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Daniels: Purdue Strikes Proper Academics-Athletics Balance

Penn State scandal has focused university leaders on reasserting control

Image iconDaniels-Purdue_PU_061312.JPG
(photo courtesy of Purdue University)

Governor Mitch Daniels says he's confident he'll find athletics and academics in proper balance when he becomes president of Purdue in January.


The NCAA characterized its heavy penalties against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal as a wake-up call to other universities, and notes university presidents have been discussing how to prevent sports from overtaking the academic mission.

Daniels says Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke has given him some reading to get up to speed on his new responsibility as the final authority over Purdue sports, but says he's been focused primarily on the goal of aligning a quality education with affordable tuition. He says he hasn't had a chance to study what reforms the NCAA might want to consider.

But Daniels says he's seen enough as an avid sports fan to agree the NC-A has correctly identified a danger of athletic programs gaining so much power that it warps the relationship with universities' academic mission.

Daniels won't pass judgment on whether the Penn State penalties were too severe or too lenient, but says the NCAA had to take decisive action.

"(Athletics) has to be kept, or perhaps put back, in its proper perspective," Daniels says. "Academics is the heart of the enterprise. Integrity and character have got to be part of what is learned and taught there."

Daniels says Purdue already meets that test.

"They have very firm principles that they live by. They have an athletic department that pays for itself, and occasionally supports the academic enterprise, and that's important," Daniels says.