The Great Drake Web


Dear Prof D.,

We looked at the Drake website you told us about.

We agree that they need a good website. If they had a good website, it would attract a lot of attention and new members and give the impression of a movement that was going places.

Chris thinks it could be done by just one undergraduate who was really good at web design, and then maintained either by two or three students or one faculty member who knew how to do basic web stuff.

You asked about our suggestions for a Drake website. We e-mailed each other and talked over the telephone. Here are some suggestions for a site that would get the group moving. Part of it is based on our original RU1000 site, part of it is from the new site, and part of it is from talking to you about the Drake Group.

See our suggestions below. And please tell your colleagues good luck from us!




There should be lots of pictures. If possible, pictures all the way from the first Drake Conference to this last meeting. These could be inset in a short history of the Drake Group and its present campaign.

Pictures create interest and give a "live" feeling about what a group is doing.

We are taking a one of the pictures you sent us from this last meeting and insetting them here to show what we mean.

If you have a lot of pictures, they can be attractively downsized and inset throughout a longer text. It makes people want to read the text and find out about what is going on in the scene in the picture.

This is an inset picture. It would identify the people and the occasion. The caption goes in small type and a different color.

We used zillions of pictures on the old RU1000 web site and we got a great response -- thousands of hits, many people e-mailing the campaign, etc.

A "WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO" section should have many more pictures, clearly captioned, to give a feeling of live people doing dynamic things.


From what you've told us about the Drake Group, one of its purposes is to help faculty members who have come up against their administration because of sports and are feeling isolated.

We suggest that you have a Help & Support page with a listing of people who are read to advise faculty members in this situation. Prof. D told us about Prof Bensel-Meyers and how the Drake Group helped her. But suppose she had been able to go to the Drake Web site and seen a picture of a Drake member who was standing by to give advice and support. She would have felt less alone.

We suggest that you do this with PICTURES. It makes people feel that they know who they are dealing with and gives them confidence.

We will do just one example. It is a picture of Mr. Ridpath that we took from the back flap of his book. But if you can imagine an inset box like this one with the picture of six or seven Drake Members, a little bit about their history, and their e-mail address, you will see what we mean for this page.

Dr David Ridpath tells the story of the way Marshall University tried to destroy his career in his book Tainted Glory: Marshall University, the NCAA, and One Man's Fight for Justice. Faculty members who face intimidation or unjust retribution from their university administration due to athletics-related issues may contact Dr. Ridpath at [e-mail address] or [office phone]


In the "real" page, there would be pictures and entries for five or six more people running down this page, giving the feel of a "support team" that put the Drake Group behind the faculty member.



We know that Drake members and others have published books about athletics corruption. On our old Rutgers 1000 web page, we had great success in combating corruption just by listing a few books like Murray Sperber's College Sports, Inc and Peter Golenbock's Personal Fouls. People started ordering those books and read them.

The best way to handle books, we found, is to show the cover and then have a link to the Amazon listing. That way, people who visit the web site go straight to the book while they're still interested.


We will give just one example again. There might be twenty or thirty books that should be listed in this section, but we'll give a single example using Professor Sack's book, which we've read and have right here:

The text here would give a brief description of the contents of the book and the specific problems its addresses about sports corruption. This section of the web site should not just include books by Drake members, but all books that deal with sports corruption.







For articles, we suggest just a link to the online version of the text. You can research these links and post them on a web site with only a couple of hours' work, and it really gives a feeling of being up-to-date on the subject.

We already have a link for one of Prof. Dowling's articles, so we'll use that as an example.

"Big-Time Sports as Academic Prostitution"

Article Two

Article Three



Prof D told us that you want to get to 400 members by this time next year.

We found out when we were organizing our alumni network that there is no way to do that without using the web site.

Here's a modification of the system we used for alumni. We think it would work for the Drake Group:

1) On a "National Network" page, list the name, academic affiliation, and e-mail address of every current member of the Drake Group. Along with their name, say that faculty at their universities should contact them about becoming Drake members.

2) At schools not represented in the Drake Group, write faculty members that you either know to be sympathetic to the anti-sports-corruption struggle and ask them to (a) join Drake, and (b) serve as a contact person on the web page for colleagues who want to join.

