Over the past few years, the Yahoo! Sports investigative team have earned a reputation as Angels of Death for sports programs at various academic institutions. Their reports on abuses at USC, Kansas, UNC, Ohio State and Oregon have shaken all of collegiate athletics. Where their reporting has gone NCAA investigators have followed and, shortly after, the COI brought up the rear bringing wrath, suffering and a plenitude of vacated wins.
With that kind of track record more than a few sports fans have been somewhat on edge since Charles Robinson, one of Yahoo! Sports investigative reporters, went on record last March promising a blockbuster story on a school that would rank a 10 on a 1-10 scale with OSU's recent woes coming in at an eight. The only other detail divulged was that the story would appear sometime late summer.
Since then rumors have appeared each week promising what institution will be staring down the barrel of the journalistic 12-gauge. At long last, we at Roll Bama Roll have laid our hands on a copy of the story and discovered what school will come under the heartless scrutiny of this investigative team. That unfortunate institution will be...
LONDON - The preeminent institution in the world for the training of witchraft and wizards, Hogwarts, has for years participated in egregious actions surrounding the school's annual quidditch tournament, a two-year Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.
The inquiry has uncovered a long standing pattern of improper activities that include underhanded recruitment of players, rampant abuses by boosters to support their house squads and the use of tutors to ensure standout players would take the pitch on gameday. Worse, the school's own faculty not only permitted but participated in the misconduct.
The popularity of quidditch at Hogwarts led to the supporters of each house team to act with almost complete impunity to attract the best players and provide them with whatever advantage necessary for victories on the pitch.
Much of the Yahoo! Sports investigation surrounds the tenure of the now-deceased headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, and his star pupil and standout seeker for the Gryffindor team, Harry Potter.
Prior to Potter's arrival, Gryffindor had endured a period of unprecedented mediocrity on the quidditch pitch. Even with the efforts of the exemplary seeker, Charlie Weasley, the team had been bested by arch-rival Slytherin for a seven-year stretch. After Potter began playing the team captured no less than three cups in each of the years the tournament was held during his time at the school.
Upon his arrival at Hogwarts, Potter was certainly considered a likely star given the skills of his father, James Potter, who was a gifted chaser and Gryffindor team captain. Potter was accompanied to the school by another first year student Ron Weasley, who was also expected to be a strong talent due to the success of his older brother, Charlie Weasley, on the Gryffindor squad. In fact, five of the seven Wesley siblings played for the house team.
Questions have arisen over Potter's selection to the Gryffindor house with allegations that the sorting hat was tampered with in some manner to ensure he would not be assigned to Slytherin. No concrete evidence has ever emerged to back these claims yet his importance to the Gryffindor team became apparent with his absence in the final game against the eventual champion Ravenclaw that season. Gryffindor's final tally in that contest marked the house's most lopsided losing score in three centuries.
From the start, evidence of improper treatment in regards to Potter by the Hogwarts administration became apparent. As a first year student Potter was allowed to not only possess a broomstick in violation of school regulations, the Hogwarts professor in charge of the Gryffindor house personally removed Potter from a class to present him for the tryouts for the team.
That professor, Minerva McGonagall, was an alumnus of Gryffindor and a devoted fan of the house's quidditch team. Despite her administrative position as deputy headmaster of the school, she has been directly connected to numerous ethical violations in her support of the squad. In Potter's first year on the team she personally presented him with an expensive, top-of-the-line Nimbus 2000 broomstick for competition. That action triggered a spending war between the boosters of Gryffindor and Slytherin.
During Potter's second year, former members of Slytherin outfitted their house team with Nimbus 2001 broomsticks to match Potter's earlier model. The following season a Gryffindor booster purchased a state-of-the-art Firebolt broomstick to overcome the Slytherin advantage. No inquiry was ever made by either the school or ministry officials into the suitability of the gifts to the student/athletes.
Even worse, the school's emphasis on academics reached a precariously low point in this period as Potter and Weasley were matched with an academically gifted student who privately tutored them and, on many occasions, performed their schoolwork for them in order to help the quidditch players maintain sufficient grades to continue their participation on the field.
The student even went so far as to sit with the duo in every class to help them with their studies. Her importance to their academic standing was abundantly clear since both Potter and Weasley's grades in those courses taken without her were significantly lower if not outright failing the course in question.
In addition, Potter and Weasley were regularly directed to sham classes that would ensure they would have good enough grades to continue playing quidditch. Two professors of the school Rubeus Hagrid and Sybill Trelawney were notorious for giving good marks to favored students and repeatedly placed on probation for their questionable teaching practices.
Potter's experiences with injuries also demonstrate the school's indifference to the well-being of its students when it came to the game. Over the course of his career at Hogwarts he was hospitalized no less than three times for injuries received during a match, at least two of which required medical attention on the field of play.
Despite surviving injuries that included a fifty-foot fall during one match and at least one major concussion, Potter was regularly returned to the lineup for practices and games.
Within the student body the permissive attitude toward the game was not only permitted but encouraged. Betting on the outcomes of the game was rampant throughout the school with House prefects participating and, possibly, organizing the wagering. Efforts by the students at sabotaging other teams ranged from mischievous pranks to incidents that imperiled the lives of the players and many fellow students.
In addition to an upsurge in questionable tactics on the part of the Gryffindor team during Potter's time as a player, incidences of interference by spectators was particularly noticeable as well. In one match during Potter's first year, no less than two professors with the school were found to be casting spells against players. The outcome of the game prompted spectators to actually set the stands on fire.
The permissive attitude by Hogwart's headmaster Dumbledore toward the excesses swirling about the game and his leniency in the rules as they applied to his former house was partially abetted by the almost nonexistent oversight by the Department of Magical Games and Sports headed at the time by Ludovic "Ludo" Bagman.
Bagman was well known for not only permitting wagering in sports under his ministry's perview but often took part in such transactions while in his capacity as minister. On at least one occasion, Bagman involved himself in substantial bets with minors on the outcome of high-profile matches.
Although Bagman was removed as Minister while Potter was in school at Hogwarts, the questions surrounding the school's handling of the the star seeker's standing as a student/athlete persisted.
At one point an effort to reform the game and the infractions involving Potter was made by Dolores Umbridge, then-High Inquisitor of Hogwarts. After a display of violence by Potter and two of the Weasley brothers, Umbridge confiscated their broomsticks and banned the trio from the game for life. When Dumbledore was returned as headmaster, the penalties were overturned and Gryffindor's invaluable seeker was allowed to resume playing.
A later informal inquiry by senior Ministry officials that included a interview with Potter himself led to no formal findings against him, Dumbledore or the school. Still, Potter told the ministry interrogator he was "Dumbledore's man" and remained completely unapologetic about his actions at the school.