process.

Ah yes, welcome to the sausage factory.

I call Dr. BS on two parts of this.  First, it didn't take the Athletic-Entertainment Complex to cause this type of activity.  Anyone remember when Louisiana Gov. Huey Long dragooned trains into the service of transporting his Fighting Tigers of LSU around the South?  Didn't think so.  BTW, that was the 1930s for the kids these days.

Second, while Disney/ESPN didn't cause all this, the incredible amounts of money flowing are exacerbating it.

About a decade and a half ago when the first thoughts of a national championship in football begat the BCS and today's playoff, I turned to friends and said:

You thought the hundred thousand dollar free throw was something?  Try the million dollar game.

I think I was off by an order of magnitude.  Anyone who thinks whole administrations won't compromise themselves for the incredible piles of cash available is naive.

Remember, we -- the collective of fans, college athletics and university administrators -- have done this to ourselves by demanding the "ultimate" title game.

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