When looking for "anti-sports-corruption" faculty at various Div IA universities, we found that an easy way of identifying likely contacts was to use the Search feature on the Chronicle of Higher Education web site. There have been zillions of sports scandals, and every story will name one or two faculty members who are angry about what has been going on. The Chronicle's archive goes back to about 1990, so you have an immense amount of material to work with. (We used to search the site just by entering "School name", "football", and "scandal" in the blank. (Of course you vary this with "basketball," "athletics," etc. to get complete coverage.)

When you write prospective contacts, be sure to say that if they don't want to serve contact names, would they please list a few colleagues that they know to feel strongly about sports corruption. Most will be willing to do this, and pretty soon you will have names from a lot of schools.

3) As the names come in, list them on the National Network page. Also list the names of schools where the Drake Group is still seeking members to serve as contacts on their own faculties.

4) At the bottom of the page, list terms of membership, dues, upcoming events, etc.



As you know, there are sports scandals and corruption stories breaking out constantly.

One way to get people used to coming to the Drake web site is to set up one section [like this] as a "clearing house" for such stories.

All you have to do is write a header saying that this space is devoted to recent stories about college sports corruption, list the URL's of the stories you've got, and give an e-mail address where people can send the URLs of breaking stories -- very often, we found, these are in local papers and never come to national attention unless there is a "web clearing house" like the one we are suggesting.

If you DO maintain an up-to-date clearing house, it is no trouble at all to keep it current. It takes about a minute to add a new URL that somebody sends you about a sports corruption story.


Mr Splitt has been after us for years to publish materials from the early days of the struggle. The one he mentions most often is "Pro & Con: the 'Standard' Arguments.

This is a very old page, from the earliest days of Rutgers 1000. But if you thought that it and similar materials might help to give a sense of context to what the Drake Group is doing today, or even that they might help in changing national opinion about athletics corruption, we'd be glad to go through our old web materials and see what we have.

Pro & Con: the "Standard" Arguments


  • Have you ever heard anybody say "Sports are great because they give a university valuable national exposure"?

          They've just made the "Everybody Knows O.J." argument. (It's false)

  • Have you ever heard anybody say "Having a winning team is good because it gets more top-quality students to apply to your school"?

          They've just made the "Here Come the Frosh" argument. (It's false.)

  • Have you ever heard anybody say, "Hey, places like Michigan and Duke combine high-quality academics with a 'big time' sports program. Why can't we?"?

          They've just made the "What about Duke?" argument. (It's false.)

We have found that in discussion of "big time" college sports the same points tend to come up over and over.

In the following Pro & Con exchanges, we will refer to several primary sources. When the argument involves empirical evidence, our usual source will be Murray Sperber's College Sports, Inc (New York: Henry Holt, 1990). It is acknowledged even by those who strongly favor "big time" college sports to be exhaustively researched and objective in its presentation of evidence.

We have also drawn extensively on College Athletes For Hire: the Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA's Amateur Myth, by Allen L. Sack and Ellen J. Staurowsky (Praeger, 1998) -- an especially useful perspective since Sack, now a professor of sociology, played on Ara Parseghian's 1966 National Championship football team and was drafted by the LA Rams -- and The Successful College Athletic Program, by John R. Gerdy. (Oryx Press. American Council on Education Series on Higher Education.) Direct references are noted below.

Our own arguments are backed by detailed research. For anyone who wants to check our statistics, we are providing a link to one of our own main sources, the Kansas City Star's NCAA Databases  Web site.

The Star site has amazingly complete databases on college sports -- athletic budgets, coaches' salaries, graduation rates, recruiting and "financial aid" to athletes, number of NCAA infractions in specific programs, etc. -- with a powerful search engine.



Pro: A "big time" athletic program generates lots of profit for the university, which can be used to buy books for the library and other worthy purposes.

This is the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" argument.

A quote from Sperber's College Sports, Inc:

"If profit and loss is defined according to ordinary business practices, of the 802 members of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), the 493 of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), and the 1,050 nonaffiliated junior colleges, only 10 to 20 athletic programs make a consistent albeit small profit, and in any given year another 20 to 30 break even or do better. The rest -- over 2,300 institutions -- lose anywhere from a few dollars to millions annually" (Sperber, "Myths and Facts," 2).

