Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

I got ‘yer bubble right here.

North Carolina, saying the quiet part out loud:

While the campus spikes are disconcerting, North Carolina has possibly paved a path to the most logical plan for universities seeking to compete in fall 2020: play and train on a campus without students.

Once thought of as impossible months ago—even some conference commissioners denouncing it—UNC football players are continuing on-campus preparations for the 2020 season while students are attending digital classes, many of them back home. During a news conference on Tuesday, coach Mack Brown even acknowledged the advantage of a campus without in-person classes. Most UNC football players were already enrolled in online-only classes, but now with students not bustling about, the bubble enveloping the Tar Heels has a better shot of remaining intact. “It helps us create a better seal and a better bubble around our program,” Brown said. “The NBA (bubble) model is working. They’ve had very few distractions.”

College leaders have taken notice of the happenings in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have, maybe accidentally, acquired what many around college athletics believe is the only sure way to have a season. They’ve got themselves a real, live college bubble—the envy of the rest of the nation.

“What they’ve done is created a bubble,” says one athletic director whose team is still planning to play this fall. “If there is a positive, some of their coaches are probably like, ‘Thank you!’”

Let’s be honest here.  If the goal is, first and foremost, to protect college athletes, based on what we know presently, isolating them away from the general student body is the most prudent course of action.

Problem is, that’s not the most prudent course of action if the goal is, first and foremost, to protect college athletics’ business model.

Proponents of the plan view it as a harmless measure to potentially save an industry from financial ruin. Detractors see it as another example of big-money college executives treating athletes differently than they do regular students, more proof that football players should get a cut of the NCAA’s monetary pie. In the meantime, this is all unfolding during a pivotal time. NCAA leaders are clinging to the last vestiges of their amateur model in a fight on Capitol Hill over athlete compensation, encouraging Congress to pass a federal NIL bill that includes a host of player restrictions.

Ellen Zavian, a former NFL agent who is now a law professor at George Washington, believes the NCAA’s decades-old argument in legal fights—we treat student-athletes the same as students—will fall apart with schools sponsoring on-campus athletics with no in-person classes. “You ever hear the saying, ‘Your actions are so deafening that I can’t hear what you’re saying?’” says Zavian. “This will be used to say that schools are treating athletes like essential employees and they should be getting hazard pay.”

For this reason and others, college athletics officials and medical experts have spent most of the summer detailing the impracticality of a college bubble. It’s virtually implausible, they say. “You can’t bubble college athletes or cocoon them away like the (pros),” says Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician who sits on the NCAA COVID-19 advisory panel. It’s an easier endeavor to sequester paid athletes for months as opposed to unpaid amateurs, who exist in college campuses in the middle of college towns, both teaming with temptations…

Plus, optics.

But above all, a bubble is implausible in college for one reason. “When the students all come back to campus, there is no bubble, because they’ve got to go to class,” a team doctor told SI this summer. “If we’re going to move forward and say they are student-athletes, then they’ve got to go to class.”

But what if there are no in-person classes?

I’d like to see Mark Emmert try that move in his next testimony before Congress.


Filed under Academics? Academics., It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, The NCAA

The cartel takes another L.

The NCAA is probably sphinctering up today.

Screenshot_2020-08-05 Steve Berkowitz ( ByBerkowitz) Twitter

In practical terms, what does that mean?

Screenshot_2020-08-05 Roger Pielke Jr on Twitter The potential importance of the Alston case for college athletes via danie[...](1)

With the NCAA out of the picture, it’ll be up to each conference to set its own rules about education-related compensation.  Competition, in other words.

The NCAA is going to appeal, which means it’s taking the position that college athletes should be denied this opportunity.  Nice optics, guys.


UPDATE:  Get a load of this horseshit.

Screenshot_2020-08-05 Home Twitter


Filed under Academics? Academics., See You In Court, The NCAA


Some people don’t appreciate the concept of an athletic department being part of the academic experience.

The union representing professors at Rutgers is suing the university over a $100 million transfer to the athletics department. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The union is not suing to stop the transfer — that’s already been done. Rather, the union wants the university to disclose details and documents related its financial support of the Scarlet Knights’ athletics department. The union says the school has not responded to open records requests.

“The amounts are just staggering,” said Rutgers associate professor and chair of the union’s budget committee Andrew Goldstone. “We’ve known for years about the subsidy to athletics that comes out of student fees and general appropriations from the university. That makes less and less sense in the era of COVID, when the athletics program will have an even harder time getting to the break-even point.

“But then there’s this loan book, which they call ‘internal debt,’ that ballooned from $45.4 million to $121.5 million in a single year. And the university refuses to release any information about it: where the money came from, whether there’s an interest rate, when it will be repaid, if it will ever be repaid, and, above all, what on earth they’re spending $76 million on.”

Why so glum, chum?

The university has laid off 20 percent of its adjunct faculty, applied furloughs to some remaining faculty and has declared a fiscal emergency in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Yeah, that would do it.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Big Ten Football

Pretzel logic


First thought:

Second thought:  along those lines, I’m trying to understand the logic of thinking “it’s not safe for students to come back to campus after a week at home” and also thinking “… unless they’re football players”.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

In loco parentis

As a mom or dad of a college student, nothing would reassure me more than knowing **checks notes** college presidents tell Vice President Pence that being shielded from lawsuits if students get sick would make them likelier to physically reopen their campuses.


Filed under Academics? Academics.

But muh calculus

Don’t want a tough academic experience?  At Georgia Tech, you can do that!

Killer re-branding, fellas.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Tech Football

Jim Harbaugh’s open letter

I suspect a lot of you are going to like this.


Two problems:  one, it requires the cooperation of the NFL, which is probably a non-starter.  Second, it makes way too much sense for the NCAA to accept.

Other than that, it’s perfect.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

The new normal

Hey, it’s a perfectly innocent question.

A Power Five athletic director, who was granted anonymity, is adamant that a football season could be played without the general student body on campus.

“Why can’t you play football on campuses that are closed?” the athletic director asked.

By the time this is all over, these guys are going to be so twisted in knots trying to defend what’s left of the academic experience for college athletes, their bones will snap.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

Summer time, and the attending is easy.


“Fluid” is something of an understatement.  We’ll see.


UPDATE:  ‘Bama ain’t lettin’ Georgia jump the gun, no sirree.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

TFW academics are academic

So much for integrating into campus life.

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.


Filed under Academics? Academics.