Sports sex scandal demands disclosure

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University is in the national sports scandal spotlight again. This time, the FBI is investigating a ring of Internet pornographers who taped college wrestlers changing in locker rooms using hidden cameras — including behind-the-scenes footage of wrestlers at the 1995 Midlands Wrestling Championships held at NU.
Like the gambling scandal that broke last spring, this incident is likely to be a black eye to Northwestern’s athletic department. But this is a different situation, one in which the university hosted hundreds of outsiders on its campus and did not suspect that a money-grubbing pervert would enter its locker room posing as an athletic trainer.
Security breaches like this are the risks NU takes when it hosts events such as the Midlands tournament and last week’s high school all-star basketball event. Fortunately, now that the university has learned its lesson about unwanted peek-a-boos, it has increased locker room security.
By now, the athletic department probably doesn’t need tips on how to handle public relations scandals. Still, this security breach should have been exposed earlier. A wrestler found a tape during the 1995 tournament in the Northwestern locker room and gave it to NU senior associate athletic director and Midlands coordinator Ken Kraft. Yet the tapes were not turned over to the FBI until last spring.
Surely, the university was trying to protect the reputations of the wrestlers who were caught on tape by not immediately publicizing the problem. But athletes who could have been victimized at other schools deserved warning and full disclosure for their own protection.

This staff editorial originally appeared in Monday’s Northwestern University Daily Northwestern.