The "admitted" deficit for the Rutgers athletic program is currently $3.3 million dollars a  year. Since the figures that must be reported under federal law (Title IX) permit much of the cost of running the program to be "hidden" in non-sports budget categories, this may be taken as a minimum estimate.

Our own estimate of the actual  year-in-year-out athletics deficit at Rutgers is between $7 million and $11 million.

So Rutgers is currently losing at least $3.3 million to "professionalized" sports.

Those who argue that the athletic program will someday make a profit are assuming that Rutgers will be one of the 10 to 20 programs in the entire nation that do so, as opposed to being one of the  2,300 that always lose money.

To us, this is exactly like planning your household budget on the assumption that you are going to win the NJ State Lottery.

Meanwhile, there are urgent uses for $3.3 million a year -- or $7-11 million a year -- that would benefit every student at Rutgers, not just a tiny handful of "hired" athletes and a small percentage of boosters who "want a winner."

Pro: Having a successful "big time" athletic program gives the university valuable national exposure that it wouldn't get otherwise.

This is the "Everybody Knows O.J." argument.

On a Rutgers football board, a Virginia Tech booster went on for several paragraphs about being displeased that the "Hokie" coach used early substitutes ("we'll probably play 80-90 people plus concession-stand people, bathroom attendants and cheer-leaders before it's over"), then launched into a final boast: "Oh well, can't have everything. Long as we keep climbing the top 10 ladder, I guess I can't say much. Would you just listen to me . . . here I am bitching, with MV and #8 ranking, best damn coaches in the country (bar-none) . . . and more magazine covers and heretofore unheard-of publicity than any other (20) schools put together. Whats my problem, huh????" [post from "buffalonikel," posted on 9/15/00 9:12 pm.]


The logical error is a failure to distinguish between "exposure" in the sense of mere name recognition -- which can be a very bad thing -- and something like "earned prestige" or "deserved reputation."

Mere "exposure" is worthless. One of the most-discussed events of recent years was the O.J. Simpson trial. Those whose "name recognition" increased as a result do not seem to us models to be envied or imitated.

On the other side, "reputation" very often comes not from "exposure" but from a long-term commitment to genuine intellectual attainment.

At the institutional level, for instance, Harvard enjoys a reputation as a good university. Not because it has a winning football or basketball team, but because it has remained committed to academic and intellectual values over a long period.

The bottom line: the exposure Rutgers might get from football or basketball is simply "O.J. recognition" given to any name splashed across a TV screen with some frequency. Such "exposure" is in itself valueless.

The "reputation" Rutgers stands to achieve by abolishing professionalized sports and devoting its resources to intellectual and artistic accomplishment would be, on the other hand, immensely valuable. ( Source: Gerdy, Ch. 4: "Does Athletics Generate Positive Visibility?")

Pro: Having a successful "big time" athletic program increases alumni donations to the university, and therefore works to the benefit of all students.

This is the "Boosters bring Bucks" argument.

There are a number of answers. The first is that very few alumni -- studies suggest 1-2% -- give to their schools out of sports loyalty.

Second, evidence strongly indicates that "successful" alumni  tend to withhold contributions when the school becomes "too" identified with athletics or when there is a sports scandal.

Third, research shows that the major givers to "professionalized" programs tend to be "boosters" who did not attend the school to whose program they contribute money -- the local automobile dealer or beer distributor, often not himself a college graduate, who sees himself as  increasing his "local clout" by giving to the sports program.  Not a penny goes to the university. (Source: Sperber, "Myths and Facts," 2-3).

Pro: Schools like Duke (Stanford, Michigan, etc.) manage to combine a high level of student selectivity with "professionalized" athletic programs. Why can't Rutgers do the same?

This is the "What about Duke?" argument.

From a letter to the Daily Targum:

Anthony Polito's recent letter in defense of "professionalized" athletics (Daily Targum, Oct 28)  gives what we in the Rutgers 1000 have, somewhat wearily, come to call the "What about Duke?" argument.

It consists of this: in trying to defend professionalized athletics at your own school, you  (1)  pick one of the tiny handful of institutions in the United States that has managed to sustain a decent level of student selectivity while playing Division IA football or basketball, (2) pretend that this handful is representative of "sports factory" schools generally, and (3) end by asking, "Why can't Rutgers do the same?"

