Sunday, February 21, 2010 1:38 PM
My husband was the founding ice hockey coach at Geneseo College; this is no secret. Without any aid for Canadians, his teams garnered two SUNYAC championships in hockey and another two in women's tennis. Given the very slimmest of budgets, he struggled to recruit players. The budget was so small, in fact, that he rarely attracted Canadian athletes. In addition, he ended up paying many of the costs of recruiting (long distance phone calls, car miles, tolls, etc.) out of our household budget. He received little help from the College in other regards, too, for example, laying down the ice, painting the lines on the surface, and installing the boards at the ice rink. He would stay up all night to accomplish these tasks and then remain all day to teach classes and coach practices.
If you think for a minute, that the President and Athletic Director at Geneseo College did not know they were in violation of NCAA rules as announced here, think again.
Firstly, I offer as evidence that as a department chair at Geneseo College, I witnessed firsthand many unethical and possibly illegal practices in all manner of things at that College - many of which were hushed up. For example, during my tenure, the President was so intent on maintaining the College's reputation as "pristine" in the public's mind, he was UNwilling to discipline faculty who were stealing PINs, mail, and personnel documents, even though the faculty in question were caught on video cameras installed by University Police and even when the victims wanted justice. The President is also willing to turn a blind eye to many student disciplinary matters - including crimes - so much so that the district attorney finally became involved in the last alcohol-related student death.
In my own department, a student stole a faculty master key and a national test bank, probably to sell to other Geneseo students or to post on the web for money. The administration refused to press charges against the student, although the faculty repeatedly requested this be done. On the other hand, due to the army’s concern about her character, the student lost her ROTC scholarship, had to repay thousands upon thousands of dollars, and was dishonorably discharged from the army because of the theft. It is alarming that two different organizations examining the same misconduct came to such different conclusions.
Secondly, the President is more than willing to give retiring administrators (but only administrators as far as I know) the very best of golden parachutes. For instance, a former provost landed a new job in another state, beginning July 1, as announced in the campus newspaper - The Compass. No doubt the individual was entitled to his pension, but somehow this same individual received a huge retirement bonus (in taxpayer dollars) for being on the Geneseo College (i.e. NYS) payroll July 1 (the last possible day to retire). How can an individual be on the payroll of two different states on the same day? If this isn’t illegal, it most assuredly is unethical.
The President also gives favored, retired administrators high paying part-time jobs at the College, thus allowing them to double dip into taxpayers’ pockets. As you may be aware, this very practice is now under fire from Attorney General Cuomo. I can predict that the administration will claim ignorance or innocence in the press if Cuomo finds this practice to be illegal. Or if not illegal, the practice will continue at the College, even though most business ethicists and taxpayers view it as unscrupulous
Thirdly, my understanding is that only a few years ago (after my husband’s and my retirements), the NCAA first began investigating the ice hockey program with its newly recruited Canadian players and found violations about which the College was warned. This first investigation was hushed up; hardly anyone - including most nonadministrative personnel - knew anything about it.
We might conclude, then, that in the second, more recent investigation those involved knew they were in violation of NCAA policies. Additionally, the President and the Athletic Director have attended multiple athletic conferences over the years (probably at taxpayer expense) where such rules are frequently discussed and examined. NCAA rule books are readily available, too; are they not? The feigned innocence about this NCAA rule violation expressed in the press troubles me as a professional, a social scientist, and a taxpayer.
By the way, to the best of my knowledge, the only consequences of the first NCAA violations were that, following on its heels, the President bestowed a Chancellor's Award for Excellence (and probably a merit raise) upon the Athletic Director, and the President acquired bragging rights that the College attracted international students. I think I also recall that the men's ice hockey team – packed with Canadians - won the SUNYACs. Shouldn't the College give the title back if it genuinely wants to do the honorable thing?
Taxpayers and Geneseo College donors, do you approve of these actions? More specific questions come to mind, too: In an economy where other colleges and many businesses are drowning in austerity, just where does the administration find all of the money? And, most importantly, shouldn’t we be more vocal about the shaping of our children’s minds and the convoluted principles being role-modeled by some of those who do the shaping?