First up: The Dartmouth Review!
Freedmanizing Boston University
By James Mills | Wednesday, January 21, 1998
Boston University should offer one of the nation's richest college experiences. It is within walking distance of Boston's cultural downtown and has graduated such illustrious intellectuals as Howard Stern. Boston University also had a 90-year football tradition until last month when high officials at BU, led by University Chancellor John Silber, suggested to the Board of Trustees that the football program be struck from the budget. A vote was taken and the plug pulled.
On Oct. 25, the board's decision was announced to the football team following their loss to Northeastern, 28-7. Just four years ago, the football program was 12-1 and finished first in Division I-AA.
It came as a shock to many students and alumnae, who enjoyed the football games. BU officials argued that it was a business decision; the football team runs a budget deficit because ticket sales do not cover costs.
But how can a college with the average student paying 30,000 dollars a year be in fiscal strain over the reasonably-sized football program? The real problem is that they have some of the highest paid administrators and most bureaucratic administrative structures in private education. Silber is one of the highest paid college presidents in the nation, with a salary of over $400,000.
Another believable answer is that certain officials, particularly Silber, are waging a war against mainstream American culture. Since Silber arrived at BU in 1970, he has expressed a desire to eliminate the football program.
Silber is quoted by BU's Daily Free Press saying that 'University of Paris, University of Oxford, and University of Cambridge have gotten along remarkably well and never had football.' Armed with the Terriers' dismal recent record (2-18 over the last two seasons), Silber struck the final blow.
Instead the savings will be used to pay for high priority sports like women's soccer, field hockey, and crew. The last women's soccer game drew under 50 spectators. The last football game before the news broke, despite the team's poor record, drew 2,025 spectators. Silber wrongly believes that football and academics cannot co-exist. If academics and football cannot co-exist then why did the Ivy League schools invent college football?
Football has become the quintessential American sport. The fall in popularity of baseball has made it even more important to American culture.
Americans of all races watch football on TV during Thanksgiving and other holidays, and the Superbowl remains the most watched event on television.
Silber's basic lack of understanding is demonstrated by his ridiculous comments related to his promise to allow the football players to keep their scholarship.
Silber is quoted by the BU Daily Free Press as saying, ' Players never have to play football again, don't have to risk injury, and don't have to spend time at practice'. Apparently it has never occurred to him that some people enjoy the competition and physical activity. Football players are supposed to be grateful that he has allowed them to keep their scholarships. In essence, Silber breached a contract with these players . When they were admitted to BU and signed their scholarship deals, it was implicit that BU would have football in the next few years.
On Nov. 1, the team played at Connecticut without their jerseys in protest against the college policy. In the second week of November., the BU Terriers played their last game ever in their red jerseys, ending their 90-year football tradition.
In a driving rain at home, the Terriers blew out UMass 33-8 to win their first game of the season and showed heart before a crowd of 3,000. After time expired, the crowd rushed onto the field yelling, 'Silber sucks! Silber sucks!'. The football players joined in, laughing and cheering a bittersweet victory.
This attack on American culture is just another example of intellectualism gone awry. It is another example of a power hungry college president wanting to go to Harvard, but being trapped in an mediocre institution for almost 30 years.
If Silber wants to run a European-style University maybe he should get out of the American education system, but until then maybe he should realize that BU is an American college and by destroying the football team he has created a college where few well-rounded males will even consider attending.
Many of the football players are transferring to other schools to carry on with football and applications among student athletes will likely plummet as BU becomes a school not for the well-rounded, but for mediocre intellectuals.
If you want to pay for a school with Ivy League pretensions but community college atmosphere, then Boston University just might be the place for you.