Editorial: Another football score

Nov. 30, 2012 @ 05:34 PM

Big-time college football is scoring again while education and clean programs take the back seat. We’re not surprised.
Five schools announced changes Sunday, including N.C. State cutting loose Tom O’Brien. The list from the bowl division of major college football was already 10 deep one day after most teams closed their regular seasons and likely to rise.
O’Brien improved the Wolfpack’s academic standing, avoided NCAA investigation, won more games than he lost and got fired. And this when the ACC has 25 percent of its football programs on probation with the NCAA.
A fourth school, Miami, is likely headed there.
At N.C. State and many other universities, the facilities arms race of the last two decades has built even higher desires for greatness on the field. Donors ponied up, and not for on-field products that weren’t worth watching past halftime.
The ACC’s three Triangle schools are an interesting mix today.
At N.C. State, six years of O’Brien, no championships since 1979 and a second-year athletics director have combined to create a time for change.
At North Carolina, there’s yet to be a clamp on the scandal primarily associated with Butch Davis as football coach and Dick Baddour “managing” the athletics department.
And at Duke, Kevin White is in his fifth year as athletics director and just gave football coach David Cutcliffe — with a 21-39 record and no NCAA trouble — a contract extension through 2019. Worth noting, too, is Duke has made facilities upgrades already and will renovate venerable Wallace Wade Stadium after the 2013 season.
We understand and believe that winning football teams affect college admissions for all students. Look no further than booming Appalachian State and reasons cited for its growth. We also see no reason why schools shouldn’t do all they can to win ball games within the rules in all sports. Accountability through wins increases with the amount of money paid to coaches of major revenue producers and incoming money from donors wanting winners.
It is not a revelation that it is a business. And unfortunately, too often, that means the education component is the perk rather than the primary focus.