Big Red Rape – Steubenville’s Aftermath and the “Free Ride” for Sports

A scholarship to play sport?

That’s amazing sign me up!

In the UK we have a system of youth sports teams that have under 15s under 16s and under 18s. These teams are free to try out for but these are “professional” teams. They are the feeders for our professional football clubs. Many of these players in the Under 16s and under 18s are often salaried or given a sizeable sum of money for playing.

This stops sport from being linked to university. It stops the University from earning money through sports and making it profitable to concentrate on sport before it concentrates on education. We do have University sports and University teams, it is just that these teams are often just “normal students” who happen to be good at sport. The University Boat Race for example is not crewed by ringers given seats solely for the purpose of boat race victory but by young men (and now women) who engage in the University Societies and choose to participate in sports.

I have played rugby, rowed and shot archery as part of this scheme. For free. And with training. Well there was a small fee but it was miniscule. I even had access to gym and playing fields. This was sport for all.

This is not the case in the USA. To me the American System is a frightening problem, where the University is more reliant on sport than it is on academia.

Now I don’t care that most of my favourite footballers would struggle to be as acadmeic as me, I don’t mind that. They are professionals in their field and that means spending hours every week playing a game. I suspect most other similar jobs would cause people to “not be that academic”.

But if we are going to be running Universities then the onus is on education not on sport.

The Big Red showed us this. I wrote about it and amidst all the stupidity from last year about people defending the rapists including the MRAs who tried to claim it was not rape and that the young men’s lives were ruined. Never mind the victim (what’s the word? Oh right! Helmet Bunnies), she got what was coming to her for saying yes/no and liking/not liking footballers.

After less than a year on their rape sentence the “real victims” of that rape got released recently. While they are minors, I do not think hard prison time will help them. I don’t think they should play either. Their stupidity, their privilege and the culture that created their crime should not be rewarded. No, these talented young men will go through life without being able to convert their talent to vast wealth, maybe. They may be like Michael Vick, whose cruelty to animals was fine after he served time because “SPORTS”. But that’s fine, he served the time, maybe he will turn over a new leaf. I just don’t see why that leaf involves monsterous amounts of money. He was not really punished, most of us would never get our career back from such an event.

No, these young men will probably play again one day and may even go professional with all the wealth and endowment that entails.

And if they don’t? It won’t be their fault. People and they will blame the helmet bunny who would not shut up.

Because Sports.

Ma’Lik Richmond had been released. His attorney, Walter Madison, issued a statement saying the youth is “braced for the balance of his life” and that he and his family are requesting privacy.

“While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways,” he said in the statement. “He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family.”

He is a child, an idiot but a child still. And still an idiot, the message portrays him as the victim. All he did was rape someone, is that so much a crime?

What was the excuse of the adults? Like Judgy Bitch, what’s her excuse? Oh right! “Sports”.

And what’s the punishment for opposing sports? Well the victim is in hiding because of the way the town behaved when it’s beloved “Sports” was threatened.

And one of the people who helped bring at least some justice for the victim? Well he may be set to spend some time behind bars.

Deric Lostutter, the 26-year-old “ethical” hacker who leaked the evidence that led to the conviction of two of the Steubenville, Ohio rapists is now facing more time behind bars than the rapists he exposed. What made national headlines was the video made by the rapists themselves, and their friends, which proved that their victim was unconscious and unable to consent.

The punishment can be as long as 10 years for leaking these by hacking into personal accounts.

Now here is the issue. What the hacker did is unethical but  what they did is unethical. It is possible to do evil and manage to do good after all. Deric should be punished but his punishment should be tempered with the knowledge that he did this to bring people to justice where others would not. That he helped jail punish two rapists who otherwise would have walked free due to a systematic cover up and denial of her rape in order to protect the school football team.

Because Sport.

And now a similar story is unfolding.

 Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork.

He couldn’t read or write.

“And I kind of panicked. What do you do with that?” she said, recalling the meeting.

Willingham’s job was to “pump” up the Academic records for Atheletes.

I don’t have a problem with this sort of tuition if it is available for all people. Not just people who throw a ball particularly well.

After being shocked by the above anecdote she had another.

And then another came with this request: “If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him.”

Part of me is astonished. I have patients who are illiterate. I have sat and written letters for my patients. I have sat and read their letters to them when they need it. But they have poverty and for a long while school access was hard. It was more important to work than to study since there were little opportunity for the educated.

But that is in India. A third world nation and a developing one.

What’s America’s Excuse?

And why are these kids even at University?

Oh right. Sport.

