| News |

CU Buffs penalized for falling short of academic standards -- yet teams still suck

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

As CU fans were wondering if the school will wind up in an expanded Pac 10 or remain in the Big 12, the NCAA hit the university with sanctions.

Why? The football and basketball programs failed to reach required minimum academic standards -- which is shocking given how mediocre they've been.

Granted, the on-the-court situation has been looking up to some degree for the CU basketball program, which was at least competitive last year, despite registering a 15-16 record. But a lot of credit for the improvement is owed to Jeff Bzdelik, who jumped ship to Wake Forest -- and while Tad Boyle, his successor, is highly regarded thanks to his stint at the University of Northern Colorado, he's not the sort of name likely to easily attract sought-after recruits.

Football-wise, meanwhile, the situation is flat-out catastrophic. Last season went so badly that plenty of us considered coach Dan Hawkins to be a dead man talking by the end of October. CU decided to retain his services in what's been widely interpreted as a cash-motivated move. But his dithering in April about who his starting quarterback will be -- with son Cody Hawkins still part of the mix despite his dismal performances in recent years -- hardly portends a startling turnaround.

Of course, many schools with struggling athletic programs explain away their poor performances by pointing to their challenging academic standards. College, after all, is supposed to be about learning first, sports second -- with "supposed to be" the operative phrase.

But at least Syracuse, the only other power-conference school sanctioned, enjoyed a great season from its basketball team, which also failed to meet academic standards. In contrast, CU basketballers and footballers received lousy report cards in games and in the classroom.

It's the worst of both worlds.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.