Anyone who has ever spent any significant amount of time around college football fans when they are in a bragging mood, whether at a football tailgate or in the various corners of the internet, know full well at least one arrow that every fan has in his quill: our University is academically superior to yours. The US News Top Universities list probably gets cited by college sports fans more often than it does by any other group of people. What makes the academic taunts so common is their dual edge: if your team is beating your lower rated rival, you can add salt to on-field losses, and if you are coming up short on the playing field, you have the classic retort of, “well at least my degree means something.” It is a no-lose argument.
At least it is until the NCAA stops by your door with a notice of investigation. And it isn’t just the Outlaw Techs of the world who get popped with these violations. USC, UNC and Miami, three universities either hit with major violations or with further penalties hanging over their programs like the sword of Damocles, are rated 23rd, 29thand 38thon the aforementioned US News Report list of national universities. We have seen schools with significant academic reputations see those reputations torn to pieces in the pursuit of athletic glory.
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