The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

What college athletics should really be focusing on

Ever since the Penn State’s scandals has dominated headlines, SMU’s name trails not far behind.

The death penalty once again resurfaces and the talk grows repetitive. Many people ask will the NCAA crack down with the death penalty again?

Well, those people are asking the wrong question. The real question people should be asking especially today is, what is it about college football that makes people abandon their morals and make ill decisions? The Penn State scandal is another cautionary tale that will serve as a reminder how collegiate sports tolerates corruptness.

It was once SMU, it is now Penn State, University of Miami, USC, North Carolina, along with undoubtedly future accounts of the religion of football trumping the basic value of ethics.

The Penn State scandal broke last week, but records show the very first credible report made to the police was back in 1998. The mother of a victim told a local Pennsylvania newspaper, the Harrisburg Patriot-News, that she was kept from speaking to the media by police.

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State coach who is now allegedly accused of sodomized young boys, abruptly retired his longtime position as defensive coordinator at Penn State in 1999.

Coincidence? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

SMU was subjected to one of the largest collegiate sports scandals in history because of two factors: they got caught and the severeness of the punishment that was given. Paying players for play was no secret among the entire collegiate football realm. The Southwest Conference was practically built off it. Texas A&M had a one million dollar slush fund and Oklahoma State did not fall far behind.

As mentioned before the issue is nothing new, so why does it persist?

There seems to be this mentality that football is religion. It is this mentality that creates idolized football figures among the sport — Joe Paterno was one of them. He was a football deity among the Penn State community and for some reason excused .

However, even today you won’t find a small town Tuscaloosca reporter digging around the offices of Nick Saban in hopes of cracking some story. The town lives off of football – literally. With all of the money in the NCAA, the power within this organization is dangerous. Communities won’t dare challenge the actions of Joe Paterno or other leading figures until it’s too late.

Many SMU students and even alumni are treating the possible move to the Big East as some sort of revelation for this university.

Has anyone stopped to recognize the major academic achievements SMU has made since football has stepped down from the main platform?

After the demise of the Death Penalty, SMU was able to shift its focus to academics. SMU’s 15 teams rated a perfect 100 percent and all 15 of SMU’s programs rated by the NCAA were equal to or better than the national average in Graduation Success Rates (GSR) according to data released by the NCAA.

Obviously, pride in athletics for any university or community is vital. However this pride has transcended into a form of life or death among collegiate level.

It seems the NCAA needs to preach it’s purpose; “to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner, and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount.”

The NCAA has dropped the student part in student-athlete. In addition to these scandals the NCAA is also treading in the murky waters of professional vs. student-athlete issues like the current Ed O’bannon vs. NCAA case — but that is another story.

I can only hope that when leaders in collegiate athletics begin to turn their heads from ethical issues they will turn to English philosopher Edmund Berke, “All that is necessary for triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Erica Penunuri is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in spanish. She can be reached for comment at [email protected] 

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