“A Culture of Denial”

March 25, 2008

The Ann Arbor News editorial about sports and the miasma of scholastic fraud it has triggered at the University of Michigan — an institution held up as a glorious example of a big public with both excellent academics and competitive bigtime sports — says it better than we can.  Read the editorial, which focuses on how bigtime sports are corrupting the University of Michigan, bigtime.  Says the paper about the university: “its leaders are unwilling to admit the disconnect between the image they promote – of a place where all students, including athletes, receive an education of the highest standard – and the reality of how some students, especially athletes, actually get their degrees. ”

The editorial goes on: “At the heart of this is an inherent conflict of interest, and it’s not a situation isolated at Michigan. For years, faculty at institutions across the country have bemoaned the evolution – some would say devolution – of college sports into a money-making, quasi-professional system. It’s a multibillion-dollar business, a major marketing tool for keeping alumni – and their donations – engaged with their alma maters throughout their lives.”

Don’t just read the excerpts.  Read the full text because our question is, if this can happen at the University of Michigan — an institution vastly superior to Rutgers — who says it won’t happen here?  What steps are being taken to prevent this?

And most pointedly: how many years before the Star Ledger runs a similar editorial about Rutgers?

Per US NEWS & WORLD REPORT rankings, Michigan ties with UCLA as the country’s third best public university.  Rutgers ranks a dismal 20th, in a tie with Georgia and Pitt.  If it can happen in Ann Arbor, don’t doubt that it can happen in New Brunswick…and maybe already is.


“Time to expose faculty corruption in sports”

March 19, 2008

Here’s an intriguing op-ed out of the Drake Group, an organization created to help faculty and university staff defend academic integrity in the face of big-time college sports.  The key call in this screed is to out jock-sniffing faculty who give athletes “As” just for showing up (at least occasionally).  Let’s name names at Rutgers.  We know the departments they teach in; let’s put the names of these corrupt faculty in lights.

Much of what the Drake Group has online is worth a look, by the way.  Rutgers is not alone in facing a rising tide of academic corruption.  But there is comfort to take in having allies at other schools, people who understand that Rutgers can exist without football but without classes and professors there is no Rutgers.