With college football kicking off tonight, SEC fans bragging about their championships and Big Ten fans boasting about their academics will only get more obnoxious. To help sort through these discussions, the above graph from the Wall Street Journal shows how schools balance winning and ethics.
The horizontal axis gauges on-field success. It is:
An average of the 2014 projected finish by three media outlets (Athlon, Phil Steele and USA Today) and two predictive models (Football Outsiders and ESPN).
The vertical axis measures "shame." It is calculated through:
A somewhat subjective ranking of six elements: four-year Academic Progress Rate, recent history of major NCAA violations and probation, percentage of athletic-department revenues subsidized by student fees and state support; number of players arrested in the off-season; attendance at last season's games; and overall "ick" factor.
By "shame," Penn State is still at the bottom of the barrel. Obviously. Northwestern's grades are good, and its unionization probably thumbed the scale as well. The Pac-12 is getting the best of both worlds with Stanford and UCLA who arguably have the best combination of football prowess and being "admirable." While Notre Dame backers like to whine about their school's rigorous academic standards preventing them from winning more games, the school only ranks middle-of-the-road (right on top of the axis in fact) in this off-the-field index. They are basically as shameful as USC and Texas A&M, but with worse outcomes.