Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

Today, in “academic integrity is a core value”

It’s the SEC, peeps.  If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

… Mississippi State is being placed on NCAA probation for academic misconduct by student-athletes in two sports: football and men’s basketball. This penalty results from rules violations self-reported by Mississppi State, where a part-time student tutor is alleged to have completed some on-line coursework for student-athletes in those sports.

MSU is getting slapped pretty good, but managed to avoid postseason bans in either sport, unlike what Mizzou is facing.  The difference?

While the cases have some similarities, the Missouri case involved a University staffer. This case at Mississippi State centered around a student tutor as part of a work study program.

Hairsplitting, for the win.

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But they seemed so sincere.

It looks like academic reform is the bridge too far for schools and the NCAA to cross.

The NCAA this week quietly dropped a recommended reform that would have given the association more authority to handle the kind of academic misconduct that left dozens of athletes at UNC-Chapel Hill with subpar educations.

Two NCAA panels, including one led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had called for the NCAA to reform a rule that lets member schools make the call on what constitutes academic fraud on their campuses. UNC cited that rule to escape NCAA sanctions by contending classes that never met and had provided high grades for term papers regardless of quality were legitimate.

That outcome in October 2017 drew sustained national scorn. Months later, the NCAA formed an academic integrity working group that recommended the NCAA create a bylaw that expanded its infractions committee’s reach for egregious academic misconduct cases.

But at a meeting this week, the NCAA’s board of directors for the Division I schools that include big-money conferences such as the ACC and SEC decided not to pursue the reform. That decision wasn’t included in an NCAA news release Wednesday that announced the board “seeks to shore up academic integrity rules.”

In related news, the NCAA announced it has a bridge in Brooklyn it seeks to sell.

Also, this.

Too bad this isn’t about the kids.

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LSU AD to School: Drop Dead.

When it comes to college athletics, I like to think I’m at least as cynical as the next guy, but I’ve got to say I was totally unprepared for the sheer blatancy of this:

Times are changing around LSU athletics, as with a new athletics director comes new policy.

And one new policy change under LSU’s new Athletics Director Scott Woodward will affect the university his department is connected to directly.

Under an unprecedented fund-transfer policy initiated by former LSU athletics director Joe Alleva, the LSU athletics department contributed millions of dollars to the academic institution that is LSU. Between 2012 and 2017, LSU athletics contributed nearly $50 million to the university under this policy despite the initial guarantee being just $36 million during that time.

But in an exclusive interview with Tiger Rag, Woodward said that policy will no longer continue under his watch, at least not as it has existed in recent years.

“It’s something that’s very dangerous, when universities rely on recurring money, especially from an auxiliary like the athletic department,” Woodward said. “So no, I think, while I will always support the university in some form or fashion, we can not sustain what we’re currently doing.”

Woodward confirmed his belief that it’s not the athletics department’s responsibility to bail a state school out.

Keep in mind Woodward was asked this in the context of the athletic department shelling out $28 million for its swanky new football operations center while the LSU library, which currently has flood damage among other problems, is the subject of a GoFundMe campaign.

This — an athletic director admonishing the school, which is, let’s not forget, his employer, about finances — is so far beyond a case of the tail wagging the dog that I no longer recognize the animal’s anatomy.  The saddest thing is I suspect nobody in a position of authority in the state of Louisiana will do anything about it.

Remember the old sarcastic line uttered by the president of the University of Oklahoma:  ”We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.”?  Woodward’s just taking that one step further.  LSU’s athletic director doesn’t care what kind of university his department is affiliated with, as long as it’s not a financial drag.

I’ll be curious to see if other ADs decide to march under his banner.  And if any school presidents push back.

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“I was majoring in football.”

Take that, amateurism romantics.

“The NCAA’s primary response to my first report was that students are compensated, in their opinion. They believe that scholarship is adequate compensation for all of the time students put in and all the money they make for the system,” Murphy told HuffPost. “But there are a lot of students who are in the big time college programs where schools are treating them like commodities and not giving them the education that they deserve.”

“You’re obligated at these big kinds of college sport programs to be an athlete first, second and third, and a student fourth,” Murphy said. “It’s a bit of a red herring for the NCAA to say that a scholarship is enough compensation when a lot of these kids aren’t graduating and many others aren’t getting an education that is commensurate to their peers’.”

And that.

In recent years, the organization has celebrated its progress in increasing the percentage of students who graduate, which the NCAA measures with its own metric called the Graduation Success Rate. It developed that metric in 2002 in part to account for the high rate of athletes who transfer to different schools during their collegiate careers ― an issue the federal government’s statistics are ill-equipped to measure.

