Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"See, we didn't commit an NCAA violation! Our joke courses are available for one and all!"

As I speculated last week, Auburn does not face any significant NCAA problems from James Gundlach's allegations because ridiculously easy classes were available to all students. The money quote:

"I have never said this was something that was done specifically for athletes," Gundlach said. "My concern was that the athletes were something that was going to call attention to it and lead to embarrassing situations. If the athletes weren't there, nobody would care.

"Since I've been thinking about the athletic rules and other such things, it is clear that everything Petee did for athletes was also available for other students. In terms of the letter of NCAA regulations, there are probably no problems."

So, in the end, Auburn fans will tout their great vindication against the New York Times, the Tuscaloosa Times, Warren St. John, Bear Bryant, TiderInsider.com, and just about every other conspirator against their program, all the while missing the fact that their football program escaped sanction because the lax standards in the sociology department applied to everyone. Does it really make you feel better to have your school indicted as an academic institution instead of your football program? Wait, don't answer that question, Mr. Lowder.


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Anonymous said...

Well, Auburn still may have their accreditation revoked. Here's hoping.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael,
Love your blog. I'm a huge soccer fan, college football, and ATL sports as well so it's right up my alley.

I do have to say that I think you are being a bit myopic with your summary on the Auburn football situation.

I graduated from UGA but attended Auburn for two years, they do have their share of problems with Lowder and Co., but I can honestly tell you that the level of academic learning and studying I had to do at both institutions was virtually the same. I know the worth of a University's degree is based solely on public perception (and this is definitely a black eye), but I really do not think there is much substance to the NYT article.

I'm glad any teacher would come forward and turn in what they think is academic abuse by a peer, but I'm not sure why the NYT decided to turn this into a football degredation pep rally. What does this have to do with Lowder and Petrino on a jet? Why even in the same article if the intent is not to smear?

Anyways, it's easy to pile on when something like this comes up, but UGA fans don't seem to recollect Jim Harrick Jr. handing out A's to his own players, and Alabama fans acting holier than though when THEY ARE CURRENTLY ON PROBATION for paying players. (and then the guy who gets caught doing it mysteriously hits his head in the bathtub on a blunt object, but manages to cover the entire house with blood before he dies (or murdered)? sorry, off topic, but...)

And I remember this headline in the same NYT a few years ago:
"COLLEGES; N.C.A.A. Bars Michigan From Next Postseason".

Unscrupulous things are going to happen at ANY college when MILLIONS of University dollars are on the line. They will recruit players who have no business at the University because the money they bring in more than off-sets any downside it does to the academics. That's just a fact.

Side-note on this story, there was an article written in the Mobile Register this morning that defends the professor in question.


He seems to be a nationally well-respected researcher and professor. Not sure that any of this is fair to his reputation before the facts even come out. I know that before this Gundlach had a terrible reputation with students (and not because his classes are difficult, because his grade reports are higher than average) because of his close-mindedness in discussions.

Haven't spent an EPL season with you yet, hopefully you will stay up to date on that along with College Football. Keep up the good work.


Michael said...


Read my first post on the Auburn issue. I took the position that this happens at every major program and is a necessary result of the fact that students are brought in who are typically unprepared academically for college. I do think that Auburn is worse in this regard than other schools because my perception is that the focus on academics can be compromised by Lowder's attempts to make it a professional preparatory school (hence the demise of the school of journalism) and generally his excessive interference in academic matters. That said, I didn't go to school there and acknowledge that I'm basing this opinion on nothing more than a few articles.

You're absolutely right that Bama fans have no reason to crow. As for Georgia, they took extremely strong action in response to Harrick, Jr. by firing the staff and self-imposing an NCAA ban on a good team. Michigan took similar steps after Ed Martin and that matter is also distinct because Martin was basically a rich hanger-on for Detroit basketball players who became a booster for NCAA purposes when Michigan comped him tickets and found him a room at the team hotel for the '92 Final Four. The connections between Michigan and Martin are a lot more tenuous than between Auburn and its sociology department. That said, you're right that most schools have a dirt factor academically to keep their players eligible.

Anonymous said...

Good points, Lowder is definitely a problem at AU, no argument there. His main problem is being on the board of trustees (there is at least 1 or 2 Lowder's at every school, but they do not get the attention he does because of his "official" title).

Unfortunately I don't think there is anything that can be done on that front until he is RIP. Too much money and too many connections.

I'm sure that the punishment will be harsh where it is due on this issue as well. Just don't think it has very much to do with athletics. I guess they could take Caddilac's 3 Sociology hours away but something tells me that isn't going to effect his earning power too much in the near future.

Great article by Simmons on the EPL. Can't wait for the season to get started.

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