College Sports Scandal Blame Games
Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here about the fact that those who enable cheating never seem to get much attention:
Everybody notices the crooked defiant coach, the hapless sputtering president, the anonymous guys on the academic support staff who sit next to the players as they take the online quizzes and tell them what the answers are — but the professors who make the courses… who police the department for evidence of academic integrity…
These guys are the brains behind the operation! Lose the whore in Human Development and the stooge in Sociology, and game’s off, people. And yet “the public face,” as the New York Times puts it, of SUNY’s scandal is Sally Dear, a mere adjunct in Chair Leo Wilton’s department.
UD understands that you need whores up and down the line to produce outcomes like Binghamton’s and Auburn’s. Without “see no evil apologists” like Donna Shalala (who may be about to hire the most disgraced medical school professor in the country to run her school’s psychiatry department), the University of Miami couldn’t field what was recently the most violent team in university football; without national embarrassment T.K. Wetherell running it, Florida State couldn’t produce the biggest sports cheating scandal in the country, etc. But why overlook the tenured department chairs who use their curricular and hiring powers to turn large academic units into national laughingstocks?
Indeed, you’d think professors and department heads would get in especial trouble given that their mission is theoretically unclouded, whereas college presidents and athletic directors have terrific pressure to win at all costs.
Of course, if the system won’t even punish serial cheaters like John Calipari — who get caught cheating, leave their programs in shambles, and then move on unscathed to do the same elsewhere for more money — then it seems silly to bother with the small fish.