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The reaction in Norman was swift and furious. Some 200 faculty members met and, amid loud applause and desk banging, unanimously adopted a resolution asking the regents to reinstate the expulsion. "I've never seen a zoo run like [Oklahoma]," Michael Engel, an associate professor of geology, said at the time. Several teachers called for the governor to dismiss the five board members who had approved the lesser sentence.
Said then state education secretary Smith Holt, "They [the regents] interjected in matters better left alone to the faculty and administration." The Oklahoma student congress voted to censure the regents—the kids spanked the parents—and 400 faculty and student signatures were gathered on a petition demanding that Reynolds suffer the original penalty.
The regents turned a deaf ear to the criticism, and the Reynolds matter was closed. Reynolds came back to Norman last May. Through last week, he had a 16-1-1 record this season and was ranked fifth nationally in the 142-pound division.
Shortly after Reynolds's return, Horton resigned. One regent said that a "variety of differences" between the president and the board made coexistence impossible, but would not confirm that Horton's lack of sympathy for the athletic department was one of them. Horton, who is now president of the University of Toledo, will not discuss the reasons for his departure, other than to say, "I did some things that are in my best interest."
Says one Oklahoma faculty member, "The regents dumped him; they got rid of a perfectly good president, a true academician. They're an embarrassment."
The special treatment afforded some Sooner athletes, coupled with the revered status of the football team, has pushed some faculty members to the breaking point. "When we go to professional meetings, we get kidded about the latest cheating in the athletic department," says Alan Nicewander, chairman of the psychology department. "I really resent it. The stain spreads. I don't think the acting president has accepted that. I think he's blinded by his devotion to athletics.
"The whole essence of this thing must be changed. The problem with the wrestler was a watershed event; it created a lot of ill will. A university ought to be crystalline pure, more so than the community around it, because a university is a place where morals and ethics are taught. Right now we faculty members feel a real frustration. The problem is with the board of regents. But what can we do? Nobody's listening."
The regents claim they are listening, and point to a set of reforms passed Feb. 10 that are intended to restore some semblance of order to the football program. The rules are meant to ensure accountability: If troubles continue, Switzer and Duncan will be held directly responsible, no matter how "isolated" the incidents.
An effort is also being made to turn Bud Hall into a more civilized place. A university police officer now patrols the dormitory each night—standard procedure at other Oklahoma dorms—and the coaches and cops presumably will be more watchful for guns. Says Neal Stone, chief of the campus police, "The general attitude in Oklahoma may be that firearms are part of life, but the institution does not subscribe to the Wild West behavior."
Some observers have been wondering how bad things have to get before the NCAA steps in and shuts down the Sooners' football program, but in fact, the NCAA is concerned only with breaches of its recruiting and academic rules, not with honest-to-goodness crime.