Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Mama, don't let your daughters become University of Miami students - because there are very violent men still allowed to roam that campus.

Donna Shalala, University of Miami president, has informed horrified college football fans, apprehensive athletic opponents, concerned students and nervous parents that dozens of men who took part in an orgy of violence are still good enough to call themselves student-athletes as members of the University of Miami community.

Donna Shalala is a governmental bureaucrat now serving as an academic technocrat. Apparently, money trumps justice - doing the right thing wilts in the face of one-game suspensions. The "Showdown with Florida International" has met less hand-wringing than a clucking of the typical 'boys will be boys' mantra.

Remember the last nasty brawl that attraced world-wide attention? The Pistons-Pacers slugfest was the final straw for NBA commissioner David Stern. He made a personal appearance on television to convey his disgust with what transpired in Detroit. Stern rightly recognized that the image of the NBA was at stake. Families were increasingly turned off by a combination of poor fundamentals perpetrated by players acting violently on and off the basketball court. While Stern couldn't fix the level of play in quick fashion he could impose harsh disciplinary measures. Stern followed through to the fullest extent of his powers. The commissioner suspended Ron Artest for the rest of the season while Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal respectively caught bans of 30 and 25 games.

Donna Shalala had no "David Stern moment", this week, in reaction to the brawl at the Orange Bowl. Instead, the University of Miami announced that the worst offenders would be suspended for a game against winless, toothless Duke University. Miami announced that the coaching staff would still be at the helm of the rotting ship.

At least Florida International, a school that didn't even have a football team five years ago, understood that this disastrous situation necessitated that several players be kicked off the team.

What to do? Expelling the offending players would be a good start. Suspending the coaching staff would be an excellent way to teach young students about accountability. Shalala witnessed her school's football team pick fights before - even at the Peach Bowl just a few months ago. There's been no warnings of consequences. Maybe Shalala should step down as well.

But, Donna Shalala is a Washington politician. We're used to politicians dissembling about wars, telling blatant lies while wagging fingers in our faces, and taking bribes. When Shalala was a Cabinet secretary she urged President Clinton to keep lying to the nation so that everyone in the Cabinet (including her) could keep their jobs - telling the truth was never an option. The truth is an orphan of Washington politicians (of both parties) so be careful when those 'public servants' go from taking your tax dollars to hitting you up for tuition hikes and alumni contributions.

Shalala, as former head of the HHS (Department of Health & Human Services), loves acronyms. She has instructed her minions to embrace the tawdry world of CYA. Here's a suggestion for Shalala; J.E.T.S -- Just End The Season.

There are voices in aggreement with us...
1) ESPN'S Gene Wojciechowski said Laughable suspensions aren't enough

2) USA Today's John Saraceno: "With moral outrage at Miami, it's time for Coker to go"

*Contact us directly*** thepologrounds -at-yahoo-com

Wednesday 3:00 pm ET Update: OH, DONNA DONNA

She just doesn't get it. Now she's complaining about a media "feeding frenzy". This isn't the midterm elections, Donna. No need to circle the wagons and shoot the messengers. You are now in charge of an institution of higher learning. Start acting like an educator instead of a public relations flack.

People are outraged by your stunning lack of sufficient outrage. Your school's football team has a well-documented history of violence. Your team's players have a well-documented history of violence. You should be concerned that most college football fans (and college administrators) are not surprised that "Miami Hurricanes" was inserted into the same sentence as "ugly bench-clearing brawl" this week.

You speak as if you should receive plaudits for inaugurating a "zero tolerance policy". But, who knew that an American university had a tolerance policy for ugly on-field incidents up until today? A teenaged boy scout could do a better job of handling this mess than you, Ms. Shalala.

More sane voices

Fort Worth Star Telegram's Gil LeBreton: At Miami, stupidity has tenure

Philadelphia Inquirer's Mike Jensen: Tougher punishment needed in Miami-FIU brawl case

*Contact us directly*** thepologrounds -at-yahoo-com

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