Are Athletic Departments like Wells Fargo?

Inside Higher Ed ran an article titled “Beyond ‘Bad Apples‘.” In the article John V. Lombardi, who is currently a Professor of History and Associate Director Libraries at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, commented in the article:

Lombardi, who led the LSU system, the University of Florida and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (and their powerhouse teams) during his decades as a university president, equates the alleged behavior of the basketball coaches implicated in the FBI inquiry to the lawbreaking employees at Wells Fargo, who “think they’re promoting the interests of the institution or the company but really they’re not.”

It is wholly unsurprising that bad behavior is spilling out of a system with “so much money, ego, visibility and celebrity floating around,” Lombardi said — leaving “no question that we have to fix the systemic problem.”


My understanding is that he is implying that these bad actors think they are doing something beneficial for college sports, but they are not. However, I don’t think any of them are claiming they are doing something beneficial for college sports – they are just doing something beneficial for their team (assuming they will not get caught).

And as an interesting extension of this quote: I thought Wells Fargo got in trouble for bosses making their employees create false accounts through the incentive structure they created and office place culture. Is that correct? If that is a true statement, I find his statement, especially quoting a former leader of multiple educational institutions, even more intriguing. Is he implying that it is not the actors that are the problems, but rather the people telling the actors to do these things?

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Author: Kurt Rotthoff

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