Latest college scandal takes turn to the absurd

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

The latest scandal in college sports is not your typical one. More than 50 people have been charged in a scheme to cheat the admissions process at a handful of prestigious schools. One of the methods used was to tout prospective students as athletes, for whom admissions standards are often lower, while their parents paid a huge bribe to school officials.

Most of the “athletes” were nothing of the sort. They stunk. If they participated at all it was in off-the-radar sports like rowing, sailing, tennis and soccer, although a handful were put into the pipeline for Division I football and basketball. Most of them falsified stats and accomplishments, to the point of Photoshopping their pictures onto other players’ bodies.

Naturally, this is an appalling development. We held a conference call — meaning we just made some stuff up for humor’s sake — with other schools to get their reactions:

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NORTH CAROLINA: Amateur hour. Fake students? Please. We had an entire academic department for 20 years and got away with it. Just say you didn’t mean to do it, and you’re golden. If it worked with the NCAA, it ought to work with the Feds.

OLE MISS: Wait, wait, wait. The schools got athletes to pay THEM!? No wonder we got caught. We’ve been doing it wrong for years!

ALABAMA: There are sports other than football? When did this happen?

LSU: We’re just glad they’re looking in a different direction. Maybe we can reinstate our basketball coach while no one is paying attention. Hold on. Are you taping this?

KANSAS: (Laughs).

VANDERBILT: You wonder why we stink in football and basketball? There you go. We signed a 7-foot-2 center. The recruiting service said he was the next Shaq. He turned out to be 5-5 and 145 pounds. Hardly our fault.

MIAMI: If you’re going to cheat, at least make sure you win. They’ll make movies about you.

OHIO STATE: What is this “cheating” that you speak of? We’re not familiar with the term.

KENTUCKY: We’re clear on this one. Nobody spends more than one year here. They’re not paying six figures to do that.

SOUTHERN MISS: We weren’t part of this, either, but we’ve won 19 games in basketball this season and the NCAA is looking for houses in Hattiesburg. Anybody have an idea what that’s about?

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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