I am a believer that a forthcoming attitude and openness is the best remedy for controversy and intrigue. Though I am not a reporter, I do share and support the views of journalists who know that sunshine is the best remedy for darkness. In addition, I have a strong belief that taxpayers have a right to know what is being done with their money.
For the past week there has been little but darkness and secrecy coming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison regarding the most peculiar case involving John Chadima, the senior associate athletic director. Following what can only be viewed as a most serious situation John Chadima was placed on administrative leave late last week, and then in hours resigned his position.
The UW created an independent inquiry to ferret out the Chadima story which apparently came to light at the recent Rose Bowl. But there is legitimate concern, as voiced by State Representative Nass, about the nature of that inquiry, and its credibility.
I rarely find myself aligned with Nass but feel his reasoning to be sound when it comes to this matter. Representative Nass is correct in his desire to see that the inquiry panel does not consist of members with “strings or attachments” to the UW. Such an unbalanced panel will only undermine the long-term interests of the UW.
If there is any place at the UW that deserves the brightest of lights placed, and the most examination given, it would be the UW Athletic Department. To often it has not been examined to the degree it should since the famed plays which arouse the general public gets the attention, while the workings of the actual department gets a pass.
That attitude must change.
Now is not the time to be protecting the department, or creating an image of ‘circling the wagons”, which is how this inquiry appears to many who pay the bills for the UW. Instead this is the time the public needs to become engaged in the department itself, and hold powerful people accountable.
For that to happen the UW must opt for openness and candor.
Barry Alvarez needs to squeeze himself into a suit and tie and place himself in front of the press to honestly address some of the basic questions that are at the root of the Chadima matter. He must address the general nature of the controversy and lay open the problems inside his domain.