But the Graduation Success Rate, Murphy said, inflates schools’ success because it credits them when an athlete transfers in good academic standing — but sometimes fails to track them to their next school. From 2006 to 2009, Murphy said in the report, more than 23,000 athletes transferred while in good standing (and, as a result, were excluded from graduation rates). But the NCAA only accounted for the roughly 8,000 of those students who went on to enroll in different schools — so 15,000 individuals, the report states, “went missing,” meaning they dropped out or didn’t return as athletes and are thus unaccounted for.

“These athletes did not graduate, but the numbers account for them as if they did — painting an inflated picture of academic success,” the report says.

“The way that the federal government traditionally measures graduation rates, schools are held accountable for those who drop out,” Murphy said. “But [the NCAA] has rigged their own measure of graduation, so that if a kid potentially drops out of the program, nobody’s responsible for that kid. And that’s not measured in the dozens. As we showed in this report, there are thousands of kids who have dropped out of school who were playing sports, but weren’t counted when it comes to graduation rates.”

And that.

Even if they graduate, athletes often receive inadequate educations, the report argues, citing testimony from multiple former athletes. Athletes, the former players said, are sometimes forced into classes they don’t want to take and majors they don’t want to do, advisers often do their schoolwork for them, and their education often takes a backseat to their true purpose on campus: to play sports.

“The whole time … I felt stuck — stuck in football, stuck in my major,” Stephen Cline, a former defensive lineman for Kansas State University, said in the report. Cline, according to the report, wanted to become a veterinarian but was pushed into a “less demanding major” so he could concentrate on football. “Now I look back and say, ‘Well what did I really go to college for?’ Crap classes you won’t use the rest of your life? I was majoring in football.”

Sounds like a fabulous deal to me.  After all, a shitty education is better than no education at all, amirite?

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Bullshit just means more.

The logical contortions employed by the author of this article about LSU’s new football facility and the reactions thereto are certainly cringeworthy.  But then, he’s just following in the path of the AD:

LSU’s goal, as new athletic director Scott Woodward said, should be to be top notch in physics and football. Perhaps a facility like this will help LSU be better at both. Athletics should be the front porch of a university, attracting high-quality students and funding, not the other way round.

Yes, I’m sure the day funding to attract a quantum physics professor after discovering the football players have easy access to sleeping pods is just around the corner.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Blowing Smoke, SEC Football

Today, in doing it for the kids

The NCAA suspended DePaul’s men’s basketball head coach for this:

In 2016, the associate head coach instructed the assistant operations director to travel out of state and live with the team prospect, who was a top recruit who had already graduated high school but had not met the NCAA’s academic requirements.

DePaul had aggressively wooed the recruit, who in April 2016 signed a letter of intent to play for the university. But the associate head coach was worried the prospect wouldn’t complete the online course work that was necessary for him to be eligible to play. The recruit needed to complete 16 to 20 assignments, as well as prepare for midterms and final exams in a single month, but around the time he signed his letter, he had only finished one or two of the assignments. He also had “several distractions” around the house that reduced his productivity, the NCAA report states.

The assistant operations director lived with the recruit for nearly two weeks, limiting his extracurricular activities and making sure he finished his assignments.

Note that he didn’t do the kid’s work.  He just stayed on top of things and made sure the kid did the work.  In other words, exactly would have happened once the kid was already enrolled at DePaul, in order to maintain eligibility.  Or, if the kid’s parents had the resources to hire a tutor, exactly what would have happened in that setting.  Neither of which would have run afoul of the NCAA.

And when I say afoul, I mean afoul.  In addition to Leitao’s suspension, here’s the rest of what the NCAA dished out:

… the former associate head coach was slapped with a three-year show-cause order, which essentially makes him unemployable with an NCAA member institution. The games in which the recruit played will be vacated and not be considered part of the team’s record. University officials said they will make public at a later date the number of games affected.

The NCAA also levied a $5,000 fine, plus 1 percent of the men’s basketball program budget on the university. DePaul had already self-imposed recruiting-related sanctions, eliminating six men’s basketball recruiting days in the 2017-18 academic year and six more in April. Institutions are only allowed a certain number of days to recruit athletes.

All for making sure a high-schooler buckled down on his academics.  Nice to see they’ve got their priorities straight.

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Representin’

While I’m not surprised to see this, it’s still a little sad.

That’s entertainment.

Maybe SEC schools could use some of that sweet, sweet profit their athletic departments are generating to rectify that, but I’m guessing nah.

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