March Honesty

March Madness is upon us, serving as a reminder that when it comes to ethics, many athletic directors at Division I schools with high-profile sports programs for men face an unappetizing decision every day when they go to lunch:  Do I chow down at the septic tank or the compost heap?

It’s hard to overstate the level of stink generated when you blend, and vigorously stir, the NCAA, television revenue, willfully ignorant university administrators, academically unprepared/unengaged students, sports agents, and the lure of pro contracts.  What results is the industrial vat of corruption that is big-time college athletics.  “Hypocrisy” is much too tame a word to characterize this fetid stew. 

Finally, however, someone is taking action: the Southeastern Conference (SEC).  Beginning in fall 2018, the National Anthem at every regular-season football and basketball game in the SEC will be replaced by the following statement delivered, in person, by the President or Provost of the host institution:

“Greetings, fans.  We realize that the most talented athletes on this court (field) today have no intention of completing a college degree, and are taking courses that a paramecium could ace.  We told these gentlemen that this was okay with us when we recruited them.  We also know that administrators such as myself, who participate in this charade, will be taking a luge directly to Hell when we die, given that we are undermining the core educational values of the institutions we represent.  Yes, I will burn for eternity, ever-so-slowly, in the rotisserie-chicken oven of the Abyss.  I have sinned mightily and deserve no less.  But please bear in mind that I have embraced evil only because the hugging of goodness will never get us to the Sweet Sixteen in March. 

“Now, let’s make some NOISE!”

Not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.  Thank you, SEC.