Draining The Swamp

September07/ 2011

“BobLee, how would you drain The Swamp of Big Time College Football?”.  A fair question. 

My strategy does NOT involve (1) blowing up ESPN, (2) bringing back the single wing,  (3) putting cheerleaders in baggy pants and orthopedic shoes. OR (4) replacing the NCAA Rule Book with a laminated card that says PLEASE DON’T CHEAT SO MUCH.

Every major college can implement my suggestions right now.   But none will.


(1) No exceptions from mainstream admission standards.

(2) Eliminate “eligibility majors”.

(3) Serious career consequences for coaches and boosters who “skirt the rules”.  Not sure how to knee-cap the Fat Cats.  I’m still working on that part.  I have thoughts on coaches pay scales too but that can wait.

Institute these changes.  Wait four years and re-assess the landscape after re-instituting a shred of basic integrity into the percolating septic field.

Since the days of Bronko Nagurski and Pudge Hefflefinger, every college football team has 5-6 players that had no business being on a college campus without wearing a tool belt.  Athletes so academically deficient, whether due to undiagnosed learning disabilities or little/no oversight in their secondary schooling or attitudes of arrogant entitlement, they arrive on-campus functionally illiterate and leave older but no wiser.

5-6 cases can be managed thru “a keeper” to get them up each morning and to/from their classes.  Guide them thru a ridiculous curriculum maze to keep them eligible.   With only 5-6 hands-on management is feasible.  They become infamous punchlines of “so dumb that _____” jokes.

A FB staffer serves as “bailbondsman & faculty arm twister”.  His job is to whitewash the “bad boy incidents” and see that F’s magically become D-s and D’s altered to C-s.  This motley handful of academic square pegs is maneuvered thru the round hole of “college” with minimal attrition …. for those on the two-deep depth chart.

Anyone following the color & pageantry is aware of the above scenario.  Everyone agrees it exists – at their most hated rival’s program BUT NOT AT OUR SCHOOL.   Partisan hypocrisy is as much a part of college football as tailgating….. And a significant part of the problem.

Former UNC coach Butch Davis’ (FUCBD) problems can be traced to those 5-6 hand grenades with loose pins expanding to 15-20 loose hand grenades.  Herding that many feral cats is impossible.    Butch might have covered up Marvin’s escapades OR tutor-gate but NOT BOTH.   The extra weight of tutor mess broke Butch’s back.  Not even Sgt Schultz could be that blind.

At SEC-type schools the faculty and staff buy into the scam. No one much cares.  The local po-leece arrest 6-8 players every year for the usual assaults, robberies, drugs and property damage.  Charges are conveniently dropped and buy-offs made in time for “the big game”.  Collateral damage ….. Boola Boola Sis Boom Bah.

The problem comes when everyone does not buy into “Just Win”. The BOT3 and Deems’ Disciples were willing to sell UNC’s reputation down-the-river but others were reluctant to do so.  Ergo – “Houston, we have a problem!”

Athletes who have no business pretending to be students on campus know it.  As certain as a 150 lb walk-on knows he has no business on the football team.  The athletes know the coach (in cahoots with Admissions) bent admission rules for him before he ever set foot on campus.  Knowing more rules will be bent/broken keeping him there.  So long as they are on the two-deep depth chart.

Strange bedfellows in this academic danse macabre – the liberal social-engineering faculty who otherwise despise “jocks”.   This bunch establishes affirmative action admission loopholes that a shrewd manipulator like Butch can navigate to his advantage.

Re:  “The coedification of UNC” which is now 65% female.   Caucasian Boys with outstanding academic and community service credentials are denied admission in ever-increasing numbers.  The academic retort is “those boys don’t take the necessary high school courses that we look for”.   Implying, of course, that the Marvin Austin and Michael McAdoos do!  The Austins and McAdoos begin finessing school systems when their athletic prowess is established around the 6th grade. They expect rules to be bent and broken to accommodate them.  They are.

Remove gender and race information from admissions forms.   Remove the post-it-note at the top – Coach really needs this 5-star linebacker.  See what you can do.  Here’s 2 on the 50…. wink, wink”

Start with a higher quality of raw material and the end product will be of higher quality.  GIGO.  Kids who appreciate the opportunity to receive a college education treat the college part of college with respect.  Those who see it as a nuisance that can be finessed – don’t.  Require student-athletes to be legitimate students.  Hold them liable to that responsibility

Re: Silly Courses & Worthless Majors……  Even the most naïve fans laugh at this scam.  I’m OK with Underwater Basket Weaving for Gay Swahilis as an elective course.  A sprinkling of obtuse subjects is fine, but not 6-7 semesters  of such foolishness.

“When I was in school” the first two years were General College – a buffet of English, Math, History, Science and Foreign Language.  At the end of those two years you could hold your own on Jeopardy.

Hellfire:  Offer a four-year degree in “Jeopardy” – a general knowledge of “stuff a person should know to be considered educated”.  Michael McAdoo should know “there was another David Copperfield who was NOT a magician” ….. Hey, Marv The Tweeter – Pythagoras did not invent the 9mm ….. Every UNC defensive back should know the square root of four.

Spend four years on a college campus learning what the rest of us learned in the 10th grade; but, by God, finally learning it.   Being “literate” really does help one get through adult life beyond the league.  And there IS life beyond the league.

Abolish Special Academic Support Facilities for Athletes.  “But BobLee athletes have such demanding daily schedules.”  BALDERDASH!  What about regular kids working 2-3 part time jobs to pay for their education – Special Academic Support Centers for Pizza Delivery Guys?

The #1 purpose of lavish “academic support facilities” is to impress mammas on recruiting visits.  BOTBarbara Rosser-Hyde will be in charge of decorating UNC’s new one.  How about chintz for a window treatment?

Mainstream athletes into general tutoring programs available to all students.  Force these swaggering campus dieties to interact with “real students”.  Will we still have “tutoring with benefits”?  Yes, unless you put lots of saltpeter in their Gatorade.

Justice Bob Orr says the illegitimacy so rampant in College Athletics is the institutions’ fault.  I buy that J-Bob with a caveat.  It is Society’s fault first.   The institutions cave to rabid alumni desperate for “bragging rights”, enticingly exorbitant TV contracts and humanity’s relentless search for ways to beat any system.  The Bragging Rights Bunch don’t give a damn.  “Just win ….. we don’t care how you do it”.

“Wait a minute BobLee, what about paying college athletes?”  A moot issue as far as draining the swamp.  Whatever amount the NCAA authorized as “fair payment” – cheating programs will offer above & beyond.  Bend/Break admission rules – bend/break “pay rules”.  Cheaters cheat!

OK, the swamp is drained.   Now I’m turning my attention to (1) making Life “fair”; and (2) producing a strain of dogwoods that bloom year-round.

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