Greed in the saddle
Writing as a 1976 graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, it seems the recent scandal entwining the administration, academe and the UNC football program has not aroused as much anger or shame among the alumni as it should.
This scandal has shown beyond all doubt that college teams are nothing more than profitable nurseries for the pros, not to be trifled with. Why do we still pretend there is such a thing as a student-athlete or amateur athletics? It's all nonsense. Quite frankly, it was nonsense 40 years ago, but then it was still possible to ignore. Not any longer.
Taking the long view, these scandals reflect the dissolution of nearly all institutions of American society under the darkening shadow of greed’s invisible hand. Everything's for sale, including Carolina. There’s little left anywhere in which to believe for its own sake; our institutions are simply mechanisms for marketing, exploitation and profit.
I and a few stubbornly idealistic friends from the early 1970s are now asking ourselves if we should go back to Chapel Hill to burn our diplomas at the Old Well to protest Carolina’s utter subordination to commerce. It won’t mean anything practically, of course, but fire’s as good a way as any for a few to say goodbye to a fallen ideal: the university.