“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.