Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

Save us, Obi Wan SCOTUS. You’re our only hope.

Former head of the NCAA openly pleads for the US Supreme Court to grant the NCAA an antitrust exemption in order to “limit financial influence on student athletes, whom he believes should prioritize their education.”

Maybe he’s got a point.  It’s not like the schools are going to prioritize their education.

He goes on to say,

“There are a number of schools that pay $30 million to $40 million a year in amortization of the facilities that they have built,” he explained. “We have become so obsessed with the money aspect of overbuilding costs and inflated salaries, it has become very difficult to control.”

California’s new law will only complicate the situation further: It basically turns student athletes “into professionals,” Dempsey said. “We would certainly need a new description of amateurism.”

I’d like to say you can’t make that shit up, but the NCAA pumps it out by the barrel.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Political Wankery, The NCAA

Scenes from inside the sausage factory

One of my favorite side diversions in our regular debates on amateurism is the desire expressed by some of you that one day, the NCAA and its member schools will wake up and once again embrace the purity of the academic mission, returning college athletics to their intended pristine state.

To which I say:  Not. Gonna. Happen.

Newly released NCAA records show a Pac-12 president came up with a way to help the NCAA catch schools who fraudulently help student athletes stay eligible and avoid complaints of NCAA enforcement overreach.

But his proposal failed after an NCAA committee found little support from athletic conferences.

University of Oregon President Michael Schill made the proposal for a panel of university presidents who are not serving on NCAA committees to identify egregious academic fraud. He said having a panel of academics making that decision would address long-standing opposition member schools have had toward letting NCAA officials determining what constitutes academic fraud. NCAA rules currently leave that decision to the members.

But Schill’s proposal didn’t survive. It was dropped despite two special NCAA committees’ recommendations in the wake of the UNC-Chapel Hill academic-athletic scandal that the association step up policing of academic fraud in egregious cases.

Bad for business, peeps, bad for business.  But you keep dreaming…

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“Tech can’t out-brag us on any of that.”

One of the best owns in this state this century is Georgia expanding its engineering offerings.

It wasn’t until 2012 that UGA decided to jump in with both feet and make engineering a truly interdisciplinary undergraduate program. Since then, the university has been pouring money into the College of Engineering.

It’s not that Georgia is going to overtake Georgia Tech as the state’s premier engineering school.  It’s that it’s turned out to be an effective way of undercutting the bullshit academic argument Tech pushes as to why it can’t draw the same quality of athletes that wind up in Athens.  Not to mention that, for those few out there wanting to pursue an engineering degree, they’ve now got a legitimate set of options.

Hey, don’t take my word for it.  Check out the reaction at StingTalk.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

A pay for play buffet

A few morsels rounded up for your reading pleasure:

  • A reminder about the value of that free education the NCAA touts:  “According to 2018 report from USC’s Race and Equity Center, just 55% of black athletes from the Power Five conferences, which include college sports’ most profitable programs, graduate in six years as compared to 69.3% of all student-athletes.”
  • This is a detailed breakdown of how we got to California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, as well as what we might expect to see if there’s a court challenge (assuming it passes, of course).
  • Scratch Mike Leach on the subject of paying players and he sounds a lot more like Dabo than Mike Leach.
  • For those of you who don’t get how antitrust law and cartels work, remember that you don’t have to buy tuna fish.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Mike Leach. Yar!, Political Wankery, See You In Court, The NCAA

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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Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football, The NCAA

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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Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football