Polito asks for evidence that the attempt to have a "professionalized" program is hurting Rutgers. Here's some:

  • The most recent combined SAT score for Rutgers football players was 865. This represents 85 "athletic scholarships" the funding for which, under ideal circumstances, would be used for full-tuition scholarships for top New Jersey students -- say, those with combined SATs of 1350 or better.
  • Entering SAT verbal and math scores at The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State) have now surpassed those of Rutgers College, our most selective academic unit. The gap is growing. The evidence that this is at least partly due to the Lawrence administration's emphasis on professionalized athletics involves statistics too complicated to be summarized in a letter, but it is persuasive.
  • The "admitted" deficit in the athletic program last year was $3.3 million: money that, instead of being used for player lounges and sunken theaters for game films, could be used to start doing something about the increasingly urgent "slum classroom" problem at Rutgers.
  • According to figures recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the women's basketball coach at Rutgers makes nearly $100,000 more than the president of Harvard. That surely says something about the priorities of the two institutions.

The long and the short of it is this: Rutgers is being turned into an academic and intellectual sump by a small group of people who want it to be a sports factory rather than a great university. The rest of us want it to be Rutgers again. It's that simple.

                                                  -- "Letters to the Editor," Daily Targum, 31 October 1997

The "What about  Duke?" argument is an example of what introductory Logic texts call the Fallacy of  Inference Per Enumerationem Simpliciter: arguing by counting only favorable examples.

For instance, it is easy to name a far greater number of  genuinely distinguished institutions -- Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn, Cornell, Columbia, Swarthmore, Colgate, Lafayette, Williams, Amherst, the University of Chicago, etc. -- that do not permit "athletic scholarships" (payment in tuition, board, and room for performing in the athletics program) than those that do.

Conversely, it is easy to name 50 or 60 "sports factories" with no academic distinction whatsoever -- for every Duke and Stanford there are fifty UNLV's and UNM's and Universities of Alabama at Birmingham -- whose institutional identity consists of little more than having a Division IA athletics program.

Given those proportions, here is an analogy to demonstrate why the "What about Duke? what about Stanford?"argument is invalid.

Some years ago, medical researchers tried to make the point that smoking causes lung cancer and heart attacks and emphysema.

A favorite trick of the tobacco companies was to keep spotlighting a few heavy smokers who lived to be 80 or 85 without these conditions.

The "debate" went like this:

Medical researcher: "Smoking causes lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, birth defects, emphysema, and other horrible diseases. It's better not to smoke."

Tobacco company: "Hey, right here we have Aunt Sally Sue of Mobile, Alabama, two-pack-a-day smoker for over 60 years. As you can see, she looks terrific, just terrific."

Medical researcher: "We're not talking about Aunt Sally Sue. We're talking about the effects of smoking on most people in a population of millions."

Tobacco company: (cheerfully) "And over here we have Uncle Dave Digby, smoked four packs of Pall Malls a day for over 73 years, fit as fiddle. Uncle Dave, would you step right this way?"

Medical researcher: (impatiently) "Look, it doesn't prove a thing if you can produce one or two exceptions out of millions dying of lung cancer and heart attacks and gasping with emphysema. The point is that smoking is terribly dangerous for most people who do it."

Tobacco company: "Oh yeah? Then what about Sally Sue? What about Uncle Dave?"

Some other points:

(1) The evidence shows that schools like Duke (Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan, etc.) maintain a decent academic standard not because but in spite of their athletic programs:


Duke U: "middle 50%" combined SAT, all students 1290-1470
Duke U: ave. combined SAT, basketball players

Michigan U: "middle 50%" combined SAT, all students 1180-1410
Michigan U: ave.   combined SAT, football players


(2) The recent point-shaving scandal at Northwestern, like the under-the-table payments made by the basketball coach recently fired by Berkeley, demonstrate the power of "professionalized" athletics to corrupt even schools that maintain decent levels of student selectivity.

(3) When given a choice between a "good" school with a professionalized sports program and one without, top students tend overwhelmingly to choose the latter:

In a recent estimate of "yield quotient," 97% of students accepted at both Duke and Harvard chose Harvard over Duke. That is, the very best students chose the school without a "professionalized" athletic program.

