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Friday, February 20, 2004

More on Colorado Scandal: The news out of Colorado is getting worse for university officials, students and fans. There have been more allegations of rape and it looks as if Gary Barnett will lose his job as head coach. Colorado has named Brian Cabral as the interim head coach after Barnett was placed on administrative leave. It appears that Barnett will take the brunt of the blame, and some writers have said he must have been "clueless or dishonest."

The issue is reaching far past Boulder, CO. The AP reports that Congress could potentially enter the fray if the NCAA does not take action, but it is uncertain what type of legislation might be passed. In addition, as Mike Lopresti writes, this showcases a far greater problem inherent in big-time college athletics. Earlier tonight on SportsCenter, Kirk Herbstreit said that this is not a problem unique to college football, and that football players are taking the blame for a larger societal problem. I agree, and it has been said by many in this case, that date rape and sexual assault in a large problem in this country, especially on college campuses. But big-time college athletes are in no sense being singled out, especially, if the overwhelming evidence of sex parties and visits to strip clubs is indeed true.

Big-time athletes, especially male football and basketball players, are often treated as celebrities on campus and believe they are above the rules and the law. So long as this is the case, for every incident that is reported, another ten will go undiscovered. A change is needed in college athletics, all the way from the NCAA down to the players. Is college sports a business or is it amateur athletics? Are players student-athletes or are they professional-athletes-in-training? College sports is in a transition phase now, as marketing dollars, agents and high school basketball on ESPN are threatening to replace pep bands, going to class and playing for the love of the game. The time has come for the NCAA and the individual schools to take a stand, enforcing discipline on 18 year-olds who think they know it all, and ensuring that headlines focus not on rape and scandals, but rather on achievement and the glory of sport.


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