Binghamton University Sports!

Dear Commons Community,

It is a little sad to see how a great public university and one of our sister colleges in the SUNY system could have made such major errors in judgment to set aside its academic integrity in pursuit of a higher-profile sports program.   A report recently released by a former judge of the New York Court of Appeals is highly critical of the way the sports program was operating at Binghamton University under the watch of President Lois DeFleur and the athletic directors she appointed.   Credit for soft courses, pressure on instructors to inflate grades, and recruiting athletes with troubled pasts were among a number of criticisms identified in the report.  In reading a couple of articles on this story, I kept wondering if Binghamton represents an isolated sorry case or is it representative of many big time college sports programs that have sold their souls in pursuit of athletic fame and revenue.

A recent NY Times editorial and an article can be found in the links below.



  1. Good question. The percent that actually make it to the pros is small. There are only so many teams and so many positions compared to the hundreds of college sports programs around the country. You also have to look at all of the announcers who cover the games. Many of them are former student athletes that did not make to the pros, yet they are doing well and have an opportunity that they wouldn’t have had if it were not for college sports. The other thing to look at is the opportunity that is giving to these student athletes. I was a student athlete who was able to attend a school that my parents couldn’t afford and that, at first, I didn’t really qualify for academically. I was only there for sports. But once I was giving an opportunity, I did well in school and graduated with a better education than I could have ever received if it weren’t for these college sports programs. How many people are out there just like me who are now able to go pro in something other than the sport that we played in college? This is because of the opportunity that we received from these college sports programs.

  2. Jim,

    Thanks for posting on this topic and presenting another point of view. I think this is a good debate. Your position regarding educational opportunity is fine and to be commended. A question I would have is what percentage of these students who basically are athletes really go on to professional sports or to any significant well-paid sports-related career.


  3. Hey guys, I like the way that you only dwell on the negatives. Have you ever been to one of the games to see the way the community comes together to cheer on our hometown team. This is all part of the quality of life for this area and if we are trying to retain young people, this is one venue that helps. What are colleges for? They are to educate and to help people better themselves mentally and financially. Let’s take a look at the latter. What if our program was able to give a student, who does not have the grades to go to college and better themselves, the opportunity to go and play a sport that gets them noticed by a professional sports program. They then get drafted and they make a good life for themselves. A life that they would have never had the chance to if it wasn’t for college sports. What if this student athlete, while playing sports in college, does become a more educated person. Is this a bad thing? College sports are the only proving grounds for these pro programs. I see nothing wrong with this and I have felt more pride in our community because of these sports! This is one aspect that I never see any of the naysayers address.

  4. I am in complete agreement. The money invested in Div I athletics was wasteful and has proven the downfall of the reputation of the university. In addition, it must be remembered that the killing of the professor occurred on LeFleur’s watch. In spite of several student alerts to the counseling program no action was taken. Was this because there was a shortage of counselors, were there efforts made insignificant by the administration, what steps have been taken to effect a change in that policy?