Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

Education first!, for the win

If there’s somebody who tosses out dumb stuff about college football more consistently than Matt Hayes… well, I probably need to know who it is, so I can have a new source to mock.

Hayes riffs off the notion that schools are considering reinstating freshman ineligibility, which he notes isn’t happening, to make the point that what schools are going to do is hold student-athletes accountable in ways going forward that they never have before.  Because, you know, gettin’ paid and all.

… Think about that: universities were upset because they were “paying” scholarship money, yet players weren’t playing in their freshmen seasons — so universities weren’t seeing a return on their investment.

But freshman ineligibility isn’t the point. The obvious question is, what’s next?

Where do universities set the bar, and how far do the tentacles reach? In other words, what exactly are the “multiple ideas” and how do they connect with the stated “education first” mantra?

It most certainly is education first if universities decide student athletes must maintain a 2.5 grade point average to be athletically eligible.

It most certainly is education first if universities decide student athletes must take 12 credit hours a semester (roughly four classes) — and (key point) must pass all 12 hours to be eligible the following semester (hello, One and Done).

It most certainly is education first if universities decide student athletes are immediately suspended from all team activities — including games, offseason workouts, access to weight room and training tables, etc. — for one full semester if these academic requirements are not met.

It most certainly is education first if universities decide once players are kicked off a team for behavior issues, they can’t play at another university for one full year — so they can adjust to academic life at their new institution.

BWAHAHAHA!!!  Stop it, you’re killin’ me.

You see, schools didn’t actually care about academics when the players, er, student-athletes, were mere amateurs.  But now that there’s real money involved, they’re gonna get all serious about it.  Because that will help them better realize a “return on their investment”.  Uh hunh.  I can’t wait to hear Mark Emmert sell that one in court.  Or to Nick Saban.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Media Punditry/Foibles

“All the freshmen should be redshirted.”

If you feel so strongly about this, Big Ten schools, go right ahead.  Don’t wait on the other P5 conferences.  I guarantee you’ll never sign a big time basketball recruit again, and you probably won’t do a whole lot better on the football front.

Maybe you could broadcast a freshman academics show on the Big Ten Network.  I bet the ratings would be boffo.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Big Ten Football

Five and done, with a twist

I’ve mocked one AD this morning for general dumbassery, so it only seems fair to praise another for coming up with something smart.  And this qualifies.

Man, this clicks on so many levels, I hardly know where to start.  It walks away from the stupidity of blanket freshman ineligibility and provides a brilliant incentive for high school athletes to put the effort in on their academics.

Alternatively, the five-year eligibility rule is one I think that college athletics is long past accepting.

Honestly, I can’t pick a hole in what Stricklin is suggesting.  It’s good for the coaches and it’s good for the kids.  Which means it’s got no chance, right?


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

A really futile and stupid gesture

The Pac-12 presidents have a bug up their collective butts about the NBA’s eligibility rule.  Evidently, they’ve had all they can take on one-and-done and are ready to do something about it.  Something dumb.

The item was No. 7 on a 10-point list for NCAA reform ideas that Pac-12 presidents and chancellors sent their Power Five colleagues last May.

7. Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men’s basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men’s basketball.

Several conference commissioners say it’s time to consider making freshmen — or at least some of them — ineligible, again, for the first time since the NCAA rule changed in 1972.

Let’s get past the immediate consequence of such a move – John Calipari’s business model would be completely blown up, as no very highly rated high school senior will likely enroll in college again – and look at the tangled web being weaved as these wise men try to come up with justifications that sound more noble than “we don’t like being used by the NBA”.

The opposition to freshman ineligibility would be heated — and some conference commissioners strongly oppose it already. Others believe now is the time to consider it again given court cases that could allow players to be paid, congressional scrutiny into college sports and a unionization attempt to make Northwestern football players designated as employees. A new lawsuit against the NCAA and North Carolina attacks the heart of the NCAA’s stated mission: Are enough high-profile college athletes truly being educated?

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there is “almost a uniform acknowledgment that there’s kids in college that don’t have any interest in an education and don’t have the proper education to take advantage of an education.” Bowlsby said freshman ineligibility would have a “profoundly positive effect” on football and men’s basketball by easing the transition from high school without the distractions of competition.

“I think there’s a growing interest in a robust debate, and I think we ought to drag it to the ground and consider it any way we can,” Bowlsby said. “I think it is the one change that could make an absolutely dramatic difference in college athletics.”

