As Coaches Go, So Go Professors?

North Carolina State University just fired its football coach. Tom O’Brien had a winning record over six seasons (but not in the school’s conference, the ACC). He had taken the team to four bowl games, and his team had beaten its chief rival, UNC–Chapel Hill, five times. But the athletic director, Debbie Yow, wants more “aggressive” recruiting. As one fan said, O’Brien was “pretty good,” just not good enough.

Pretty good, and fired. I’m not sure I want more aggressive recruiting at State (look what happened to UNC–Chapel Hill), but one cannot help but compare the tough standards for coaches with the absence of standards for professors. It took years for the University of Colorado at Boulder to fire Ward Churchill, a plagiarist who had used his ethnic identity to move up the academic ladder. He only came to administrators’ attention because he called victims of 9/11 “little Eichmanns.” And in the end, the supreme court of Colorado decided that he had been unfairly fired (although he received only $1 in damages).

Perhaps someone can explain to me the difference between the treatment of coaches and professors. Oh, I suppose that’s easy — but is it right?

 

 

 

 

 

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More