Bernstein: College ‘Scandals’ Don’t Really Exist

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Shocking, right?

Another major college sports program is now reported to have funneled dirty money from dirty boosters to dirty kids to do dirty things. A criminal makin’ it rain to fund parties, cars and whores, and facilitate recruiting. Big stuff.

It all happened years ago, of course. Nothing of the sort would ever be occurring now.

The actors now stick to a familiar script: grim-faced ESPNers twist themselves into knots trying to convey distaste and disappointment while simultaneously protecting valuable corporate property, pundits banally debate “how can this be fixed,” the involved players deny knowing anything as they’re questioned walking off NFL practice fields, and other coaches make excuses, knowing that there but for the grace of god go they.

I love the reporting Yahoo! Sports has been doing, exposing the hypocrisy of the BCS, shining disinfecting sunlight on the USC, Ohio State and the Fiesta Bowl, and now clowning even the NCAA itself in the Miami story.

But nobody cares, when all is said and done.

It was done, then it gets said, and everyone moves on.

The State-U goobers with the car-window flags don’t care, since they just wait for the disgraced coach to be replaced by the fire-breathing kid assistant and for practice to restart. Kickoff is coming, you know, and this freshman can really run!

The schools are too busy to care – they’re rearranging themselves into massive entertainment conglomerates, concerned about market-size and cable-tier inclusions. A few missing scholarships and a postseason ban does nothing to shut off the spigot of dollars from conference shares of bowls and private network deals. We’re far removed from SMU and the days of the “death penalty,” with major universities Too Big To Fail as essential parts of these television contracts.

And the players named? Please. All the good times and business-as-usual on campus were a virtual lifetime ago. They issue dubious claims of ignorance and get back to their giant playbooks, hoping not to get subpoenaed.

Whether you’re a casual fan of the revenue-generating sports or a full-blown, spittle-emitting message-board cretin, you probably feel as I do about the reaction to these stories being one of resignation and realism.

Financial experts use the term “baked in” when describing how markets react – or fail to react — to news. It’s the idea that a forward-looking system has already considered the likelihood of a certain key earnings report, jobs number or consumer sentiment reading, so there’s no heavy impact when expectations are met.

Stories of colorful disregard for NCAA regulations, now, are baked in.

We hear today about the past orgies of cash and crime, and assume it’s going on as we speak, entirely endemic to a business we know not to trust. Even the idealists among us chuckle at the invocation of “student-athlete” in regard to star basketball and football players at mega-schools.

Players make money because schools make money. Players get perks like women, rims and NBA playoff tickets because their coaches are lured to campus with perks like country-club memberships, private planes and clothing allowances.

These stories — and there are more to come, for sure, as willingly as people involved seem to want to talk — will always be juicy, and will always draw mouse-clicks. When big-name players, lavish parties and hot women are involved, we’ll read.

But don’t confuse desire to know the specifics with moral indignation or outrage.

The details are salacious, indeed. It’s just that scandals don’t feel so scandalous, anymore.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: College Scandals Dont Really Exist
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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  • Murphs Upper-Lip

    “Whether you’re a casual fan of the revenue-generating sports or a full-blown, spittle-emitting message-board cretin, you probably feel as I do about the reaction to these stories being one of resignation and realism.”

    Put me in with the casual fan. I love pro sports, never been much into college… but, couldn’t agree more Dan. This “machine” that is college sports, what with the TV money at the top of the list, is out of control. There will never be a stop to corruption with the system as it is currently being conducted, thus, with no possibility of change, we all just shrug and move on with our lives. The NCAA, if they care about their image, now and into the future, need to take a long look into major changes.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    The shocking part of the U story was how utterly slimey the “booster” was.

    I went to an Ivy League school (Cornell).
    No scholarships, no corruption.
    Yet no one wants to watch them play football or hoops (except in March Madness when they are “cute” to root for). M U-L is right about the $ machine.

    • Sean

      How can you possibly be shocked that a booster is “slimey”

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        I meant to this extent…the Ponzi scheme etc.

        this guy was way beyond hundred-dollar handshakes

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    RATS…typo… slimy.

  • Kman

    College football is a big money business more than it is amateur competition. Face that fundamental truth and build it into a play for pay business – then everything can be accounted without having to hide it.