So what are they doing there? I mean at this level of education they cannot even read the textbooks for their classes. Are American Universities (in this case UNC) simply fudging the book to keep talented sportsmen on the lists because it’s big money?

Probably yes. This isn’t a borderliner, these are two anecdotes about people who struggle to read and write. They should not be there, not for free and definitely not to play a sport.

And this has been a problem, at the very same UNC where atheletes got a free ride for classes where they did no work and/or failed the requirements. These classes are a symptom of the real issue.

That it is profitable to enrol sub-par academics if they are good at sport. Because Sports. And sports in the USA are big business with millions at stake.

Based on data from those requests and dozens of interviews, a CNN investigation revealed that most schools have between 7% and 18% of revenue sport athletes who are reading at an elementary school level. Some had even higher percentages of below-threshold athletes

Oh… Right. Don’t worry folks there is a handy website where you can check out the details of the investigation.

The threshold of College is around a score of 400 on Reading and Writing. Among college atheletes the threshold seems to be 16 and the average is around 200 to 300.

I would consider this immoral as a person who does have the ability is being  denied an education.

Officials at the universities from which CNN collected data all said they recognized the low scores — and gave several possible reasons for them:

— Some athletes don’t aim for high scores when taking entrance exams, looking only to score high enough to become NCAA eligible.

Bullshit, you have to be a genius to score to level. If your entire life is going to be based on one single exam then you are going to show up and study like the dickens because while all you  need is 50%, you cannot bank on getting 50% with a half arsed effort.

Aiming for marks is just nonsensical. I want to pass my exams so I read it all. Not just 50% of what I need.

– Many times, low scores are indicators of learning disabilities.

I am sorry? Are you suggesting that people who are good at sports all have learning disabilities of that severe a magnitude?

– Entrance exams are just one factor taken into consideration when deciding whether to accept a student-athlete.

A very minor one by the sound of things.

The officials also said they believe excellent tutoring and extra attention from academic support allows these athletes to excel off the field as well as on, and many cited the high graduation rates of athletes.

Why do they deserve extra academic support  when there are kids who cannot throw a ball who never get it. The practice is unacceptable and it’s the same sort of ethic that leads to a High School covering up the rape of a young girl. Because football IS more important to the school than one young girl.

That needs to change.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

More shocking is that the University of North Carolina is now disavowing her research as a whistle-blower – research that showed between 8% and 10% of the school’s football and basketball players are reading below a third-grade level.

UNC issued a statement Wednesday night saying it did not believeWillingham’s account of a basketball player who could not read or write.

So the UNC is closing ranks behind it’s atheletes and it’s profitable sports teams rather than trying to guarantee a decent education for all. And she isn’t the first or last whistleblower.

But that’s not all.

Remember it’s Sports. And Sports are important. If the health and safety of a young girl isn’t important then the health and Safety of Willingham isn’t either.

Since the CNN report, she’s received four death threats and 30 various messages of hate.

Because Sports. Go Team.


  1. says

    Lostutter didn’t leak the information, he did help publicise it as did many members of Anonymous and others on social media. But the media story of Anons “hacking” into the kids phones made for a better story that the reality. Which was this woman staying up all night screenshotting the unpleasant assholes who were openly bragging about what they were doing real time. This was then found by Lostutter and others and spread far and wide.

    I assume the only charge against him is hacking into the sports website and putting the Anonymous video on there? Cannot find any hard evidence he did this, only that he “posted” the video on the website. Which also may have involved no hacking… FBI seem to be charging him with a bunch of other crimes such as identity theft.

    Although having said that regardless of how big an arse he is or is not, that he faces a longer sentence than the rapists is ridiculous.

  2. Francisco Bacopa says

    I can’t say much about the Steubenville case except that it is very rare. And by that I mean that it’s rare this kind of rape gets exposed. Those who worked to expose it should face no charges and be lauded as heroes. We need to set proper precedents.

    As for sports, seems the UK has a better model for highly talented pre-professional youths. They are moved into a privately owned program. This is similar to the baseball minor league system in the US.

    I believe universities in the US should sell off their football teams to private companies. Most universities lose money on football and could benefit from a one time payment. The few universities with money making programs programs could hold out for huge down payments and royalty fees, but the stadiums would have to move far from campus so as not to distract the universities from their purpose of education.

  3. smrnda says

    I actually don’t think there should be any ‘punishment’ for the hacking, given that the government of the US is, effectively, doing the same thing.

    But hey, I can’t change the whole justice system. In the end though, rape doesn’t get that much time in jail much of the time, which shows that the criminal justice system isn’t really concerned about how potentially dangerous people can be.

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