For Xavier Basketball players and other college students, school is getting back in session. While a new season in College Football is getting underway. With scandals in that sport being examples of a growing problem.
This is increasingly becoming a time where virtues are being brushed aside for the hope of victory. Institutions are putting the desire to win, along with institutional survival above integrity and doing what’s right. Some have accused The Ohio State University of doing so last week. Through their decision not to fire Urban Meyer. Following an investigation into his handling of domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
This particular situation has a few nuances, making Meyer’s suspension understandable. For one, Meyer himself isn’t accused of domestic abuse. If he was then it would be hard to imagine Meyer keeping his job. Second, Ohio State’s athletic department overall isn’t completely clean. The Smith matter isn’t the only ongoing controversy involving Ohio State athletics. Leaving people with the perspective that Ohio State and other schools only care about winning.
Ultimately, many college sports fans aren’t surprised about these controversies. Many unfortunately view major college sports as financially and even morally corrupt. Particularly major college football and basketball programs. Along with college conferences and the NCAA overall. People have put forward this complaint against major college sports programs for years.
There’s one major difference though with the college sports scandals of 2018. These scandals are happening in the midst of other scandals outside of college sports. Hurting or even destroying the trust people have in multiple institutions. Including institutions that play major roles in Xavier University. Along with many other Big East Conference schools. Plus, other non-academic institutions that have a significant role in many lives.
Universities often tout that among their institutional principles is building character. Many universities and their athletic programs likely live up to that aspiration. Yet for major college football and basketball programs; there’s the sense that it’s all a façade. That the talk of being character builders is a marketing ploy in the eyes of cynics. That cynicism could pose a potential danger to the future popularity of college sports.
Given the scandals, it’s understandable if many feel that college sports is hopelessly corrupt. As a result people could look past scandals with a shrug. Many fans passionate loyalties to their favorite schools could also be a factor. That doesn’t give major college sports programs the incentive to clean up their act. Instead, that could leave them feeling that they can get away with wrongdoing.
This situation presents an opportunity, for college coaches like new Xavier Basketball head coach Travis Steele. To not just talk about being character builders, leading with good principles. Instead to be folks that actually live up to those values they and their institutions tout. From a Xavier perspective, there are reasons to believe that Steele and Xavier overall can do that. After all, many colleges including Xavier, plus many coaches have largely done so for decades.