Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

“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.


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.


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

Too much progress isn’t a good thing.

Give the NCAA credit for finding a way to discourage graduate transfers in the name of accountability for the academic progress of athletes.

Some opponents contend grad transfers should be rewarded for earning a degree early and that the NCAA should not interfere with the current system.

Gosh.  Isn’t virtue it’s own reward?


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Game changer on the Flats

Georgia Tech just announced a four-year bachelor of science program in music technology.  Needless to say, the folks at StingTalk are speculating about the recruiting possibilities.

But this is Georgia Tech we’re talking about.  This is the face of the guy behind the new program.


Sure, the genius could make this work.


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

Bob Bowlsby pitches an idea whose time hasn’t come.

Really, what could go wrong with this?

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has spent lots of time recently talking and thinking about what he calls an “upside down” NCAA academic model.

Instead of only penalizing negative behavior, Bowlsby believes there needs to be incentives to reward positive academic behavior. He said there should be competitive advantages for schools that graduate more players than others as opposed to only providing penalties — such as postseason bans — to schools with low Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores.

Lately, there’s very preliminary chatter within college sports of one way to do this: Roll back the clock and eliminate NCAA initial eligibility standards. Schools could accept whatever athletes they want academically but with graduation rates tied to scholarships as an incentive to enroll students who can play sports and graduate.

“The advantage would be the NCAA wouldn’t be viewed as the ogre in Indianapolis that keeps kids from having the opportunity to be eligible,” said Bowlsby, who stressed he doesn’t support the idea at this time. “Put it back on the schools, and maybe you tie initial scholarships to graduation rates. If your undergraduate population graduates at 70 percent and your athletic population graduates at 45, you don’t get to replace scholarships until you get to the place where you meet what the rest of the school does. There’s a lot of ways you could incentivize.”

Yeah, let’s leave it up to the schools!  Give them an incentive to rig APR numbers, and while you’re at it, de-incentivize high schools from making sure kids are taking core classes – the one intelligent thing the NCAA has passed in the area of academics this decade.

Geez, Bob, you sure seem to have put a lot of thought into a proposal you don’t support.


Filed under Academics? Academics.

Benign neglect

The University of Texas took a little heat over player academics, and, to his credit, its president decided to commission a study.

A seven-month investigation into the University of Texas at Austin’s student services for athletes has found no evidence of academic misconduct but offered recommendations for improvement.

The university’s president, Gregory L. Fenves, commissioned the investigation following an investigation by The Chronicle last summer that found the university had appeared to allow academically unprepared players to test the limits of its policy on academic integrity.

The report didn’t find any outright fraud or misconduct, but what it did find was pernicious enough and something you’d expect is fairly widespread in college athletics.

The 49-page report does point out that a majority of the university’s football, baseball, and men’s and women’s basketball players — and more than 70 percent of its African-American athletes — were majoring in education. The report encouraged the university to examine why that was happening and to encourage athletes to select a broader range of majors, along with a handful of other recommendations.

How does something like that happen?  Well, like this.

Sure, it can be alleviated.  Assuming the people in the athletic department want it to be alleviated, that is.  Funny how that works.

It’s nice to know “… the National Collegiate Athletic Association was no longer investigating the matter.”  The NCAA is more focused on the Big 12 being able to have a championship game right now, anyway.


Filed under Academics? Academics.

Because, in the end, it was all about academics.

The NCAA and another day of making it up as they go along.

Next up, it’s either ask the NCAA for a waiver of the 20-hour rule, or just get the school to change its academic schedule.  As long as it’s for the good of the kids, you know…


Filed under Academics? Academics., BCS/Playoffs, The NCAA