“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.


Bogus Courses, Bogus Credits

March 17, 2008

Do athletes get preferential treatment academically — are they steered to “gut” courses taught by jock-sniffing professors? MLive.com offers an astonishingly detailed — and horrifying — report on the teachings of just one prolific professor at the Univ. of Michigan. The expose continues, with yet more evidence of a massive academic fraud perpetrated by Michigan administrators and professors, to keep athletes qualified to play.  The Day 3 report piles on the evidence of academic deception. The fourth and final instalment is here.

This comes on the heels of a New York Times expose of similar doings at Auburn.

Between them, these reports document the fraud that characterizes the “education” of athletes, who seemingly fatten their GPAs with “independent study” courses that involve, well, nothing that a reasonably alert 9th grader wouldn’t have mastered years before matriculating in university. When they must take “actual” courses, they enroll in classes that oftentimes are reserved only for athletes, no civilian students welcome.

What happened to the “student” in student-athlete?

Do you still think Rutgers is immune?

Extra-credit round: we are soliciting tips on professors who provide preferential treatment to athletes on the Banks. Our goal is to name names and, ideally, to come up with enough detail to entice a New York Times reporter to take the bait and pursue a story about Rutgers. We know this is happening now — the “tutors,” the tame professors, the easy courses — the panoply of academic fraud so vividly depicted in Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons. Send in your tips about fraud at Rutgers! Be an academic hero.