Sunday, February 28, 2010

There They Go Again: College Sports

Binghamton University is the "academic jewel" of the SUNY system. According to the New York Times, Binghamton was also the site of gross academic misconduct, including the lowering of admission standards and the changing of grades, in the name of "athletic glory."

This was in the sports section of the paper, though it really should have been front page news.

This story epitomizes the vacuity of college athletics.

Somehow, the Times missed the larger import of the story. As you turn to the rest of the story, you find out about the lengths to which university administrators went to improve the men's basketball program. It is all pretty sickening. Yet it also made me wonder: surely, if small Binghamton University goes to these lengths, what else is everybody else doing to either achieve athletic excellence or to remain there?

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the Times included an AP story on the next page about how the "Longhorns are Preparing for Life After McCoy." This is a story about the University of Texas' football program and the upcoming season. This is the same program whose coach will be paid in excess of 5 million dollars a year, and whose budget is around 127 million dollars.

To pose the obvious question: if it happens at Binghamton University, what are the chances that it does not happen at the University of Texas? or put a different way: to what lengths would administrators at the top revenue producing programs go in order to reel in top recruiting classes while ensuring that their players remain academically eligible?

We can only wonder.

However, it is hard to be optimistic.