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Something is Rotten in College Sports

The numerous scandals in college sports have brought to light a long-standing pattern of underhanded dealings and abuse of power within the college sports community. Be it, faculty that have used their authority for demented pursuits, college administrators for seedy connections, or the players themselves who can range from victims of circumstance to outright complicit parties in some situations, it's all starting to be too much to ignore. As always this site ( speaks in generalities and does not point the blame at any single source, so please do not assume all people associated with a college-level team have criminal leanings. This post will examine the shortcomings of universities to act ethically and the position of the players themselves in the world of college sports.

To begin with, every reputable college allows for sports team members to have free tuition. The conspiracy of concern here is if there are members on sports teams who were appointed in order to funnel free tuition in return for dirty favors to college staff members or to be taken advantage of by the staff. What would you do for a university affiliate in order to be put on a team that prevents you from ever having to pay a dime of tuition and never risk failing a test until you get that degree? There are many people that would answer that question with a hefty list. Also, let's not forget that these team positions come with elevated standing and hold other perks as well. College sports players have priority for on-campus hiring, plus preference in internships, and much more. This quid pro quo relationship is common among staff and students and can get out of hand quickly.

A recent real-life example of college sports gone awry is the Lori Loughlin case. Outwardly a public surprise, but to those in the know, it happens every day. That Deadshot joke in Suicide Squad seems to be less humorous now and a little too on the nose. Likely it is the tip of the iceberg in rigged college sports among California Universities. For Loughlin, it is the apparent case of an actress paying a massive sum of money to have her daughter not only use faked test scores but also to be placed on a rowing team by means of staged pictures for a backstory. Loughlin"s case brings up the lack of sanctity that college sports operate under.

College buy-ins are not the only shady sports team happening on campus. Do you remember the professor who shouted: "let's get some muscle over here!"? Her name was Melissa Click and she was a University of Missouri faculty member. The media was surprised by her actions and attitude but any recent graduate could probably back up the assertion that more than one university staff member has acted this way by using sports team players to serve as their personal hit squad. These players are used as brutes to suppress any action staff has an issue with, usually over a petty slight or simply to cover for their own subversion of justice. Click makes a perfect example of the sports team member misuse case and it is not out of the realm of reality to wonder just how often she gave positive grades and letters of recommendation to members of the on-campus teams. The players themselves are in a prickly position because if they don't adhere to the demands of the likes of staff like Click, they might themself as next "muscled out" party.

The above as unsettling as it maybe is nonetheless the least of the transgressions that college sports have a hand in. No, to understand why this problem must be addressed, it is vital to look at the harsh reality of unchecked corruption in college sports that have already happened. In doing so it is easy to see that it's the players who suffer most. To look with heavy scrutiny one might point to the problem of a lack of institutional integrity and reliance on universities to self-report and self-regulate. Consider Larry Nassar, and how long the complaints against him continued. There is no doubt that Nassar wasn't known to the Michigan State University administration during his years of abuse. Yet, the university was not the entity to bring Nassar to justice, it was the Office of Civil Rights that caught up with Nassar in 2014. If not for that he would still be operating under the protection of the MSU clinic. Thankfully the university was eventually held accountable for at least some of the crimes Nassar was allowed to commit under their authority. As terrible as it is to bring up, Nassar wasn't the only one to use a university as a crime front to lore in victims, as evidenced by the many other staff members who were convicted of sexual crimes at MSU. All who enabled Nassar who himself was protected by his comrades.

The Nassar situation was no fluke though and in the case of Penn State University, we can see how college sports can close ranks and protect their own. I speak of the now infamous, Jerry Sandusky who was convicted of sexual abuse of the children he had authority over as a coach. Where was the college in all of this? The truth is that the college sacrificed those kids by going as far as to cover for Sandusky and burying reliable reports. By doing nothing, they were offering a sanctioned place for Sandusky to operate. Self-regulation has simply not worked for universities and third party evaluations are needed to stop these horrific occurrences from continuing as they do.

Ultimately leaving the status quo as dysfunctional as it is, puts the players in a position to have everything to lose. The majority of sports team members are from extremely deprived backgrounds with little hope outside of making it to the top on a team to get financial stability. The players are in a damned if they do and damned if they don't position, where if they are complicit they are welcome, and if they try to avoid or report on the world of victimization that they are pulled into they are out in the cold. Society has to demand more responsibility by making realistic changes to prevent the above-listed tragedies from repeating. Third-party regular compliance evaluations would be a good start. We need to do better for these players and acknowledging the problem opens the door to allow for needed change to happen.

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