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Do ‘Hostesses’ Embody University Values More Than Christian Student Groups?



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One of the more ridiculous aspects of public universities’ continuing assault on Christian student organizations is the sheer silliness of administrative moralizing. Small groups of Christian students — students who often spend their time helping the poorest and most vulnerable members of their local communities — are expelled from campus in the name of “university values” (such as protecting the fragile feelings of non-Christians who want to lead Christian groups), while on the other side of campus, the admissions office runs what looks all too much like a call-girl service to recruit athletes for the football team.

Inside Higher Ed has the details:

A string of scandals involving alcohol, sex and male high school sports stars — and the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s adoption of new rules in 2004 – seemed to put a stop to college teams’ decades-old practice of organizing groups of female students whose goal was to charm prospects into choosing their university.

But, as the NCAA investigates the recruiting practices of the University of Tennessee’s football team, it has become clear that colleges and universities are still to some degree sanctioning the use of pretty young women, often called “hostesses,” to attract top players. Under the 2004 rules, only current athletes or students who lead tours for all prospective students are allowed to interact with recruits.

In September, two Tennessee hostesses drove 180 miles to South Carolina to cheer for two recruits from the sidelines of a high school football game, holding a sign printed with girly letters reading “Miller & Willis have our hearts . . .” and illustrated with a heart. One of those women had an online photo album — made private since news reports of the NCAA probe appeared — titled “i recruit champions . . . you can thank me later.” Message boards and blogs are filled with allegations that some hostesses have done more than just flirt to convince recruits to commit.

The virus is of course not contained in Knoxville. Here’s a nice account of the hospitality in Gainesville:

Until a few years ago, an all-female group called the Gator Guides (and previously called the GatorGetters) was responsible for hosting the University of Florida’s football recruits. It was a group that, as one fan magazine put it, existed for “the sole purpose of escorting, and many believe, entertaining high school football prospects whose rising testosterone levels generated, more often than not, unrealistic visions of sexual grandeur that might be realized during a weekend campus visit.”

The “GatorGetters” are gone, but in their place the “Cicerones” carry on the tradition:

Recruits “all ask about” partying, Fowler said, “but since the Cicerones are a registered student organization we encourage our members to always do the correct thing and only talk more generally about having fun as a student at UF.” He conceded, though, that some group members may give a more detailed rundown of campus life than others. “It honestly depends on who a prospective athlete might be talking to, getting that student’s take on student life or nightlife.”

Wait, the hostesses (with a few males sprinkled in) are a “registered student organization”? And I thought the university had standards. After all, Brothers Under Christ had to sue the University of Florida to get recognized and finally found their home on campus only after the university dragged them through more than two years of litigation.

I guess if the brothers were sisters, and they were a bit more hospitable to high-school football stars, they’d find the university a more welcoming environment.



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