U should release Boston, Dienhart

A saga that began back in March is at last approaching an end. The wave of interviews, allegations, investigations and denials that found its momentum on the eve of the Final Four men’s basketball tournament will crash ashore this afternoon. University President Mark Yudof will release a 2,500-page report detailing the University’s wrongdoings and wrongdoers at 2 p.m. in the Basic Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Building.
The specifics of the report, of course, were unknown as of press time. It is expected to confirm what we’ve known for some time: A thread of academic misconduct ran throughout the entire men’s basketball program, from coaches to players to tutors. It will also shed light on the extent to which other officials were involved, from the Bierman building to Morrill Hall, which is sure to lead to significant changes in the way the program and the athletics department do business.
The future is uncertain, but at this point one thing is clear: The time has come for Yudof and the Board of Regents to cut loose McKinley Boston and Mark Dienhart.
This is not a matter of honesty or integrity; rather, this is an issue of competence. We doubt either Boston, the vice president for student affairs and athletics, or Dienhart, the men’s athletics director, are “bad people” who willingly guided what might go down as the biggest athletics scandal in University history. But as leaders and managers, both Boston and Dienhart did play a leading role in fostering the culture that allowed these incidents to occur. They must be held accountable.
Both Boston and Dienhart have denied any personal wrongdoing. Their supporters claim that while incidents of misconduct did occur, Boston and Dienhart should not be held responsible because of their lack of direct involvement. But a clean athletics department — pipe dream or not — is their responsibility. A dirty athletics department — regardless of how far down the reporting line the alleged misconduct took place — is also their responsibility.
When Yudof became president in December 1996, the foundation for the report that will be released today was already in place. In effect, the house was a mess. Yudof has already begun the cleanup, buying out former coach Clem Haskins and imposing sanctions against the program. The release of the report begins the third — but not necessarily final — phase of the renovation, which Yudof has already stated will include structural and personnel changes.
The firing of Boston and Dienhart is the necessary next step. The concept of “institutional control,” a standard to which the NCAA holds its member schools, has been a constant throughout the investigation. Likewise, Yudof’s desire to exhibit control over the program and the athletics department will be a guiding force in the fallout. In order to convince the NCAA that the University’s house is in order, Yudof must respond to the report swiftly and strongly.
The continued presence of Boston and Dienhart, good guys though they may be, is a bona fide detriment to the athletics department and the University of which it is a part. Their dismissals will serve not only as an appropriate punishment, but as the symbolic fresh start the University so badly needs.