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The Nature Of The Beast

On Sunday, John Bussian published this
in the News & Observer, arguing that Duke should strive to compete at the
top levels of every sport, an argument we basically agree with, provided Duke's
standards are not compromised.

Mike Krzyzewski has consistently argued that collegiate sports provide
enormous benefits to the athletes and the schools and should be maintained.

But Duke's basic approach, while laudable if not perfect (see lacrosse),
isn't shared by many schools. You may have read recently that Auburn has a
bit of a brouhaha going on about a
certain professor and athletes who took his class
, and you may remember Jim
Harrick, Jr.'s sham class, with questions like the basketball goal is a) 7 feet
high, b) 10 feet high, or c) 100 feet high.

The unfortunate reality is that once big money got involved, college sports
has to serve its master, television. This is why there is an arms race, so
called, to build the flashiest facilities, and why recruiting is such a dirty
practice, with grown men chasing teenagers around and text-messaging them in
science class, and why places like Rutgers find their priorities forcibly shaped
by paying coaches huge salaries (and buyouts).

Adrian Wojnarowski argues that it is a
shabby business, but a business nonetheless,
and that while Rutgers made
lousy choices, they still have to compete in the market.

True enough. Not everyone can be Duke, just like not everyone can be
USC in football. But when this season of turmoil is over for Duke, we hope
that the focus returns to the young athletes who frequently manage to be good at
just about everything they try. It's far from a perfect business, to be
sure, but we admire people who can excel at two different things