Everybody needs to share blame for basketball scandal

Promises are meant to be broken. Seeing all the media saturation surrounding the men’s basketball scandal, I promised myself I wouldn’t write about it.
For five months now the Twin Cities has kicked back and watch the media attack any and every new shred of information in this debacle. And all the while all I’ve really wanted to know is who is accountable for this mess?
Sure, Clem Haskins is an obvious candidate. But Clem was just like many of the Minnesota basketball fans — he was just turning his head to the problems.
Antoine Broxsie probably couldn’t pass a high school graduation test. Anyone who ever had a class with him knows this: He’s not a bright guy. But we all turned our heads and we all covered our eyes. No, Clem isn’t entirely to blame, although he did some incredibly dumb things.
What about the professors who read these athletes’ papers? I’d sure as hell be a little suspicious if somebody’s writing style differed entirely from the way they spoke. You can’t fake little things like that.
If Jan Gangelhoff was rewriting papers for five or six years, how could professors, at least some of them, not figure out something was up? If anything, I’d think that the big wigs of academia would be more suspicious of an athlete’s paper to begin with, based simply on stereotypes.
Yes, the professors should share in some of the blame as well.
But this is the thing that everyone’s been missing. What about Gangelhoff? She seems to be glorified in the media as some unlikely heroine.
I don’t get it.
This woman took it upon herself to rewrite athletes’ papers. She simply decided it would be easier to just write the papers than try to make an unmotivated athlete rewrite an essay. That’s not right.
I should know. I’ve worked on essays of friends and neighbors for years. Some bad ones, some good ones and a few real clunkers. But never once did I make changes without the writer by my side. I’d ask what they were trying to say and wonder about how better to say it. But the golden rule of this type of tutoring is never, ever write what you think.
Jan Gangelhoff stepped over that line. Yet nothing will ever come of her involvement. What is the University going to do, fire her again?
Maybe I should intentionally (or unintentionally) scatter libel throughout the Daily and then quit before anybody brings a lawsuit. That’d show ’em.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not running around pointing fingers at everyone and anyone who was involved in this scandal. Only a few people are really at fault.
The rest of us are all guilty of the same thing. We turned our heads. I have a friend named Chris who always used to joke that: “Basketball players’ tests are the blue ones that say ‘key’ on top. The rest of us take the white ones.”
That was before the scandal. We’ve all been guilty of looking the other way with athletes. Not just at Minnesota. I’d laugh if you tried to convince me that there isn’t a basketball groupie at Kansas or North Carolina working on homework for a player.
It happens every day, probably at every university. Will Minnesota evolve and change to become different from those institutions? Only our attitude — from professors down through students — can change that.
And that’s all I’ll ever have to say about that.

Jim Schortemeyer welcomes comments at [email protected].