Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gundlach Case Nothing More Than Bad PR For University

I've hesitated to write about the James Gundlach case on this blog. First off, I think it's clearly more of an academic issue than athletics. Courses like this have been around since the beginning of time. I'll be the first to admit that during my time on the Plains if I could find an easy elective, I went after it.

Did Thomas Petee take it too far? It certainly looks that way. From this view there's no doubt that he was offering the mother of all crip courses. But the fact remains that only 18 out of 200+ students taking the course were athletes.

That doesn't make it an athletic department issue. It makes it an Auburn University issue. Is it embarrassing to Auburn? Without question, yes it is. Does it go on at other universities? You can bet that it's happening all over the SEC and every other conference.

In the end, this will be nothing more than bad PR for Auburn. My guess is that a few heads will roll in the Sociology department, namely Petee's. NCAA head Miles Brand has already indicated that this is more of an institutional issue than NCAA problem. My guess is that it will remain that way.

As for Gundlach, there are a million theories out there as to why he did it. I'm sure he's like most professors at big football schools. He's probably jealous of the attention and money paid to the Auburn football program. He's short-sighted and doesn't see the impact Auburn football has on academics. I'm sure he doesn't realize the library would be non-existent along with many other academic programs without football revenues.

Combine this with rumor of him being passed over for department head in favor of Petee and you have all the cause in the world for him to turn his guns on the University.

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