Burrow, who will be a top pick in the NFL draft in the spring, didn’t go to LSU for the college experience. He already had that at Ohio State, where he earned his undergraduate degree in three years. With Dwayne Haskins Jr. likely to start at quarterback in the 2018 season, Burrow opted to take his two remaining years of eligibility elsewhere.
Burrow, who was awarded a master’s degree in liberal arts on Friday, acknowledged his laser focus on football in Baton Rouge kept him sequestered. That’s why he decided to spend a few minutes celebrating with fans post game at Tiger Stadium last month.
“I don’t go to class. I take online classes so I don’t get to see any of those people,” he said. “And I kind of just wanted to see them for the first time and just thank them.”
Justin Fields isn’t even doing that much at Ohio State.
Justin Fields rarely has to step inside an Ohio State classroom building because he also does most of his school work online to accommodate his grueling football schedule.
Fields, a sophomore and the Buckeyes’ Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback, said online classes allow him to split his time between studying at home or relaxing with Netflix and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where besides football facilities there is a new lavish lounge for players that offers made-to-order meals, massage chairs, video games on big screens and a cryogenic chamber.
“Usually the assignments are all due in the same day, so that makes it easier for me,” said Fields, who transferred from Georgia last January.
I don’t really blame the kids. They didn’t make the world they operate in; the people running college athletics — you know, the ones who piously proclaim it’s all about the academic experience — did.
Online classes are a fact of modern college life. For football players with immense demands on their time nearly year round, working online helps them fit school in when it’s convenient — especially during travel for road games — and to avoid having to mix it up with a bunch of other students clamoring for a selfie for their Instagram. The arrangement also allows them, if they choose, to spend most of their waking hours around teammates and others associated with the football program.
… Of the 46 Power Five conference schools that responded to an AP survey, 27 have no limits on how many online courses athletes may take. A dozen others have few online course offerings or limit how many athletes may take. Just six have no online offerings or prohibit athletes from taking them, including private schools Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Southern California, Texas Christian and Notre Dame. Michigan is the only public school among the Power Five conferences that doesn’t offer online learning.
It’s not worth the effort to be outraged, in other words. These kids have a job to do and the main purpose of academics is to keep them eligible by any means necessary.