You remember that was the mantra of Howard Cosell - telling it like it is. (You do remember Howard Cosell, don't you? Or am I showing my age?)
At any rate, if you really want someone telling it like it is, check out Bernard Goldberg's comments as quoted by Richard Deitsch yesterday at SI.com. That's right - it's the same Bernard Goldberg that we know and love for books such as Bias, 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right. Goldberg is known for turning the harsh light on the phonies in media, politics and culture, and now he'd like to turn it on the scandal known as "college athletics."
Not having HBO, I had no idea that Goldberg was a correspondent for their Real Sports series, hosted by Bryant Gumbel. (Talk about phonies - but that's another story for another day.) At any rate, Goldberg talks to Deitsch about ideas he has for future stories:
Goldberg says one of the future stories he'd like to tackle is the corruption of the university. "Not the corruption of college sports but the corruption of the university itself, accepting people into the college who really should not be accepted into the college," says Goldberg, who worked as a producer and reporter at CBS for 28 years. "When some of my colleagues bemoan the fact that so and so only played one year in college and then wet to the pros, I say he should not have gone to college at all.
"I interviewed Father (Theodore) Hesburgh of Notre Dame once and he had a very good line. I said, "What about the argument that these kids are better off at Notre Dame then they would be on a street corner in Newark or someplace? He said, "Let me tell you something: This is not a gymnasium. This is a university." And he's right. As a journalist I find it interesting how university presidents will sell their soul for a winning football team, how they will look the other way. And if we're lucky, they are just looking away. Otherwise, they know what is going on and they simply don't care."
Now that is telling it like it is. The corruption of college sports is nothing new, as anyone familiar with Wossamotta U can attest. But it's about time someone put this in the perspective of the larger scandal that is education in this country. Isn't it about time the government just got out of the education business for once and for all?
And before anyone complains, I know that many of the most corrupt universities out there are private institutions, albeit ones who receive government funding, at least in the form of scholarship aid. But, as Bishop Sheen once said, corruption - like the bubbles in a glass of beer - always travels from the bottom up.