Before I was a Tar Heel, I was a member of the University of Southern California “Trojan Family.” This family is far from perfect, and its abuse at the hands of some of its members seems on the rise.
There is possible corruption of an athletic department, all the way up to the level of associate athletic director, in order to bypass standard admission requirements. The myriad of scandals USC collects like its athletic trophies needs no elaboration here. The overall situation requires effective and ruthless outrage. The core of the Trojan Family that matters, those students and scholars that operate at the peaks of ability and integrity, should no longer tolerate the combination of incompetence and corruption that has seemingly found a place in our Californian alma mater.
It may seem amusing as a Tar Heel to smirk at an elite scandal that UNC has not (yet) found itself a part of. Yet we may want to mind that beam in our own eye before mocking the mote in USC’s eye. We should all critically look at the parallels between this beloved school and the beloved (by many if not all) institution in question, and be mindful. For if it happened there, it can happen here.
Like UNC, USC's core of students and teachers, reading and research, always seemed to me, at its best, to be healthy and bright, honorable and productive. This is the core of the University's mission, its beating heart, and this is as it should be. The rot affecting prestigious American universities is a moral gangrene, traveling from peripheral extremities to the core. I like Trojan teams, Tar Heel teams, and wealthy students and donors that potentially subsidize tuition and services for the less fortunate as I like my left arm: a lot. But if gangrene sets in, I would rather learn to clap with one hand than have my heart stop.
USC and UNC share a common solution to a common problem. Any and all athletic department or development personnel caught, after due process, actively corrupting the academic integrity of the University — whether through academic or admissions tampering — require termination. With all bonuses rescinded, all pensions lost, all glory erased.