Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

They’ll decide when you’ve paid your dues, kid.

While I’m on my righteous indignation kick this morning – gee, it’s great to be back from vacation – tell me who comes off better in this exchange:

Akeel Lynch went from starter to backup at Penn State last season as freshman Saquon Barkley emerged as one of the best running backs in the country.

Facing the prospect of spending most of his final season of college eligibility on the sideline, Lynch decided to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer and be immediately eligible to play.

“I felt like I served my time at Penn State. I helped them get through the sanctions. I realized that my football skills weren’t needed at Penn State and Nevada was one of those schools where I could use my skills,” said Lynch, who has been accepted to the Reno school’s master’s in educational leadership program…

“I just think it’s got a lot of phoniness to it,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is also the chairman of the NCAA’s football oversight committee. “If it’s about going out and employing a hired gun to come in and be a player, then that’s one set of discussions. If it’s really about continuing to pursue education, the statistics indicate that’s not happening.”

Bowlsby, of course, is the guy who leads the conference that initially voted to deny a year of eligibility to a walk-on who transferred, then voted again to leave that rule in place, until finally, after realizing how bad the optics looked, voted one more time and changed the rule, albeit with a twist.

… Instead of allowing all walk-ons to transfer regardless, the reps amended the original proposal, allowing only walk-ons without written scholarship offers from their original schools to transfer without losing a season of eligibility. If the walk-on elected to transfer after being offered a scholarship from the original school, then the player would face the league’s same eligibility restrictions that apply to scholarship players.

That’s mighty decent of them.  And even with that, there were still three no votes.  Why?  “The opposition to the first proposal was centered on concern that without any restrictions, schools within the Big 12 would begin to recruit one another’s walk-ons with the promise of scholarships.”

Gee, Bob, I must have missed all the hand-wringing over continuing to pursue education there.  Evidently, kids shopping for better opportunities for themselves is anti-academics.  If, by academics, you mean control, that is.  Just ask James Franklin.

“I think the thing that’s probably concerning to administrators, commissioners, school presidents is: What are we doing?” Franklin said. “Are we truly offering another educational opportunity somewhere else or is this strictly a football decision?”

Notice how nobody seems concerned about whether the student-athletes are concerned.  Nor is anyone accusing coaches who object to such transfers of making strictly football decisions.

Which brings us to the noble defender of all things good in college football, Greg Sankey.

In the Southeastern Conference, if a graduate transfer does not complete the graduate program, the player’s school cannot enroll another athlete under the exception for three years.

“That is a way to say to our universities, ‘Bring people in at the graduate level who are serious about going to school,'” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

If “serious about going to school” is the measure of all things student-athletes, there ought to be a lot more docking going on than just for your graduate player transfers, big guy.  I’m not sure how many SEC programs could field men’s basketball teams if Sankey were serious.

But that’s the great thing about being a college sports administrator.  You can utter all kinds of bullshit and never get seriously called on it.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

Coach knows best.

The Pac-12 announced its concerns about time demands on student-athletes yesterday, and while the cynic in me was ready to brush those aside as same old, same old (and even so, let’s not forget it’s just talk at this point), I was genuinely surprised to see the conference make this admission:

In that same vein, based on the conversations that Scott and his staff had with athletes, the Pac-12 report included a set of “important learnings applicable to future development of rules and policies on time demands.” Some of those are unsparing.

The conference acknowledges: “Academic sacrifices are being made. It is not uncommon for student-athletes to be forced to change their majors due to practice and competition schedules, either because they cannot schedule the classes and other requirements they need, or they cannot keep up with their academic demands due to their sport’s time demands. Student-athletes are also discouraged from taking certain majors from the outset due to their athletic demands. …”

“Many athletes told stories of changing majors, sometimes well into their academic careers, and not being able to graduate on time due to their sport’s time demands.”

Boy, I bet there are some irritated coaches this morning.  Doesn’t Larry Scott understand the way the real world works?

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Pac-12 Football

Don’t close the book on the 2016 class just yet.

It may be on the verge of adding another member.

Brian Herrien reached his goal line.

According to school officials at New Manchester High School, the unrated 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back prospect will be able to qualify and enroll at UGA. The  achievement goes far deeper than becoming the first SEC recruit from the five-year-old high school.

Herrien entered his final semester believing he needed to get all As in his three remaining core courses and achieve a 16 on his ACT in order to qualify.  He did more than that in recording an 18 on his most recent ACT attempt. That gave him some wiggle room in order to qualify to sign at UGA for its Class of 2016. He only had to make all As and Bs in the spring semester.

What’s next? A big day tomorrow in Athens.

“We found out at some time yesterday that he became academically eligible to sign a D-1 scholarship and he is going to Athens tomorrow to meet with coach (Kirby) Smart and some of the other coaches at the University of Georgia,” just-retired New Manchester coach Rob Cleveland told DawgNation. “Unless something unforeseen happens he will sign a full scholarship with the University of Georgia tomorrow. They are going to go over that transcript one final time. I have been told he is going to get offered tomorrow and he is going to sign tomorrow.”

Herrien had a lot of work to do to reach his goal.  A whole lot…

He told DawgNation in March he had a 2.16 grade-point average at this time. If he gets all A’s this semester, he would qualify with a 2.5 average. He made one “B” last semester. He had to finish this semester out with a 4.0 GPA if he made that 16, but the 18 made qualification on the NCAA’s sliding scale a little less taxing.

