Mar 012012
 

Rant provoked by:  After a Costly Scandal, Binghamton Begins Rebuilding – NYTimes.com:

Without realizing it, this piece in the NYTimes shows up just how wrong the unholy marriage between big-money sports and the university is. Details about what happened are in the article, but basically, coaches, administrators and players threw SUNY Binghamton the school (as opposed to the sports franchise) under the bus in order to win basketball games. They were caught, and some student heads rolled. But the people in power were all handed golden parachutes and sent out to do more of the same elsewhere.

Oddly enough, officials are certain this can never happen again and found the report on the episode as thrilling as a cheap novel. No horror. No regret. The journalist seems to think things are on the mend and so, as supporting evidence, he trots out a quote by an associate professor of sculpture who is (one assumes?) in the know (?) and is now:

absolutely positive that the sort of errors and judgment that were made will not be made again here.

Well, okay. If this sculpture teacher is absolutely positive that things are cleaned up then I guess…Wait, what’s that? Oh, there is more to the quotation:

Not in the near future anyway.

Am I anything but a fool if I fail to understand that “the near future” doesn’t extend beyond summer? This guy knows jack-all, and the journalist should be embarrassed to quote him as an authority on whether this problem is dealt with or not.

This story showed up on the front page of the web site for most of a day, but the only absolutely-essential piece of information in it is squirrelled away in the exact middle of the piece. There we read about the life-since-then of the teacher who threw the shit in the fan by treating the basketball players as students:

“Everyone that did something wrong has been rewarded,” said Sally Dear, a former adjunct lecturer who believes she was fired for being a whistleblower. She helped uncover preferential treatment for basketball players.

Dear is now teaching classes at SUNY Oneonta and Syracuse University, wishing she could return to Binghamton, where she taught for years and recently was awarded a Ph.D. Dear maintained she was unjustly punished for trying to uphold the university’s academic standards.

“I should be able to teach at this university,” she said. “I don’t even dare apply; I’ll never get the job. They’ll laugh if they get my application.”

The non-tenure track, part-time, contract-to-contract teacher refuses to give a pass to an athlete, and in the process, exposes a completely corrupt athletics program. She doesn’t get a thank you or a golden parachute. She’s not bought out. She loses her job.

This is the story! But the Times doesn’t run it. Why? Well, I did a bit of googling, and it turns out that Dr. Dear teaches sociology, studies family. She’s an older woman. I’m guessing that everybody (i.e. the men) involved in sports at Binghamton see her as a troublemaking shrew who doesn’t get sports or the vital role they play in the university today.

And the Times plays along, running a story that offers little more than a sigh of relief that, indiscretions and errors of judgment behind them, things are turning around. Proof? Well, now that the bad ghetto kids who sell crack and cut class have been kicked out, the school has won it’s first Division I game since the scandal, and more wins are sure to come. Thank God!

 Mar 1, 2012  Teaching

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