[ Edit | View ]
Date Posted: 23:42:57 06/14/18 Thu
"Observer," in light of the state of public discourse in the US being as bad as I can ever remember, I'm going to try to state the following in the most constructive, least antagonistic manner possible.
Sometimes Ivy League universities are criticized just for being elite institutions. Sometimes Harvard, Yale and Princeton are criticized even more just for being especially famous. And sometimes Harvard is criticized just for being the most famous of all.
Given that preamble, I think that it must be tempting to believe that Harvard athletics, specifically Harvard men's basketball, is being criticized mostly because it's Harvard. Certainly, that is what your comments in this thread suggest that you believe.
I can't speak for other observers or critics, but I would like to assure you that my opinions about Harvard men's basketball have nothing at all to do with the fact that it involves Harvard. First, I have no criticism whatsoever about how the other 41 Crimson varsity sports conduct themselves. So this isn't criticizing anything merely because it carries the Harvard name.
Secondly, the Harvard men's basketball team is being run in a very different fashion than the other 41 Harvard varsity sports. There's a lot of behavior which has been discussed at length over the years since Amaker arrived. One can believe that this behavior is either benign or not so, but it is undeniable that the criticism of Harvard men's basketball centers on this behavior, not because the players wear the name Harvard on their uniforms.
Thirdly, perhaps to you criticism of Harvard sounds like sour grapes or simple envy. Perhaps it sounds like dogs in the back of the pack are barking loudly, trying to level criticism at the lead dog. But as explained in detail elsewhere in this thread, if it were simply a matter of the back of the pack taking shots at the lead dog, those shots should be fired at Princeton. The Tigers are far and away the lead dog in this pack, not Harvard.
Finally, perhaps criticism voiced by Yale fans to Harvard ears sounds like a manifestation of frustration coming from the losing end of the H-Y rivalry. For a prolonged stretch, Harvard was beating Yale in football, crew, basketball and most other sports. I grant you that there was plenty of frustration in the land of Eli. But criticism of the Harvard men's basketball program, as least in my case, is a separate matter entirely.
As evidence of that, I note that, in the recent past, Yale has gained the upper hand in football, crew, lacrosse, baseball and a lot of other sports which are most important to fans. So the frustration has been mitigated and diffused for the most part. But speaking only for myself, the manner in which Harvard men's basketball conducts business is still a legitimate topic for investigation.
Win or lose, we are a conference which stands first and foremost for academic limitations on the pursuit of athletic success. That's why our conference exists. Critics of Harvard men's basketball aren't speaking up because it's Harvard; we're speaking up because we fear Stemberg, Amaker, Scalise et al threaten the very principles upon which the Ivy League was founded.
I welcome any response or rebuttal from you. I hope that you will not reply with a simple retort of indignation. I have done my best to state my case with respect and civility; I hope that I have succeeded.
[ Post a Reply to This Message ]