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The Daily Tar Heel Gets It Wrong (Surprise)

The Daily Tar Heel editorializes on the lacrosse case and concludes that "Duke owes David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann nothing."

Their argument is that the university was embarrassed by the party the lacrosse team held, and that the party itself and hiring strippers was "abhorrent."

We agree with that to an extent, but for whatever reason - and you'd think the editors of a student newspaper would be aware of this - hiring strippers is a big trend in college life, for both male and female parties.  We linked to an astonishing story several months ago where the author simply linked to photos from various parties held by collegiate sports teams and greek houses (male and female).

Our argument is that hiring strippers is just a dumb way to stimulate yourself, because if you think the strippers are there for anything but a job, you don't deserve the money you just wasted anyway.  It's bizarre to pay money to deceive yourself, but people do it all the time.  Then there is the whole argument about objectification, which would, we assume, apply to both male and female strippers.

We've also argued consistently that normal collegiate behavior (in other words, standards) should be extended to athletes. So when someone drinks underage, as virtually all students do, athletes should not treated differently, and the same should, in our opinion, extend to drug use.  If half the campus smokes pot at a party, and isn't arrested, then the standard should be the same for athletes.

Please note we don't endorse either activity, nor do we suggest that coaches indulge bad behavior, but we do endorse a uniform standard as applied by schools and local law enforcement, which is only fair.

As a second point, if you limit your argument to the questions around the party, perhaps there is no further issue for lawyers to discuss. But when you get into the behavior of some members of the faculty, and the prospect of them being put on the stand and being questioned about things like punitive grading, and exactly how the statement by the group of 88 was developed, and players being humiliated in class, then, yes, if those things did happen (and we don't have any particular insights on that but they have certainly been rumored), then that answers the opening question in the DTH's editorial: what did they have to settle?  The confidentiality clause of the agreement and the shielding of the faculty doesn't automatically mean there is some there there, but it does make it harder to rule out, and does point out the laziness of this editorial.

At the very least, the case should be a cautionary one for every professor and teacher across the country.