Last August, I wrote about the two University of Nebraska wrestlers who were dropped from the squad after news became public that they had posed nude on a pornographic website that largely caters to gay men. The two wrestlers, Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan, were both interviewed (along with several other figures associated with the scandal) for an episode of ESPN's Outside the Lines which aired this morning.
While ESPN's reporting suggests that there may have been more to the story than was apparent 10 months ago, I nevertheless found the rationalizing of the Nebraska officials they interviewed about the dismissals both specious and self-serving. Their major concern, at least as expressed in the few public statements they have been willing to make about the incident and the very few documents the university was willing to release in response to ESPN's request under the Freedom of Information Act, seems to have been the damage done to the school's image by having two of its student-athletes appear in pornographic videos.
Considering that a third of the athletes on the Nebraska wrestling squad over the last two years have faced criminal charges--and yet were not dropped from the team--that reasoning seems mighty thin to me. When you consider that Tom Osborne, now the athletic director at Nebraska and head coach of its football team in the 1990s, handed out only token punishments to stars on his football team (suspension for one spring exhibition game for Christian Peter, who racked up eight separate arrests and at least one conviction, and an on-again, off-again suspension for Lawrence Phillips after he assaulted and injured an ex-girlfriend), the rationalizations look thinner still.