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August 16, 2011 - Morals, Values Sacrificed In University Settings

Catholicsports.net published a commentary from Billy Reed relating to concerns about how recent scandals in college sports demonstrate that morals and values are being sacrificed to support winning athletic teams.  Below is an excerpt of Reed’s comments:

“In firing football coach Butch Davis, North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp said he had “lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution.” He added that “our academic integrity is paramount, and we must work diligently to protect it.”

That’s at the crux of the current crisis in big-time college athletics. Too many presidents have allowed their athletic departments to stray far from the institution’s mission, ideals and principles. In some cases, the two entities, academics and athletics, are joined only in name.

Education? Who cares about that? It has become a crashing bore and distraction from the business of winning games. If a recruit can run a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash or knock down the three, who cares if he can’t read or write? It’s all about winning, baby. And cheating? Everybody cheats. What’s the big deal?

Much like the big-league baseball owners who turned a blind eye to steroid usage in the late 1990s because the drug-induced homer derbies were putting fannies in the seats, the university presidents have treated their athletic departments with what might be generously called “benign neglect.”

The presidents say that winning isn’t everything, but they’ll fire a losing coach at the drop of a whistle – and never mind his record as a builder of character. Who cares about character? Or, for that matter, who cares about sportsmanship and integrity? Coaches aren’t hired and paid obscene salaries to teach values. That’s as old-fashioned as leather helmets. They’re paid to win. Period.”

… “It’s ironic that Creed Black, former publisher of The Lexington Herald-Leader and chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, passed away at just about the same time the NCAA seems to be getting serious about implementing recommendation made by the Knight Commission years ago.

Brit Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland and current chair of the Knight Commission, said today that Black knew about the NCAA’s actions before his death. That’s nice. But it’s also sad that the university presidents didn’t begin getting serious about the Knight Commendation recommendations a lot sooner. Given a solid blueprint for reform, they conspicuously ignored it.

At their best, universities and college are places where some of the most important learning doesn’t always come in classrooms or from textbooks. They are places where students are imbued with morals and values that will help them make good decisions throughout their lives.

Sadly, far too many presidents, athletics directors and coaches are setting bad examples for students. They are teaching them to be hypocrites, liars, and cheaters. They are teaching them that when it comes to winning, the ends always justify the means. They are teaching them that values and principles can be sacrificed at the altar of the almighty dollar.”

For the complete article, link here.