As an adjunct, I’m only peripherally connected to the University of Maryland; I teach every Monday night and get a check from them every two weeks. I get no benefits, although I do qualify for them, and I have no office or telephone number on campus other than a shared room. Oddly, I’ve been proud of my affiliation with them because I respect the idea of a strong state-run university, and having been a citizen of Maryland for 29 years, I call this home more than any of the other states I’ve lived in. Up until this week, I’ve been happy to consider sending my daughter to one of these schools. Now, I’m not so sure.
I’m embarrassed to hear how the university has handled both the death of one of its student athletes and the disciplinary action taken against the head coach this past week. Basically, the coach is a bully and a tyrant, and his staff completely fucked up by letting the player succumb to heat exhaustion and die (waiting over an hour before calling for medical help). The Board of Regents launched an investigation, which concluded there was wrongdoing but reinstated the coach. After a day of withering press, the President of the University (who was apparently forced to retire by the Board after he objected to the reinstatement) fired the coach last night, after deciding that he didn’t give a fuck anymore on his way out the door.
Some context: UMD made a huge, expensive gamble a couple of years ago by joining the Big 10 conference and pinning their hopes for new revenue on the football program, after being forced to cut 7 varsity programs and barely breaking even on football as part of the ACC. They are apparently still trying to break even on the new program.
I’ve never been a fan of college sports, having attended a school whose only athletic “program” was a pick-up volleyball game in the elementary school gym behind our student housing. I understand the value of team sports and I respect the abilities of all athletes, even if some of them are assholes. It’s alarming how much athletic programs drive the priorities of colleges and universities and how dependent many have become on the revenue they generate. It’s pretty clear how transparent this decision leans towards keeping the financial status quo at the expense of their
employees athletes. But it’s absolutely incomprehensible how any organization could have misjudged the appearance of this decision, or expected the coach to be able to return and effectively run the team.
It seems to me there needs to be an investigation into the Board of Regents and why they are a useless bunch of twats.