11/8/2011: In a week, Penn State has gone from being an example (the only example?) of a school that did college sports right – no scandals, high graduation rates, money raised for academics – to a sordid sex scandal involving a coach molesting a 10-year-old in the team’s shower room. You can find angry opinion pieces on this everywhere, e.g. George Schroeder of the RG. The NYT piece by George Vecsey nails it:
At Penn State, it was even worse than prostituting education for the sake of a football powerhouse. The entire old-boy system in that university managed to overlook the possibility that children’s lives were being ruined, within the dangerous cocoon of King Football. We need to look beyond the alleged abuses. We need to look at the system that encouraged people to look the other way. Really, we need to do something about big-time college sports.
Cocoon is right. Step one is sunshine and transparency. Lariviere promised this after Bellotti. We’ve seen some sunbreaks, but it’s still a long painful fight to get even the simplest financial details from our department. For NCAA infractions, the position of our misnamed “Faculty Athletics Representative” Jim O’Fallon is simple: the faculty do not have a right to know what is going on inside the athletic department. He, AD Rob Mullens, and “The Cleaner” Mike Glazier will take care of it. O’Fallon has had the FAR job for 23 years now. He is paid $187,729 at an 0.5 FTE – plus travel to games, etc. Cushy. A guy would hate to give up a deal like that by asking uncomfortable questions. This is not how you do effective oversight. The faculty is supposed to review his performance every 5 years. We never have.