The “Big Ten” Conference of Midwestern US universities announced yesterday that it is canceling the entire 2013 linguistics season.
Conference Commissioner James de la Nie, speaking at a press conference in Chicago, said “we just don’t have enough eligible schools to compete this year. It doesn’t make sense to hold the competitions when we’re so depleted, and we sure don’t want to look as bad at the LSA as we have in recent years. We’ll just have the whole conference sit out the postseason this time around.”
A record eight of the conference’s twelve member schools are on some kind of probation this year, with seven barred from participating in the postseason. All of the sanctions were handed down by the powerful National Collegiate Linguistics Association (NCLA), which governs intercollegiate linguistics conferences and meetings of all types.
The most recent casualty was Indiana University, which was cited last week by the NCLA for library holdings violations.
For readers who may have lost track of the many Big Ten violations in the past few years, here is a summary of the current sanctions. All of these institutions have been penalized with reductions in scholarships, and all but Northwestern are also banned from postseason activities.
University of Illinois. Cited for combining the topics of “Universal Grammar” and “Typology” into a single graduate-
Indiana University. Cited for insufficient holdings of grammars of African languages in the university library.
University of Michigan. Cited for conducting a 2010 graduate seminar in “Language Documentation,” during which students were encouraged to print language data on small cards and file them in physical shoeboxes.
University of Minnesota. Cited for awarding PhD degrees to at least five students who had not taken any courses in morphology.
Northwestern University. Cited for allowing students in a graduate seminar in structuralist linguistics to mix levels. (Also penalized by the Big Ten Conference for having academic entrance standards so high that they make the rest of the schools look bad by comparison.)
The Ohio State University. Cited for gratuitous definite article use and for failing to block Wikipedia on department computers which were accessible to MA-level graduate students. Also cited for “poaching” grad student recruits from other Big Ten institutions.
Purdue University. Cited for failing to censure a professor who claimed in class that generative phonology is “nothing more than historical reconstruction.”
University of Wisconsin. Cited for offering a graduate-
Of the entire Big Ten Conference, only four institutions are not on any form of probation: the University of Iowa, Michigan State University, the University of Nebraska, and Penn State University. These institutions are to be commended for doing things the right way. Unless they are hiding something.