It’s “March Madness,” the NCAA’s college basketball championship
play-offs. But the real madness is off the court.
Shane Battier, the Duke forward and future NBA star, was selected
Naismith College Player of the Year. An academic standout without a
criminal record, Battier is rare. He plays trumpet, and “I might go
home and listen to Beethoven and ponder Descartes,” he claims. Most
college basketball players aren’t anything like Battier. Neither are
most of their coaches. Or professors.
In Lubbock, former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight was
named head coach of Texas Tech. But not before being attacked by Tech
faculty members, who signed their names to a petition opposing Knight,
claiming he’d “cast a shadow on the school.” Professors, like Walter
Schaller, posted “No No Knight” signs on office doors, according to The
New York Times. In a move unprecedented for a prospective college
coach, Tech’s Faculty Senate demanded that Knight attend an inquisition
at its March 21 meeting.
How precious. Unlike most college sports coaches, Knight instills
discipline in his players. And he’s paying for it, every step of the
way. Not only did Indiana fire him, but Tech’s high and mighty faculty
opposes him, too. While Knight might’ve been slightly overly exuberant
in discipline methods at Indiana, it’s important that he did, indeed,
discipline his players — something that happens far too infrequently in
college sports, today. Knight’s athletes never committed crimes. The
one — just one — who did, Sherron Wilkerson, accused of beating his
girlfriend, was immediately off the team. And virtually all of Knight’s
athletes graduated — rare in big-time college sports.
On the other hand, there are coaches, like Tom Osborne, now a Republican
Congressman, who allowed criminal after criminal on his University of
Nebraska football team. His athletes almost literally got away with
murder — or at least, attempted murder. But, unduly revered as some sort
of deity by Nebraskans and Nebraska’s faculty, as well as the local
press, you’d never hear an unkind word about him. And if you did — as I
found out last year — the author (in this case, me) would be attacked with
hate mail from Osborne’s blind followers. There were never any
anti-Osborne petitions from Nebraska’s faculty.
Maybe because they were impressed by his Ph.D. But probably because,
despite claiming to be a conservative, Osborne treated the many criminal
players on his team, like convicted thugs Lawrence Phillips and
Christian Peter, the way Ted Kennedy liberals treat criminals — giving
them chance after chance without punishment and shamelessly attacking
their victims in the press.
Never any petitions against the win-at-all-costs, anti-discipline coach,
Osborne, by professors. Just against Bobby Knight, who — against his own
interests to win — was the exact opposite.
Nor have intellectual elitists ever signed petitions regarding student
athletes, like Osborne’s, who’ve committed crimes and have been allowed
to return to play on the field or court. Or student athletes who took
ridiculously easy courses to graduate, yet didn’t know even the basics
That’s because many college professors buy into the liberal mentality of
allowing college athletes, despite criminal proclivities, free passes
through academic life because many are from the black underclass, even
though most would hardly qualify to graduate high school. And academics
hate conservative, disciplinarian coaches who actually believe athletes
are responsible for their actions. Profs generally support that most
schools and universities belong to and fund, with your taxes, the Center
for Sports in Society and its national Consortium for Academics and
Sports, apologists for college athletes and perpetuators of the myth
that attacks on them constitute racism.
Wall Street Journal’s sports columnist Frederick C. Klein noted that,
during his attendance at an academic conference on the evils of college
sports, professors pontificated that athletes’ crimes and academic
failings were no fault of their own — but that of their youth, bad
upbringings and “the adults who manipulated them.”
Those professors who do demand even the very minimum in academic
performance from college athletes are shunned.
Take University of Tennessee Professor Linda Bensel-Meyers. She
analyzed transcripts of 39 Tennessee athletes, finding that some failed
even phony “soft courses,” like “Jogging,” “Bowling” and “Walking,”
aimed at keeping them academically eligible to play. Predictably,
Tennessee and the NCAA whitewashed the university of any wrongdoing, and
now, Bensel-Meyers — a Renaissance scholar, church organist, and mother
of three sons — is a pariah for daring to harm Tennessee’s
$44-million-a-year athletic program. She’s been threatened to the
point that she no longer feels safe walking across Tennessee’s campus or
working late in her office. No petitions, though — spineless Tennessee
professors turned their backs on her.
Or, there’s Joseph Greer, a St. Bonaventure University sociology
professor. In February, the Wall Street Journal profiled his plight.
After failing a black college basketball player, Greer, a supporter of
Jesse Jackson’s 1984 Presidential bid, was immediately fired and charged
with racism. No petitions by professors, here, either.
And there’s University of Minnesota tutor Jan Gangelhoff, who blew the
whistle on academic fraud, telling the press that she and other tutors
wrote the papers of student-athletes. Instead of any athletes,
professors, or athletic officials taking their deserved falls, only
Gangelhoff was charged with felony fraud for doing athlete’s course
In a June 1999 Sports Illustrated article on Minnesota, a history
professor said that when, during class, he asked student and now-NBA
star shooting guard (Miami Heat) Voshon Lenard “why George Washington
was considered a founding father, Lenard . . . responded, ‘George
Washington . . . name sounds familiar. Can you give me a hint?’”
Professors were often visited by then Minnesota basketball coach Lem
Haskins, demanding leniency and injecting accusations of racism. Being
spineless, they gave in.
Former Ohio State University linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer, SI reported,
got through college with barely passing grades in courses, like “AIDS:
What Every College Student Should Know” and “Golf.” Even many of those
grades were changed by weak professors. Paula DiMarco, who taught
“Introduction to Computer and the Visual Arts” didn’t want to tell SI
why she changed Katzenmoyer’s E to a C-plus. “This is uncomfortable,” she
That’s a lot of unprincipled faculty members. And it’s likely similar
at Texas Tech. But, still, the only faculty petition and demands made
are against the only big-time coach who doesn’t engage in this kind of
stuff, who doesn’t protect criminally-prone and academically inept
athletes — Bobby Knight.
In 1999, Richmond, Calif., high-school basketball coach, Ken Carter,
canceled practices and games and locked the gym until his students did
better academically, which they did. Maybe Texas Tech’s profs will sign
a petition against him, too.
But Knight has the last laugh. Despite elitist professors’ protests, he
was hired. Now they will have to put up with Knight’s demands of
crime-free and graduation-prone athletes.
The nerve of that man.