Sunday, 9 April 2006

College kids drank, had parties with strippers; News at 11

Today’s News & Observer breathlessly reports that under ex-coach Bill Hillier, the Duke baseball team “had trouble with heavy drinking, rowdiness and academic problems.” Reporter Ned Bennett goes on to say that, after canning Hillier,

the university did not undertake the kind of sweeping assessment of its athletic culture that has been triggered by the lacrosse team. Had it done so, it might have uncovered conditions similar to what led to the lacrosse incident. The baseball players, too, had a practice of bringing strippers to team parties.

“We always had parties at the baseball house,” said DeMarco, now a graduate student at Fairfield University. “The thing to do was to get strippers.”

At a party he attended, DeMarco said, the dancer brought an imposing male bodyguard.

“I remember that night with the stripper,” he said. “There were video cameras, some big, tough guy there guarding her. It was pretty shady.”

Is this evidence of a lack of institutional control, or just part of an effort by the N&O to further poison (if that’s even possible at this point) town-gown relations?


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.

Chris, many college students in many towns act this way, and often they get away with it. You are a college professor, so you have obviously been on many campuses and should not be surprised by this.

I think you’re blaming the messenger. The News Observer is not responsible for town gown relations—the students and the town residents are primarily responsible for this. They are just reporting the facts. I guess one could argue it isn’t news because many people already know about it, but a bunch of folks would like to stick their head in the sand.


Indeed, “many college students in many towns act this way.” So why is this news, exactly? Now, if the baseball team hired a stripper last week and raped her, I think that would be relevant, but we’re talking about allegations from over a year ago that don’t even speak to the case at hand.

Besides, the messenger has a choice as to whether or not to convey the message. They thought it was newsworthy. Maybe it does indicate, as I said, a lack of institutional control. If that’s the case, I’d expect them to explain that editorial decision in those terms. Without that explanation, it smacks of an effort (justified or not) to smear Duke athletics.

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