Sunday, June 28, 2009

missing the point

Well, naturally, it'd be like this. It has before, because heaven forbid you say anything bad about The Florida State University. I suppose if I were to do the "right" thing, I'd let the Florida State defenders of truth and justice go on with their railing. Knowing I'm right, I ought to just sit back and quaff my Zima, tie my sweater loosely around my neck, and let them hoot and holler whilst I repose on the Lawn and speak of Honor.

Screw it - this blog exists, in part, because there's a little bit of the message board loudmouth in me and there's nothing like a good Internet argument. Let's see about this stuff. The common thread between the two angry diatribes thrown back at me because of my angry diatribe against the whiny, see-no-evil attitude from the TFSU staff and admin is "you're in the same boat as we are because this stuff happens to you too, dirty Jefferson-loving hypocrite." To wit: "By the way how’s Peter Lalich doing? He was one of those upstanding young Cavaliers, right?"

Probably about as well as Preston Parker is doing, except that if those two ever get together and have a chat, Lalich is going to wonder what kind of a bum rap he got. Peter Lalich committed the heinous crime of drinking alcohol. It didn't help that the judge specifically told him not to, and he did, but there you go: those of you who went to college and drank alcohol before you were 21, take a lesson. Preston Parker also got thrown off the team for drinking alcohol, with the minor added detail of hopping behind the wheel of a car afterwards. Oh, and there was the marijuana. And the gun. And the shoplifting. None of which were enough to get him flung off the team until the third offense - ol' Bobby's all about third chances. Peter Lalich is the poster boy for bad behavior? I'll take it, especially in comparison.

But that's just a sideshow to the real thing. Credit is given for manning up and putting down your name. Let's dive into the argument:

While no FSU alum condones our recent, unfortunate cheating scandal, it's important to note it involved a renegade tutor who of her own volition made answers available to players. At UVA, it was the students themselves who actively, on their own, sought to beat the system and besmirch your once proud honor code.
The post refers primarily to the physics cheating scandal in 2001. You may remember it - I do, I was a second year the year the trials were dragging on. Indeed, the students themselves besmirched the honor code. And here's the best part about the honor code - it is student-run. That means it's also students who provide the discipline, and the articles that commenter Rich helpfully posts as a reminder of the cheating scandal also note that a large number of students were expelled as a result - and even more seriously, a few had their degrees revoked. That's the part that the don't-throw-stones argument glosses right over. Which is convenient, because that's the big difference between the schools.

Because, see, the point of the criticism of TFSU is not that "cheating happens there and not here." The point, which I really think comes through with all the subtlety of a jackhammer, is that the school's reaction to the scandal is the real problem. Cheating happens - if it didn't, there wouldn't be a need for an honor code in the first place, would there? That's why the original post didn't carry the title "Florida State is a bunch of damn dirty cheaters." The title was, very clearly and obviously, "Stop Whining."

The difference is not that their students cheat and ours don't. The difference is what happens in response. The UVA administration allowed the students to get down to the business of punishing the perpetrators, fairly, openly, and honestly. The TFSU administration whines about how unfair the NCAA is being. The guilty UVA students were expelled or lost their diplomas. The guilty TFSU athletes returned to play for their teams after a cursory suspension. It's kinda like that Preston Parker/Peter Lalich thing. Screw up when the judge tells you not to screw up, and you're gone, says UVA. TFSU sees things a little differently.

It's nice that we all agree on the major point, which is that TFSU needs to drop the appeal because it's embarrassing the school. That agreement in place, I suppose some potshots at the football team were necessary to even things up and keep the faithful fired up. Playing on Labor Day, that's pretty special. Bet that makes the Seminoles feel pretty important. Tell you what - let's all put this behind us, grab a beer, and go watch a ballgame.


Bird said...

I generally avoid reading rival blogs just because I get pissed off and want to comment.

However, in this case, I think there's some interesting banter that can be pulled from this discussion.

I'd say our worst GT SA arrest in recent memory and only bad one, in my opinion, was Reuben Houston. He ditched 1,000 lbs of marijuana in an SUV. Apparently, he was always a small-time weed dealer and decided to help a buddy for a bigger score but in the middle of the cross-US transit, he felt guilty and abandoned the SUV. Got arrested before the season, court order put him back on the team. He didn't get back on until maybe Halloween, played against Miami in the upset because we had so many injured DB's that season.

Now, a recent academic scandal involved some Computer Science courses where EVERYONE usually works in teams before turning in homework (2001ish?). Well, the professor took the coding and compared it all and failed everyone that had the same line of unique coding. GT also tried to expel several of the students. There were over 180 kids accused. When I took Intro to CS, we had to include a disclaimer in all of our code that said who "worked" with us.

Winfield Featherston said...

BTW, GT also has the honor code that is run by students.