Are You Kidding Me, Vanderbilt?

/dohA while ago I went off on the Supreme Court’s horrendous decision in CLS vs Martinez.

This morning’s news reveals the logical outworking of that silly ruling: Vanderbilt, apparently following the same train of thought, has put several Christian groups on probation for violating the university’s non-discrimination policy.

Among the groups threatened with shut down is the Christian Legal Society. It ran afoul with this language from its constitution. “Each officer is expected to lead Bible studies, prayer and worship at chapter meetings.” CLS President Justin Gunter told me, “We come together to do things that Christians do together. Pray, and have Bible studies.” To that, Rev. Gretchen Person – interim director of the Office of Religious Life at Vanderbilt – responded “Vanderbilt policies do not allow this expectation/qualification for officers.” (source)

Seriously, Vanderbilt? A Christian group cannot require that its leaders lead Christian activities? One wonders what, precisely, Vanderbilt envisions the leaders of Christian groups doing.

Evil, Thy Acronym Is NCAA

Stanford to tip off March MadnessTechnically, NCAA is an initialism rather than an acronym – but you know what I mean.

I have long been irked at the way the college sports complex abuses students, but I was absolutely floored by some of the details Taylor Branch shared in “The Shame of College Sports” (published in The Atlantic).

Two snippets to whet your appetite:

“Why,” asked Bryce Jordan, the president emeritus of Penn State, “should a university be an advertising medium for your industry?”

Vaccaro did not blink. “They shouldn’t, sir,” he replied. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them. You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. You’re going to take it. I can only offer it.”

And later:

But after an inquiry that took me into locker rooms and ivory towers across the country, I have come to believe that sentiment blinds us to what’s before our eyes. Big-time college sports are fully commercialized. Billions of dollars flow through them each year. The NCAA makes money, and enables universities and corporations to make money, from the unpaid labor of young athletes.

Slavery analogies should be used carefully. College athletes are not slaves. Yet to survey the scene—corporations and universities enriching themselves on the backs of uncompensated young men, whose status as “student-athletes” deprives them of the right to due process guaranteed by the Constitution—is to catch an unmistakable whiff of the plantation. Perhaps a more apt metaphor is colonialism: college sports, as overseen by the NCAA, is a system imposed by well-meaning paternalists and rationalized with hoary sentiments about caring for the well-being of the colonized. But it is, nonetheless, unjust. The NCAA, in its zealous defense of bogus principles, sometimes destroys the dreams of innocent young athletes.

The whole thing is worth reading, so zip over to The Atlantic and read “The Shame of College Sports” now.