Saturday, August 09, 2003

Robert Sloan is having a tough year. The President of Baylor University recently had opposition at a meeting where one out of control alumnas even called him a Fundamentalist. At Baylor, that is like being called Hitler. Now, the basketball program has been revealed to have major NCAA violations. The Patrick Dennehey fallout has not stopped at the death of a basketball player on his way out, but has shown other problems. Coach Bliss resigned. That makes two resignations in the face of trouble for him. The Athletic Director resigned also. The list of violations is mostly payments to players of various types. They euphemistically said one payment came from a third party. Read alumnus.

Sloan deserves credit for reacting promptly and seriously. He has put the team on two years self probation and told any players who want to leave that they will release them. He said "You know integrity involves both adherence to your core principles and core convictions, and it involves accountability. We have failed with regard to adherence to our own deepest convictions, but we will not fail in this other very important dimension of integrity, and that is accepting responsibility and holding ourselves accountable." That is an admirable statement. It is a shame that the athletic department did not have the integrity, and the third party, to obey the rules. But, at least Mr. Sloan has the integrity to refrain from any cover up, and to deal with the problem straight up. Well done, sir.

Baylor cannot seem to escape these problems. They were on probation from 1986 to 1988 for illegal payments and other things. They were on probation from 1994 to 1999 for having coaches to school work for players. There were federal criminal convictions handed out. So, after only 4 years of being off probation, they are on again. The NCAA has not acted yet either. How far do you have to go before you get the "death penalty" as SMU did?

College athletics, being mostly a farm club for the professional leagues, are full of pressure to succeed. Alumni are often desparate for their alma mater to be a sports winner to boost their own self esteem and for bragging rights. You would like to think that a christian university would do better, but they haven't even done as well as the average secular university. This may have something to do with Baylor's feverish desire to escape their image as a little Baptist college and become a major player.

So, once again, instead of leading the ethical and moral charge, we have the supposed Christians making news for their moral failures. What a year this has been! Almost every newspaper has an article about child abuse in the Catholic church, the we have the Episcopalians elect a homosexual bishop, now we have the Baptist college breaking the NCAA rules and having one player murder another. Remember that old hymn that says Lord send a revival and let it begin in me? We should send the words out to all the Christian organizations.

The bright spot, as I mentioned, is Robert Sloan's actions. Ironically, he will probably take a lot of heat for the problem. My only recommendation is to put a fundamentalist in the athletic department.
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