In short, there is evidence that a "sports factory" image is doing unremarked harm to institutions like Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Michigan, etc. They are at present academically respectable universities. The probability is that they would attain to a much higher level of distinction if they ceased to bring in hired semi-professional athletes to play on their teams.

Pro: A successful "big time" athletic program increases applications, thus making the university more selective in its admissions.

This is the "Here Come the Frosh" argument.

A concession: there is sometimes an increase in applications when a school with an unsuccessful athletics program suddenly "gets a winner." The recent appearance of Northwestern in the Rose Bowl is an example.

But there is a catch. "Added" applications come overwhelmingly from students with mediocre-to-poor academic records.

One admissions officer we talked to said, "Students who apply to your school because they've heard the football team is winning aren't likely to be students you want in your freshman class."

At institutions that depend purely on "body count" for solvency -- effectively, any college or university that admits 80%+ of all applicants -- an increase in applications can help keep the school solvent.

Several people have told us that increased applications during the period when the Australian professional player Andrew Gaze was imported to perform on the Seton Hall basketball team produced much-needed revenue and helped keep Seton Hall solvent.

So long as Rutgers is able to sustain a selective admissions policy, the Northwestern "Rose Bowl admissions bump" example seems to be the pertinent one. A rise in applications from high school students who "had heard the football team was winning" would, on the available evidence, do nothing to increase the quality of incoming students.

Pro: Our athletic department has a huge academic support program, which shows that it is serious about giving its athletes a real education.

This is the "Tutors for Tight Ends" argument.

We consider the existence of a large tutorial program for "hired" athletes a confession of  institutional failure.

At schools that do not permit "athletic scholarships," playing on a team is regarded as an extracurricular activity, like writing for the college newspaper, acting in drama productions, or playing in the orchestra.

At schools with "professionalized" programs, "academic support" is an expensive admission that the individuals brought in to play on teams are not real college students. (Penn State actually boasts about paying over $600,000 a year to "tutor" its athletes.)

Sperber provides extensive material on  Division IA "academic support" programs. Here is a typical passage:

"If an athlete is not attending and/or passing a course, a 'babysitter' is assigned to the player. At Oklahoma, when a tutor walks an athlete to a course, the expression is that the player was 'eyeballed into class.' If the athlete is attending but failing the course, the babysitter will stay with the athlete in class, taking notes and explaining the material to him or her. In addition, if the athlete is on a road trip with the team, the tutor will attend the class and take notes in the player's stead" (280).

Rutgers 1000 has said again and again that professionalized college sports is a way of turning "real" Rutgers students into second-class citizens at their own university.

The existence of "academic support" for athletes is a dramatic example of how this works.

What student couldn't pass courses with a "tutor" assigned to take notes, help to write papers, and explain material at great length? Why should the tiny handful of "students" recruited to play in a "professionalized" sports program be granted such privileged  treatment?

Pro: The graduation rate in our football and basketball program is really high. This shows that the athletes are real students.

This is the "Waving the Phoney Diploma" argument.

The whole notion of "graduation rates" seems to us the most worthless piece of NCAA-inspired rhetoric ever to be injected into the national sports controversy.

The basic point: students are supposed to graduate, just as students are supposed to read Aristotle and Shakespeare and learn math and physics.

To make a major virtue out of something that students are supposed to do anyway seems to us both irrelevant and dishonest.

The bottom line: congratulating yourself because 79% of your football players graduated is exactly like congratulating yourself because 79% of your friends didn't steal anything from your house the last time you had a party.

There's more. A very large percentage of scholarship athletes in "professionalized" programs are "non-students" who are kept eligible through various ruses -- fake courses in "recreation science" taught by members of the coaching staff, summer credits taken at distant campuses under "arranged" conditions, etc.

The administrators at many of these schools collude in keeping functionally illiterate athletes "academically eligible." (For a vivid example, click here on "Personal Fouls," Peter Golenbock's great book about North Carolina State basketball. We've included several sections relating how coach James Valvano kept  his players "eligible" while winning the NCAA championship. It is a chilling story.)