  • big time sucker

    bravo Mr bernstein bravo. well written probably one of your best articles. I said this when the OSU. thing went down, none of ether penalties matter unless the ncaa goes after gate receipts and tv revenues made during the time of the infractions. I guarentee you that these situations will clean up quick if you do that!!! vacation wins and bowl banners andl final four appearances forcing schools to”pretend”that they didn’t existdoes NOTHING if they allow seduction schools to keep the money made off of sed

    • big time sucker

      none of these
      stupid auto type on this wretched device

  • i dont wear knee pads

    KUDOS DAN ! you managed to suck up to hester and make a fool of yourself at the same time

    this subject is far from done and over with since most of us don’t get out tickets to games free


      i.d.w.– Devon Hester has been accused by someone who lied himself into prison.
      He’s convincing enough to get a ponzi scheme running–in 2011. “So, how do I get paid?” “You get paid, when I get paid?” “But. . .?” And so on,
      He drops Devon Hester’s name, because Hester’s from a major market and has his jersey hanging in Canton.


    I think that the NCAA should operate with felonious activity (prostitution is prostitution) Root out violent crimes, tax crimes, larceny, and so on. Then, p.h.d.s
    then snoop around for academic fraud. Good luck there, and, if there are any deputies left to pursue money trails, then so be it.

    In the meantime, it might be fun to post a mock BCS standings to replace vacated records. Who won the 2010 Sugar Bowl? Let’s just say, the title belongs to . . .Washington State

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Nationally the NCAA has a total of 38 inspectors…for 120+ schools.

    That creates the perception that “we won’t get caught.”


      A tad over 30 schools per inspector. Easily, 350 athletes (current) per school, so. . (carry the one) 10,500 students per inspector. I’d say that’s a heavy workload by half. Most of them are clean, but they, probably, look at them all. And, go back on other cases.

    • Denver Deadite

      That 120 is just D-1A schools, much less D-1AA, DII, DIII…

  • mike in davenport

    I love sports, but college sports drive me nuts. I hate that our educational insitutions have been turned into the minor league systems for the NFL and NBA. It’s a perfect reflection of how much we really value education in this country, and we still wonder why other countries are getting ahead of us.

  • Mike

    Happened a virtual lifetime ago? Dan, 12 mentioned players are currently on the team. Like, right now. In the present. For the players moved onto the NFL, yeah it really doesn’t affect them much outside of maybe a little image repair.

  • big time sucker

    how come nobody has connected the dots back to vegas on any of these scandals, i have always wondered, what’s really in it for boosters like shapiro and the only thing i could think of is vegas. good, happy players equal winning bets in vegas parlaying into huge gaines for sed boosters, i have no proof of this but it makes sense to me.

  • Multicultural Anglo and Saxon

    Why don’t colleges offer an authentic degree in professional sports? I don’t mean physical education or “general studies” or any other blow-off class you can think of, but a rigorous program teaching students how to pick agents and manage their money and they could complete their degrees early if they get enough credits, credits that could be earned on the court and the football field. How’s that different from majoring in theatre, since most of those graduates will have no chance of ever getting to Broadway? At least it would help remove some of the hypocrisy.

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      Not bad M A & S.

  • pulseczar

    Show me a spotless NCAA football championship-calibre program from the past few decades. Good luck finding one.

    Hasn’t Miami been rather mediocre or worse since the Clarett Ohio State Championship game? This proves Miami just needs better boosters.

  • Denver Deadite

    Gee, thanks whomever is in charge of the podcasts, for cutting off WYC less than halfway through, and also failing to get the 5th hour of the show up last night.

  • BWhite

    This is a great article Mr. Bernstien. The issue is not that we don’t value education in this country…the issue is that we are willing to pay for entertainment, not some faceless third world (ghetto) kid’s higher education. Is it a crime that our major universities have turned to “pimping” athletics to fund their campus budgets? Legally..No, but that is the market force at work while many impugn the morality of the universities and the NCAA. Like it or not, money is the most important ingredient needed to cook up a great education and entertainment (athletics) is where you find huge payoffs to fund the operation.
    Any business endeavor that hopes to turn perpetually larger profits will invest proceeds from that operation into providing a better product or service for the customer. Athletes are the commodity in this entertainment business. The salary cap is the problem…it tops out at a full-ride scholarship. There are only two ways to persuade a valuable athlete to join your entertainment organization (University) over another. First provide a better education than a competitor or secondly offer a higher lifestyle. Don’t blame the 18 year old kid for being enticed by something we all spend our entire lives trying to get. The media feigns outrage at the lifestyle choices made by these kids…Really? Are we surprised that college males indulge in alcohol, women, indiscretion and reveling of every kind? We are just aghast that our holy entertainment dollars fund these “scandals”.
    Here is the university conundrum; If you discipline the average student the only thing you risk is losing their tuition revenue. If you discipline an athlete, you are killing the golden goose. The student must have more to lose than the education if you want to mitigate the behavior…I am open for suggestions.
    This article begs pandora’s question; therefore what? When there is money involved there is going to be every evil work that it can buy, human nature will guarantee it. There is no system that will ever change that.

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