Something sinister is happening on campus, something which has gone woefully unnoticed, given the tremendous threat it poses not only to IM athletics but to Chicago's reputation for academic integrity.
It is visible in the large-screen television in the Hitchcock lounge, the scores of people of questionable morals loitering in the B-J entryway, the twelve new pairs of Nikes that Bishop's Mital Patel received two weeks ago, the extra Bartlett points Woodward, Graham, and May residents receive, and it is glaringly visible when Rickert's Phil Shaffer arrives for games in his mint 1987 IROC-Z.
Big-time boosterism and its traveling companion, corruption, have arrived at Chicago and found a surprisingly receptive community.
This state of affairs began innocuously enough when resident heads would occasionally divert a small portion of house study-break funds to the purchase of a football. Some eyebrows were raised when house alumni started to take over this function, perhaps throwing in a few shirts, but most people looked upon such activities as a healthy expression of community spirit. Such logic is no longer tenable in the face of the recent escalation in the scale and distribution of alumni assistance.
When the Dodd-Mead players are able to strut about campus with golden tans acquired on a trip to California during midterms for an "exhibition match" and promising first-year Dewey residents are able to secure ringers to take their swimming test for them, something is out of whack. Furthermore, while IM athletes are the main targets of booster activity, entire houses are getting caught up in a calculus of greed. For example, although IM regulations prohibit players from wearing jewelry during games, there is more than enough ice on the sidelines at any given game to surface the Midway rink.
Tempting as it is to blame greedy players, their housemates, or administrators hell-bent on redefining the meaning of fun at Chicago, the burden of responsibility must be given to the boosters themselves. As one Broadview RA pointed out, ironically, as she stood on a new Italian marble floor in the main lounge, "The constant parties are ridiculous. Students keep trying to drink in the halls and fights have broken out over high-stakes Scrabble. All of it is encouraged by a steady stream of non-residents who are able to hang around with impunity by abusing the associate house member provisions most house constitutions have."
Of course, the pattern of houses falling to the temptation of payoffs and high rankings in the Insider may be so ingrained as to make all efforts at reform futile. If this is the case, then the battle has already been lost and it might be time to bring the varsity teams in line with the rest of campus by rejoining the Big Ten.
Poor weather threw the second week of IMsand with it the rankingsinto turmoil as heavy rain forced the cancellation of the games on Wednesday and Thursday. In the past, these games would have been played, continuing the excellent tradition of the Mud Bowl, but the City of Chicago's recent rediscovery of the Midway has resulted in new restrictions on field use.
Those teams fortunate enough to play before the rain arrived witnessed an oddly recurrent theme familiar to Red Sox and Giants fans, the second-half collapse. Perhaps because the culture of boosterism has sapped teams' desire to condition properly, the week's scores witnessed some unbelievable second-half blowouts. Rickert and Linn were engaged in a close game at the half, but Rickert added to its 14-7 lead with 20 second-half points. Dewey dropped 18 points on Thompson to close out their contest in convincing fashion, and Flint trumped previously-ranked Woodward behind 21 second-half points. Even Not-So-Sucky-Ducky got into the act, putting up a 21-spot in the last half on GSB-Black, who were, perhaps, blue over their second-place finish behind Northwestern in the latest B-school rankings.
The worst second-half beating, however, was administered by Graham, who posted 42 second-half points en route to a 64-0 embarrassing of Mathews House. Just to prove that small SEC town newspaper editors aren't the only ones impressed with unsportsmanlike running-up of scores, I have moved Graham up in the rankings.
In other games of note, Vincent defeated Bury the Biscuit, 26-14, behind 26 second-half points. Captain Michael Retzer cited Vincent's strong and quick defensive front as the key to the Green Machine's win, "We run a lot of stunts and get good pressure on the quarterback." They certainly did, as Justin Agans racked up three picks, one of which he ran back for a score. As for Bury the Biscuit, given the stench they've been leaving on the field lately, a better name would be "Air Biscuit."
Vincent's main competitor, Bishop-Phi Slamma Jamma, continued its impressive play by defeating Maclean 46-20. Unlike the other week's losers, Maclean played a strong second half, but could not overcome the 20 first-half points Bishop registered. Bishop's captain attributed his team's success to "frequent practices, late night sessions where we change things up, the great attitude of our fans, and Mital [Patel] played a great game at quarterback." He also singled out the team's desire for "a little payback against the Insider for not ranking us." Point taken.
2. Walk-OnsWeek off allows Graham to leapfrog.
3. HendersonKnocked off 10th-ranked May, 36-26.
4. Bishop-Phi Slamma Jamma
5. AtropineConvincing 27-6 win over Pritzker.
6. Monkey MafiaToo much other talent on display to justify letting them idle in second.
7. Dodd-MeadBeat Alper Red Army 28-21.
9. RickertHas best special teams unit.
10. Fighting KiwisKnock off the 'Cock 20-8 to take top coed spot.
12. Pritzker SomitesRemain a dangerous team despite loss.
Shorey t. Broadview, 12--12
Celtics d. Hale, 48-0
Michelson d. Coulter Cougars, 20-12 (co-ed)
MAPH d. Wallace, 18-12
Fallers 321 d. Law School by forfeit.
Volleyball has been marred with so many forfeits that a special word of caution is in order. Unlike the football rankings, which are compiled using only the most exacting standards of scientific inquiry, the volleyball rankings are, at best, provisional. That being said, my money is on the Woodward women to take the IM title. I'd also like to offer my services to any team that finds itself on the bubble. Just put me on the associate house member list. You won't regret it.
1. Woodward (W)
2. May (M)
3. Hitchcock-Snell (W)
4. Pike (M)
The Gas Face: Maclean, for the numerous forfeits by both their men's and women's teams.