In other words, most "professionalized" programs are already expert at fraudulently "manipulating paper" to keep athletes eligible.

If the pressure to "increase graduate rates" mounts, they will simply manipulate pieces of paper called "diplomas."

Rutgers ought to be spared the sleaziness of "academic support" and "graduation rates." It can achieve this by abolishing athletic scholarships and letting Rutgers students play on the teams.

Pro: A lot of your responses use Ivy League schools as examples. Rutgers is a state school. The Ivies are snob schools for fancy types. They're no model for us.

We do not use examples like Harvard and Princeton because we want Rutgers to be "like" Harvard or Princeton in any pernicious sense.

We use them because such schools are a living demonstration that you can have a great university without "professionalized" sports.

We predict that, in abolishing professionalized sports, Rutgers will set an example that other public universities will be imitating over the next 20-60 years.

Rutgers is what  people in higher education call a "public Ivy" -- one of the few public institutions in the United States to provide high-level education while remaining open to good students from less-than-wealthy personal backgrounds.

In that phrase, we are every bit as proud of the word "public" as we are of the word "Ivy."

We do not want to "be Harvard" or "be Princeton." We want Rutgers to be Rutgers. We know that if it lives up to its own ideals it can lead higher education in a worthier direction.

Pro: If Rutgers played sports at the collegiate level, it would become an "elitist" institution run entirely for the benefit of "intellectuals."

This is the "Where the Elite Meet to Greet" argument.

You don't have to have a professional franchise for students to enjoy sports.

When Princeton is challenging for the title in basketball or Dartmouth in football, their alumni and students go to games, root for the teams, tailgate and have as good a time as the "boosters" at "sports factory" schools. We do not think that the K-Suite Gang has any less fun cheering for their team than the Husker Howlers do in cheering for the University of Nebraska.

We admit that the level of competition is not as high as those of "semi-pro franchises" like Nebraska or UNLV or Virginia Tech or the University of Miami.

We see nothing wrong with football played by college students looking like collegiate rather than pro football. People who want to see professional football can turn on the the TV.


As for the "elitism" charge, we have a final word to say.

If you take "elitism" to mean "granting unearned privilege by birth or wealth," we're against it.

We think that people ought to be rewarded according to their merits.

If you mean by "elitism" something more like "recognizing the best in a given activity or pursuit," then we are elitists.

We think that places in major symphony orchestras ought to go to "elite" musicians, in the sense that they are the best by musical talent and training.

We think that the U.S. Olympic teams should be made up of "elite" athletes, in the sense that they have survived incredibly tough competition.

We see nothing wrong with the fact that world chess is dominated by "elite" players: grandmasters, measured by points.

Anything else seems to us foolish.

So, yes: we would like Rutgers to be "elitist" in the sense that it tried to appoint and retain the best faculty and admit the best-prepared and most motivated students it possibly could.

We see absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Every "booster" who has called us "elitist" over the last ten months has turned out, in further discussion, to be "elitist" in sports.

All these people study "recruiting reports" like Hoop Scoop, for instance, to find out if Rutgers is going to hire "blue chip" basketball players for its team.

We say this: most people are "elitist" in some area they care about.

If you're an elitist about "blue chip" slam-dunkers with low SATs rather than students who are brilliant at Greek or philosophy or biology or math, that's fine.

But please don't turn around and accuse others of being "elitist" because the values they envision for Rutgers are different than yours.

The issue seems to us only what you want to be an elitist about.



When you read the above suggestions, you will be thinking "sure, great idea, but who do we get to do this?"

Actually, though, constructing a web site like the one we are suggesting only takes three or four hours' work. Almost any web-savvy undergraduate can do it for you, and one of your members must know one such undergraduate at their school. (We would do it ourselves, except we are a small group of RU1000 alumni all of whom are in grad school or have jobs, so we have to preserve our time for the RU1000 web.)

Once the original site is up, maintaining it takes no time at all. Pulling down the page to add new materials as they come in, then reposting it to the server, is a matter of minutes. And the person who doesn't need to know anything about layout, web design, or anything else. It's just a matter of inserting a picture or adding a URL or whatever.

We hope this helps. We have always known about the Drake Group from Prof D, and we wish you victory in the struggle.