Nanny University of Oklahoma

OU has decided to clamp yet another yoke on its athletes’ freedoms by dictating what they can and cannot say on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and BLOGs.

I guess the ideal of the university as a place where one engages in free thought, free speech, free association, and welcomes diversity of viewpoints, is a big fat lie at OU. In collusion with the ever-officious Great White Fathers of the NCAA, for whom John McCain is a young man, we hereby welcome you, university athlete, to our Brave New World, the nanny state.

As an OU alumnus and fan, my selfish side is glad to see this because it will mitigate the propensity for athletes and coaches to run afoul of any of the myriad thousands of arcane and often asinine NCAA rules, then by extension, get the program in deep dung for so-called “violations.” OU doesn’t need those hassles, but this goes too far.

As a vociferous advocate of constitutionally mandated government uninvolvement in the rights of the people to assemble (even if online), speak and associate as they please, this is bad. Very bad. “Government” includes state governments, and OU is a state institution. Therefore, government, through the authority it has granted to a state university’s athletic department, oversees interference in freedom of speech and assembly of individuals on their own time. George Orwell or Aldous Huxley would have little trouble recognizing this for what it is.

I can’t wait until this policy is challenged in court by somebody with the shekels to do so, preferably a graduated player from the affected class-years who acquires some NFL million$ to devote to it and who is a constitutional idealist. But then again, it’s a pipe dream. If you suddenly are making millions to hurl passes, tote the pigskin or mash the ball carrier into the turf, you won’t give a flip about constitutional law. And that’s too bad. The fiefdom’s petty dictators are going to get away with it.

Brian Bosworth was prescient and correct with that Orange Bowl shirt in January 1987, and it’s even truer today: NCAA = National Communists Against Athletes. Hey Boz: You’re a smart guy, an economics major, claimed to be idealistic in your book, and milked both the Seattle Seahawks and (through your 44-Boz t-shirt company) assorted Denver Broncos fans for millions. Put your money where your big mouth used to be. Why don’t you take this on?

In the meantime, though my strong support of the teams will continue as a fan, my financial support of OU athletics ends, right now.


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