A group of Fargo-area legislators have introduced HCR3025 commending the NDSU Bison football team, as well as head coach Craig Bohl and NDSU President Dean Bresciani, “for achieving a rare level of dominance in NCAA Division I football.”
I’ve never really liked these sort of resolution. These sort of symbolic pats-on-the-head are a waste of time. That being said, they don’t waste that much time, and for the most part they’re not worth griping about.
But the legislature commending a football squad full of criminals, as well as coaches and university officials who worked overtime to sweep the massive fraud perpetrated by those players under the rug? That’s wrong.
NDSU prioritizing winning over ethics and accountability for their institution and its students isn’t worthy of this sort of recognition. And that’s exactly what the university did. Other student athletes, including recently several members of the university’s softball team, have been held to a much harsher standard than these football players who forged tens of thousands of signatures on petitions last summer.
But the softball team isn’t as important as the football team. Holding the football players to a tougher standard might have put their national championship in jeopardy, and so NDSU prioritized winning over ethics.
What’s ironic is that this same legislature which will consider this resolution heaping praise on the NDSU football team will also be considering a raft of reforms to the state’s petitioning laws inspired by the fraud these NDSU players committed.
In a perfect world this resolution would be voted down as a way to give the university and the football team a symbolic black eye they richly deserve. But it probably won’t be, for the same reasons why the State Board of Higher Education has talked about exempting student athletes from tougher admissions standards.
For far too many people football is more important than anything else, and the legislators aren’t about to anger those voters.