Oh, so now you want to talk about educating them, those “… kids in college that don’t have any interest in an education and don’t have the proper education to take advantage of an education”?  (By the way, since we’re being all brainy and academic here, shouldn’t it be “who” instead of “that”?)  How exactly does a year without sports light that fire?  (Please note that I’m not talking about a kid needing time to acclimate himself to the college life; that’s a different story and one where I can concede not playing freshman season can have an impact.)  But if a kid doesn’t care and doesn’t have the academic background coming in, how can you fix all that just by denying him sports for a season?

Keep in mind, I mention this here because while the impetus comes from the NBA rule, the rationale for the move could apply to any collegiate sport, including our favorite.

Another thing about Bowlsby’s comment here worth noting is that we’re now heading into the new era of raised NCAA high school academic standards, where kids have to have a certain amount of core curriculum studies, along with better grades and test scores, to be eligible for college athletics.  Is Bowlsby dismissing that before it’s even been tested?

And let’s not forget, as Solomon points out, there’s already something a school can do for a kid who comes in academically unprepared.

Players who meet the old academic standards — but not the new ones — can receive an academic redshirt. It’s a new version of the old partial qualifier with one important exception — the player does not lose a year of eligibility. Academic redshirts can receive a scholarship and practice with their teams but cannot compete. If they pass nine credit hours in their first semester, they can compete the next season as a redshirt freshman.

So let’s face it.  This is largely bullshit.  Although, in typical thinking from the idiots running the sport, putting limits on the kids instead of punishing institutions that are guilty of academic fraud, or putting the screws to schools who try to sound serious but are simply addressing academics with a mere wink and a nod (“Bobby Petrino gets $500,000 for getting five points above the minimum APR.”) makes more sense.  Because you don’t have to work as hard to make yourself feel better.  With the NCAA, a little hypocrisy is good for the soul.


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

“Academics are vitally important and demand just as much attention as athletics, especially in college.”

One thing about next year’s recruiting scene that isn’t getting much attention now, but I suspect will as things move on, is that 2016 marks the year when the NCAA’s new academic standards for high schoolers kick in.  And they’re a fairly big deal:

The new initial-eligibility requirements create a higher academic standard for freshman to play. That standard is higher than what will be needed to receive aid and practice, creating an academic redshirt year.

Student-athletes who achieve the current minimum initial-eligibility standard will continue to be eligible for athletically related financial aid during the first year of enrollment and practice during the first regular academic term of enrollment. Student-athletes could earn practice during the second term of enrollment by passing nine semester or eight quarter hours.

For immediate access to competition, prospective student-athletes must achieve at least a 2.3 GPA and an increased sliding scale. For example, an SAT score of 1,000 requires a 2.5 high school core-course GPA for competition and a 2.0 high school core-course GPA for aid and practice.

Prospects also must successfully complete 10 of the 16 total required core courses before the start of their senior year in high school. Seven of the 10 courses must be successfully completed in English, math and science.

The ostensible purpose is to make sure that incoming student-athletes are better prepared to handle the academic pressures of college.  Whether that works is something we’ll have to wait to judge, but even with the four-year transition period to adapt to the new requirements, I expect we’ll see a larger number of kids in the 2016 class who aren’t accepted by D-1 schools than we’ve previously seen.  Those whispers you hear about a particular kid’s grades being shaky may have more weight than ever.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, The NCAA

We’ll always have the Harricks.

So, I’m reading an interesting NYT article about whether schools should allow sports majors.  As the piece goes from weighing the pros to the cons, I hit this sentence – “A major sticking point is the illustrious history of academic fraud that long predates the University of North Carolina scandal.” – and had the sudden, depressing feeling I was about to read something I really didn’t want to be reminded of.

Sure enough,

A smattering of universities used to offer courses entitled “Varsity Basketball” or “Varsity Football,” graded on attendance. Coach Bill Snyder of Kansas State — surprise — gave nearly all his players an A, and Jim Harrick Jr. was fired as assistant basketball coach of the University of Georgia; one of the reasons was a final exam he gave to his “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball” class with multiple-choice questions like “How many points does a 3-point field goal account for?”

Thanks for cheapening my diploma, fellas.  Again.

By the way, since I’m on the “again” track here, let me repeat my deeply held belief that Michael Adams should have burned for this.  Shame on everyone who enabled him.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

Thursday morning buffet

Here you go.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Academics? Academics., Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA