Opinion

Focus on Johnson undeserved

The topic is closed to discussion, or at least it should have been. I still stand by my belief that it is nobody’s business to begin with, but since it is already out there I might as well address issues relating to it.

One of my main complaints is that the leak even occurred in the first place. Unfortunately, I can not change what has already occurred. The claim that the public has a right to know, that no one should be hiding behind anything, even a federal law, is absurd.

Herald columnist Dan Le Batard asked a disturbing question of his reader on Sunday, “Johnson gets to be public only when it suits him?” Who is anyone to say that a mere college student has no right to a private life. Who are we to expect something more than an excellent football game? Just because Andre Johnson is a great wide receiver, does not mean he chose to have every part of his life scrutinized. Just as a person’s credit report is confidential and only accessible with written or spoken permission, the Buckley Amendment provides the same security over someone’s college academic records. Johnson has no responsibility to the public or the student body to explain himself, just as the administration has no right to explain their actions concerning his case without consent from Johnson.

Many reporters are taking a direct attack on the administration of our school, saying that the administration is hiding behind the Buckley Amendment, hoping that all this will blow over. Whereas I believe that overturning the honor council’s original rule was poor judgement on the part of the review board, I also recognize the pressure that the review board was experiencing in making that decision.

I am not sure whether the outrage I feel is over the administrations’ decision or society’s criticism of how the issue was handled. Many would claim that the administration deprives players of the education that they deserve by ignoring that a cheating problem exists, but no one makes these players cheat or tells them that they need not try. There are examples of excellent student athletes, even a few football players, who do not cheat, who put forth every effort as both an athlete and a student. Society sets the standards for these individuals. The need for higher standards is evident, but until those standards are set by everyone involved, not only by the athletes, but by administrators, coaches, parents, friends etc., there will be preferential treatment of players in similar situations. I would also like to see the “normal” student devote 70 hours a week to practice, team meetings, weight training, and school. If we do not hold our students to a standard of excelling on the field, why should we have the right to hold our athletes to a standard of performing better than average in the classroom?

In closing, I would like to add, as Le Batard did on Sunday, that many other student athletes across America are caught cheating all the time, so why focus on this incident? The answer is that the University of Miami football team is the “big deal” at the moment. Anything that is said or done on or off the field is open to criticism. Just as we were once labeled as the “jail birds” when the team was in the rut, we will acquire another label from our enemies or anyone else that will jump on the chance to cut out the good and focus on the bad. It is not fair that Johnson got singled out of a group that includes the University of Minnesota and University of Michigan basketball teams and many others.

Denise Kolb is a sophomore majoring in criminology.

March 29, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.