More Institutional Narcissism

Another parable for putting the institution first. (Hint: it’s not the institutional church this time.) But you’re probably right with your second guess. WaPo sports journalist Jason Reid:

(T)he initial response by (Rutgers University) also was pathetic. By merely suspending Rice for three games and fining him $50,000 in December after investigating what he viewed on the tape, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti displayed an even bigger failure of leadership. The whole Rutgers mess provides yet another sobering reminder about the warped nature of big-time college athletics.

Too often, the first instinct of some university officials is to protect their schools’ interests rather than doing what’s morally — and usually clearly — right when crises occur. When faced with potentially embarrassing situations, many decision-makers seem to first try to handle things as easily as possible for themselves. Minimize negative scrutiny, the thinking goes, in an effort to protect the brand.
This would be another example of what Pope Francis referred to as self-referentiality and narcissism. Mr Pernetti:

The most important thing I am factoring in is trying to make sure that we don’t do harm to Rutgers University, because we are a small slice of the pie here at this great place. I don’t want to put any negatively on the university when we have a lot of real good things going on.

Hard to believe. Many sports people think athletics, especially money-making ones, are at the top of the heap. This strikes me as spin.

In this light, it’s not so different from the institutional church. The Secular Religion of Sport is a powerful force in the US, especially on college campuses. Tens of thousands descend on campuses for the rituals of basketball and football. Massive feelings of support are generated that involves not only the athletic event itself, but also clothing and food and vehicles and such on game day and beyond. It warps the place of athletics on a college campus. Division III schools have the right balance, I think.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to More Institutional Narcissism

  1. John McGrath says:

    Where are the priests/presidents like the President of Fordham U who swiftly eliminated Fordham’s top-ranked football program due to what was a minor scandal? The famous Four Horsemen reference in college football is to Fordham U in the heyday of its program. Maybe Pope Francis could learn a lesson from this college President (in regard to the Curia and the Vatican Bank)..

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