To ensure his marks moved those few points north, Herrien arrived at school an hour earlier than his peers. He does all his extra work and any needed assignments, adds tutoring after school and then goes home to study.

The senior started waking up at 5 a.m. every morning in late March to study for his ACT and take practice exams online. Herrien told DawgNation in March that “he wanted this more than anything” and left no doubt that he would 100 percent sign with UGA once he qualified.

As much as making the grades is a testament to the kid’s work ethic, it’s also a testament to the impact of the new NCAA academic requirements.  High schoolers had best wake up to the reality of that if they want to play college ball.  Herrien cut it almost too close for comfort.

“I don’t think Brian understood how extremely important his grades were early on in his high school career for the academic side of this scholarship,” Cleveland said. “But I think once Brian saw the possibilities he had with football, he was able to overcome the hole he had gotten in. He’s been perfectly capable of qualifying the entire time. He’s an intelligent young man. I just think he was lazy in the classroom early on and he had to work hard in his junior and senior year to catch up. Luckily for him and the University of Georgia he was able to do that.”

Left hanging is the final step in the process.

It is very important at this time to state the grades are in and they are known, but they won’t become official until his final transcript prints from the school district office on Monday morning. That final transcript will then be sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse for approval.

That last sentence always makes me a little nervous in late blooming cases like this.  I hope for the kid’s sake his effort is rewarded.  Oh, yeah, and it’s not like Georgia can’t use his talents.  Best of luck to both.

 

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

Degree integrity

When “just win, baby” and the NCAA’s seeming inability to come to grips with academic fraud come together, the results ain’t pretty.

Fortunately for North Carolina athletics, being put on probation by the regional accrediting agency charged with approving North Carolina’s academic credentials doesn’t affect the school’s eligibility to compete.  Which is more than you can say for student-athletes who get put on academic probation.  As for worrying about the status of those degrees, kids, how ’bout that basketball team, eh?

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Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

“The next step might be that we have a more formal passing of athletics now.”

Shorter University of Iowa president:  That TV money’s lookin’ mighty tasty there, sport.

(h/t)

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Filed under Academics? Academics., It's Just Bidness

“We don’t want to talk them out of their dreams; we just want to give them some reality, too.”

You know, there’s much to criticize about how schools blow smoke about how college athletics is merely an extension of their academic mission, so pointing out the hypocrisies embedded in the current arrangement is justified.  But it seems to me some of the anger coming out of this study is misplaced.

Young black men playing basketball and football for the country’s top college teams are graduating at lower rates than black male students at the same schools — despite having financial and academic support that removes common hurdles preventing many undergraduates from earning degrees, a new report has found.

While 58 percent of black male undergraduates at the 65 schools in the Power 5 conferences got degrees within six years, 54 percent of black male student-athletes at the same schools graduated, according to an analysis of the 2014-15 academic year by University of Pennsylvania researcher Shaun Harper.

Harper said the graduation gap represents a wide and systemic issue worse than isolated scandals seen on individual campuses.

“It happens just about everywhere,” said Harper, director of Penn’s Center for Race and Equity in Education. “Generations of young black men and their parents and families are repeatedly duped by a system that lies to them about what their life chances are and what their athletic outcomes are likely to be.”

You’re starting with the wrong system, man.  Start with high schools that are woefully resourced for the purpose of preparing these kids for college.  And as far as their parents and families go, well, they don’t have the excuse of youthful inexperience to fall back on.  So why aren’t they doing more proactively before their children are misled?

That being said, I don’t disagree with this:

“When coaches are looking for the best athletic talent, that’s what they’re looking for,” Harper said. “They’re not really concerned with academic talent.”

And why should they be, when the system doesn’t incentivize them to do so?  But if that’s not where their focus lies, who’s there to see to it that the schools’ proclaimed devotion to the academic life aren’t just empty words?

One thing I do give the NCAA credit for was its decision to stiffen core eligibility standards in high school curriculum.  But those are new and we won’t see their effect for a few years.  In the meantime, more finger pointing is in order, I suppose.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Life After Football

Beyond chutzpah: Michael Adams on academic fraud

The man who brought Jim Harrick and Son to Athens doesn’t have an everyday set of brass balls – nah, they’re brass balls with lead centers.  Damned heavy suckers, if you get my drift.

BRAD WOLVERTON: So you’ve seen this rash of cases involving academic misconduct recently. You had Syracuse, you’ve got UNC under investigation. Not to comment on anyone in particular, but what do you think has contributed to that? Some people say it’s actually the tougher standards on the front end.

MICHAEL ADAMS: Well, those people and I would disagree. I think there are two things that are compelling to me. When I was chair of the executive committee of the NCAA in some of the last years of the late Myles Brand, who was a very close friend of mine, we put a lot of money into enforcement. I think that was a smart thing. So I think, on one hand, some of the cases that are coming forward now are because the NCAA is doing a better job investigation-wise and sort of ferreting out what’s going on. And then secondly, I think there are some coaches out there unfortunately — I’ve met some of them — who’ve decided that their way to success was to cheat. And I think without having deep animus toward them, which is sometimes hard, I do think the message has to be sent to them that the cost of cheating in the NCAA is not worth it. And I think until that messages is internalized, we may have some more cases like this.

Nary a word about administrative accountability there.  Although at least he admits he’s met cheating coaches before, so he’s not as if he’s living in total denial.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World