When you have nothing better to do with your time, you write letters to Sports Illustrated regarding articles that paint your favorite university in a negative light. So I did.
Selena Roberts's article "Losing Their Religion" can be found on the back page of this week's SI (where the dearly-missed Rick Reilly article used to be). It is about church-affiliated schools who compete for a "sinner's jackpot." Guess what private institution was first to be mentioned?
"Perhaps Selena Roberts was too busy casting stones to do some serious investigating for her Point After article. While reproaching church-affiliated schools such as Notre Dame and SMU for the expensive contracts given to Charlie Weis and June Jones, respectively, Roberts failed to mention the strong academic traditions at schools where "bleachers function as corrugated church pews." The most recent graduation rate statistics for student athletes (http://web1.ncaa.org/app_data/instAggr2007/1_0.pdf) lists the national average at 63% and football at 56%. The University of Notre Dame, frequently mentioned when writers decide to attack private institutions with successful sporting programs, graduates 89% of its student athletes and 79% of all football players. SMU also had very positive numbers (76% and 73%). When bashing these two programs, Ms. Roberts neglected to mention one thing that the two schools also have in common: giving football players and all student athletes a positive education. Plenty of other schools (such as Florida, which graduates only 35% of football players) could learn a positive lesson from these two."