Bernstein: College ‘Scandals’ Don’t Really Exist
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By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com 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.
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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