The Los Angeles Times reports:
Caltech, the school that couldn’t succeed at sports if it cheated, has turned itself in to the NCAA for cheating.
One of the country’s losingest athletic programs has chosen to vacate wins it doesn’t have, shut down the recruiting it doesn’t do and be ineligible for championships it never wins.
In an announcement as stunning as the ones that brag about a professor discovering the secrets of the universe, Caltech said this week it has joined the likes of USC and Ohio State in NCAA jail by being placed on three-years’ athletic probation.
Probation from what, exactly, we’re not entirely sure. The Beavers aren’t on TV, they don’t give scholarships, they rarely qualify for postseason tournaments. The baseball team will vacate all wins during a period in which it went 0-112. The men’s water polo team will vacate wins achieved while going 0-66.
Please read the details. They are abnormally interesting and in many ways quite heartening. Caltech’s athletic director (yes, they do have an athletic director), Betsy Mitchell, told the LA Times, “This is about educational athletics versus entertainment athletics. . . . We teach through our sports, and we’re teaching through this.”
But even in her statement there is a discouraging side. It’s much easier to do things right when the stakes are not all that high. At too many schools, including my old alma mater, USC, the stakes in “entertainment athletics” are just too high.