Criticized Our Basketball Team? You’re Fired!

Speaking of the corrupting influence of college sports, Deadspin has a good rundown of a rather ugly scandal at Binghamton University, where the basketball team has seen better days—six players were recently kicked off the team for various legal and academic issues, including the starting point guard, who was arrested on charges of possessing and distributing crack cocaine:

A cleansing fire claimed six Binghamton basketball players as the program tries to erase its myriad problems, but the university went a little further by dismissing a professor who had publicly criticized the program. So nothing more to see here!

Actually, the school says it was a “strategic reprioritization of resources across the university” that led to the loss of human development lecturer Sally Dear’s job. Dear thinks it’s more likely that the reason she was let go after 11 years is because she played a starring role in an embarrassing New York Times investigation of the program back in February. In that article, she claimed that three players had been a highly disruptive influence in her class and when she docked their grades over absences, basketball officials pressured her to accommodate them. Now she’s laid off, but that’s probably just a coincidence.

Want to hear another coincidence? Seven Binghamton basketball players majored in human development last year and the chairman of that department—who is Dear’s boss, sets her class schedule, and presumably made the decision to terminate her contract—is a huge basketball fan! Dear claims “His attitude to me changed 100 percent as soon as the article came out.” Weird, right? Also, he sort of looks like a lemur.

So many coincidences, it’s spooky.

It’s hard not to feel bad for Dear and what she’s had to deal with as a result of all this.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.