Today, Mark Emmert, NCAA president, issued a series of wholly justifiable and appropriate sanctions against Penn State (my alma mater) football in the wake of the damning Freeh report on the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal involving little boys.
Emmert prefaced the sanctions by discussing the appropriate role of athletics in higher education. He noted that the sanctions were meant to ensure that, true to NCAA standards, “football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing, and protecting young people.” He went on to say that the NCAA was created to ensure that “…the athletic programs totally embrace the values of higher education … [and] to insist that athletic programs provide positive, moral models to our students, enhance the integrity of higher education, and promote the values of civility, honesty, and responsibility.”
This is bad news for all major football programs and most of the mid-majors. The NCAA will now ensure that all student-athletes attend classes and make adequate progress towards graduating with real majors. This means, for example, that the SEC will adopt the same academic standards as Vanderbilt, the Big 10 will all follow Northwestern’s example, and the ACC will mandate that all its football programs follow the example of Wake Forest.
If you think this is ridiculous, but that Penn State deserved the sanctions and penalties it received for letting its football program get out of hand, then you’re a hypocrite.
The NCAA, even when it takes appropriate action, reveals the blatant hypocrisy of athletics … really, football … in higher education in this country.