Even during Baylor’s darkest hours this summer, I was faithful the NCAA and college presidents would resuscitate the growing immorality in college athletics.Now, eight months and several national scandals later, I’ve begun to lose hope. The University of Missouri is under investigation, the Baylor investigation drags into another month, the University of Colorado is reported to have used sex to lure recruits and three St. John’s University players were dismissed for sexual escapades at a strip club two weeks ago.
It seems that college athletics long considered to be the only “pure” form of athletic competition remaining has fallen from its pedestal into a deep abyss. Now fans log on to their respective athletic Web site, praying as I did eight months ago, that their team hasn’t fallen from grace.
I wonder who or what is to blame for the degradation of college athletics?
Unfortunately, I believe there is no one to blame. Instead, the deterioration of college athletics is based on one thing, money.
The pressure for money is everywhere, even at Baylor. It’s obvious to me all of the moves in the athletic department over the past 12 months are part of a larger drive for money.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: The push for money began at the top when Dr. Robert B. Sloan, Jr. implemented his ambitious Baylor 2012 over a year ago. Sloan, a man I greatly esteem, desperately needs two things alumni solidarity and financial support in order for Baylor 2012 to become reality.
The best way to secure alumni support is through collegiate athletics. Athletics have evolved from leisure entertainment to collegiate cash cows. In order for athletics to become a financial ally, Sloan had to make immediate changes to Baylor athletics. The first change came with the firing of former Head Coach Kevin Steele. Sloan and the regents went out and dropped big money, more than $1 million a year, on a great head coach, Guy Morriss.
The next step for Morriss and the Bears is clearly a bowl game. They want a bowl game because it is a premier opportunity to rally alumni and receive large money pay-outs. Sloan also had to fill the athletic director vacancy with a moral and financially savvy leader. New AD Ian McCaw is a pure marketer with business smarts. Sloan needed an AD that could create positive cash flow. It appears that Baylor has fallen prey to demands of the money-hungry Big 12 Conference and NCAA. As the proverb says, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” The unending abyss that has become collegiate athletics begins and ends with a drive for money.
Matt Richards is a student at Baylor University.