Anyone that enjoys seeing Auburn University cast in a less than favorable light – and around these parts, that’s not an insignificant number of people – has probably taken interest in the grading scandal that has been reported on several occasions in The New York Times, most recently here, here and here.
According to The Birmingham News, the school has elected to do an about face from its previous position and will submit the audit data to the NCAA. That’s in addition to the previous report it submitted last summer concerning unusually high grade directed-reading courses. (The university hasn’t heard back on that one yet.)
Anyway, tucked in the back of the Birmingham News story was something a little more ominous:
… Meanwhile, Gundlach said a Congressional staff member informed him Monday there is an improved chance the new Democrat-controlled Congress will hold hearings on the tax-exempt status of the NCAA…
Gundlach is the gentleman who blew the whistle on the grade changing scandal in the sociology department. Here’s what else the perfesser has to say about Congressional interest in the matter:
“It’s been indicated to me that Democrats really want to increase Pell grants but are facing an issue of pay as you go,” Gundlach said. “So cutting the tax-exempt status on big-time athletics could put a whole lot of poor kids through college and would be very much the kind of things Democrats would like to point at by the time 2008 came around.”
I don’t pretend to know how significant playing around with the NCAA’s tax exempt status would be on a lot of issues, but I doubt the NCAA would be thrilled by the attention. Not that anyone would use this as an opportunity to do some political grandstanding, right?
Nah – not when you read something like this quote:
… Hearings would include examining whether big-time athletics really promotes education. Gundlach was approached last summer by the House Ways and Means Committee about possibly testifying.
“I’m still interested in testifying,” Gundlach said. “The thing that makes big-time sports actually detrimental to education is it has too much money. Too much money, too much power, too much influence.”