It’s still a week where some states’ proposals to “placate” athletes’ desire to be compensated for their work and likeness still involve schools poaching 75 percent of said athletes’ income from such things. But still, it’s fun and satisfying to mark when a school has to take a step back, admit it was wrong, and a few people who thought they were part of the untouchable rich white boys club suddenly feel the pinch.
Northwestern’s new AD, Mike Polisky, had to step down last night. Deadspin colleague/comrade Julie DiCaro has catalogued what a shitbird Polisky is, and why his hiring was such a fuck up from the Evanston school and fuck you to women and Black students on campus. To sum up, Polisky is named in a lawsuit which basically alleges he turned his back on cheerleaders who accused the athletic department of subjecting them to sexual assault and exploitation, and who only got the job because he’s closely associated with another dickbag who has given Northwestern a ton of money. Another cheerleader said she plans to sue the school over racist policies on the Cheer Squad, which fell under Polisky’s purview as Deputy Athletic Director.
And now he had to fall on his sword when protests from inside and outside the school became too much to ignore.
It’s satisfying in a certain way for a resident near Evanston, Ill., like I am. Northwestern has always liked to pretend it’s somehow rise above the rest of the Big Ten, and any other Midwestern school, and is just a misplaced Ivy League institution that just happens to be outside Chicago. But it’s been bending over backward for its football program for decades now, including a $270 million new athletic facility that opened a couple years ago that looks out over Lake Michigan. Northwestern is the same as every other school, whatever it tells itself, and the hiring of Polisky only proved it further.
While there’s still a very long way to go to either cleansing the NCAA or getting rid of it altogether, the optimum outcome, at least you can see the tolerance for bullshit like this starting to lower. Journey of 1,000 miles and all that.