As a graduate of the University of Kentucky (M.A., 1992) who was there when the big basketball scandal broke in the late 80s, I try not to maintain any illusions about big-school sports. (I will say, however, that although I taught a number of athletes in my time there, I was never pressured about their academic performance.) Still, I have to admit taking a certain measure of delight in the recent exposure of the crime syndicate operating under the banner of the Athletic Department at UK’s intrastate rival, the U of Louisville. (Margaret Soltan, of course, can provide refresher courses in both schools‘ offensive actions — indeed, if you like any college sports at all, she’ll keep you humble.)
Ultimately, we’re talking about a branch of the entertainment industry, which we have always known to be sleazy — honestly, who hasn’t expected stuff like the current flood of sex scandals? That it has metastasized through higher education is sad, but not unexpected.
Where I’m going with all this is an article at ESPN’s website this morning. The title tells the story: “How a Midlevel School Became the University of Adidas at Louisville.” Having followed these developments for years, there wasn’t much there that surprised me. Still, I ran across a line in the story that tempted me to reach for a double Effexor neat with a Lexapro chaser:
“I can give $5 million to stem cell research and it’s gonna help stem cell research,” says Dr. Mark Lynn, an optometry-chain owner whose name adorns the soccer complex. “I give $5 million to a soccer stadium and it’s gonna help everything.”