A recent, anguished rant by Tommy Bruin caught my eye:That's why they're $uC
they suck, Petey is a hypocrite, their players are thugs, the fans are assholes on a bandwagon, and the NCAA looks the other way on the whole thing. They're trOJans, they breed OJ's, house-gates, they're cheaters, the players can barely pass underwater basketweaving (which makes them top students at $uC, the "school" where $$$ talks and academics walks). I heartily agree with the sentiments (and the frustration) expressed, but we've been carping about this for years, if not decades. It is almost intergenerational.
But did you know there is also a pecking order to this as well?
Back when the Earth was cooling, I was taking Bus Ad 100 from Dr Nichols. He related a story about a couple of his peers from Stanford at a conference who were lamenting the fact that Red Sanders' UCLA teams would regularly clean their clock. They went on to say (just as we are doing) that it was because UCLA had somewhat diminished academic standards compared to their beloved Stanford and that UCLA's football team was comprised of hired goons. They remarked to Dr Nichols how Stanford had done well to hang on with UCLA in a recent game against such overwhelming odds.
The point of the discussion, as I recall, was cetus paribus (all other things being equal) and how people can set arbitrary standards for competition such that moral victories are achieved. (cf. many posts on this site about the Las Vegas Bowl "moral" victory.)
Hell, That crap is still perpetrated by the Leland Staford Junior University (emphasis mine). That's their whole milleu; they thrive on it. They are academics who just happen to field teams that aren't supposed to win but can pull off the occasional upset. When they do, it is a monumental occasion, a triumph of good over the forces of evil, they have beaten back the Mongolian hordes, Rome and civilization is safe for another 100 years, etc. All of this to the accompaniment of their insipid band playing that insipid anthem, "It's All Right Now"; I am guessing the context of this is they have made society safe from the likes of barbarians from ((gasp!) UCLA and USC.
I personally don't know if there are a lot of scholars on the USC teams; I should like to think there aren't because it eases the pain of our scholars getting their asses kicked by their thugs. Consider how much more embarrassing if we lost 66-19 to a team of guys who were all set to become Rhodes scholars, enter medical school, and prepare to teach physics at Cal Tech?
Yes, I know we can document our contentions about USC with NCAA reports and inner city police blotters. However, we chose to compete in football and basketball and baseball and other sports in the PAC 10 which means that we have to throw down with thugs, elitist Stanford snobs, peace and love hippies from Cal, you name it.
It is to our credit that we all want a clean program with no winking or looking the other way. It is also to our credit that we do it it with student athletes who don't just aim for the occasional surprise upset, but are focused on becoming champions in all aspects of their lives. Personally, I like being represented by the guys in the white hats..
..who also can kick some thug ass as well.