Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who steps down?

Most everyone who follows sports, specifically college sports, knows about the recent hullabaloo surrounding the now former Rutgers men's basketball coach, Mike Rice. While I am not here to condone or condemn him or his actions, while listening to the fallout, something else came to mind.

Consider this: what if Mike Rice wasn't a basketball coach? What if Mike Rice was a chemistry professor or even a business professor? Granted, there wouldn't likely be tapes of lectures for three years following his conduct in the classroom. But, what if there were? What would be the outcome if students had liquids thrown on them because an experiment went wrong? What if a book came flying off the stage at the students in the auditorium listening to the lecture?

Keep those scenarios in mind. There are now calls for the president of the university to resign / step down due to this scandal. There are even calls for university trustees who signed off on the coaches punishment to step down as well as the athletic director, who, had the trustees sign off on the punishment. In this situation, I feel bad for the athletic director because it seems he did the correct thing and had someone in the university above him sign off on the decision, unlike what happened at Penn State. You can't have it both ways.

Has sports now become so much the driving force behind a college or university that public opinion is the overriding voice? I'd be willing to wager that this would never come to this level if a chemistry professor threw liquid in a the face of a student, even if it happened several times. Likely the professor would face legal charges but those above, dean of the school or university president, would not. Where does it stop? Is the CEO of the company I work for liable for every action I take? If I as a manager were abusive to my staff should my CEO be asked to step down because of it? No.

If only one aspect of a far-flung organization is deemed to have these types of issues and those issues were dealt with and signed off on by superiors then the job is done, assuming the issue is no longer repeated. The top level is responsible if that type of behavior was pervasive throughout the organization. Let's see the public outcry to lop off heads the next time a professor is abusive. I'm betting it won't happen.


  1. Yes, the public opinion is the overriding voice. However, it is the media that is pulling the strings. We as people are easily brainwashed and will follow just about anyone/anything. Many people in our country don't know how to form an opinion without hearing what everyone else thinks, first. Mob mentality ... So, you can blame the media for being manipulative or the public for being stupid.

  2. In a way, the media drove this, but only after the tapes of his behavior were brought to light. There is no indication he changed his behavior, but also no indicaton he didn't. I must disagree with the chemistry supposition. That S--- would have hit the fan immediately. No review. No hidden tapes. Immediate suspension and eventual firing. Unfortunately, athletics still suffers from the "boys will be boys" syndrome.