Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

“I can understand that if I were a coach, I would think I know the athletes best.”

This Chronicle of Higher Education piece asks an interesting question: “Who Should Oversee Athletes’ Academic Progress?”

Ohio is one in a long line of colleges that have built facilities dedicated solely to providing academic support for athletes. But a group of faculty members is asking that those services be put under the control of an academic unit such as the provost’s office rather than the athletics department. They worry that the current system might cheat athletes out of a top-notch education and could invite scandal.

To me, there would appear to be obvious conflicts of interest in putting a coaching staff in charge of players’ academics.  One is the obvious matter of maintaining academic eligibility.  The other is the fair number of coaching contracts that contain bonuses for meeting certain APR thresholds.

I’m particularly curious to hear from those of you who’ve long argued that academics should be the guiding standard for admissions.  Do you feel the same way about this issue?



Filed under Academics? Academics.

Graduate transfer’s poster boy

I posted the other day about the Miami quarterback whose desire to transfer to another program as a graduate was being blocked to a significant extent by the school, i.e., Mark Richt and the athletic director.

It turns out the blockage is more cringeworthy than you might expect.  In fact, I’m not sure you could draw up a worse example of unfairness if you set out to try.  Consider the specifics:

If it’s really about education in that often-repeated NCAA manifesto that props up major-college athletics, Evan Shirreffs is having a hard time believing it.

Miami’s backup quarterback has fulfilled his obligation — the obligation the NCAA tells us — by getting his Business Finance degree in three years. Not only that, Shirreffs killed it in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA. Not surprising given that he had a 32 ACT score out of Jefferson High in Georgia, where Shirreffs was class valedictorian.

But as a graduate transfer, Shirreffs is leaving Miami with more than a degree. He is carrying a significant burden because he cannot go to the grad school of his choice. To make himself the best person he can be for next 50 or so years of his life, Shirreffs really wants to enroll in an elite MBA program.

But Miami has the leverage in his transfer, even after Shirreffs has fulfilled theobligation.

Miami has granted Shirreffs permission to contact other schools. But it has not granted an exemption to the one-year residency requirement (sitting out) at any ACC school or five nonconference opponents on the 2018 and 2019 schedules.

That list includes DukeVirginiaNorth CarolinaWake Forest and Boston College, all in the ACC, all with some of the finest MBA programs in the country.

In short, this kid really is transferring for the academics.  Toss in that Miami has an established starting quarterback who returns for 2018, add this for a topper…

… Shirreffs is now playing for a coaching staff that didn’t recruit him. Mark Richt replaced Al Golden in 2016, Shirreff’s redshirt freshman year.

… and here’s what you’re left with as a rationale for being a dick to a kid who’s done everything he’s been asked to do as a student-athlete.

AD Blake James told CBS Sports of his desire for “consistency” in denying Shirreffs. He has never released a student in a similar situation, why should he now? Student-athlete beware: The transfer policy is right there in the student-athlete handbook.

“You have 114 other guys on that team who have put in the work and made a commitment,” James said, “and you have someone that’s going to leave with the entire playbook and go to a team you’re going to play. To me, I struggle with that as well.”

Man, I hate that for you.

What an effing travesty.  These people ought to be ashamed of themselves, but it seems pretty clear that they don’t really have a sense of shame.


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Check out the big brain on Georgia’s 2018 class.

Sure, all those stars are nice, but you know what else gets Kirby going?  Smarts (see what I did there?).

… Nine guys of the 17 had over a 3.0 core GPA, which was a major emphasis for us in this class. Three of these guys had offers from Ivy League schools, so we are really excited about this class…

… He [Justin Fields] was being offered by Ivy League schools and he chose to go to Georgia. That says a lot about not just about our program, but our school. … We’ve got a top-15 public institution with a business school that is second-to-none in the country and not a lot of people can sell that so when you have that opportunity you have to go after the best.

I wonder how many mommas he’s impressed on the recruiting trail with that pitch.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, Recruiting

“That’s the question I get most: ‘How do you conduct business?'”

Imagine every high-handed, tone deaf thing you can credit to a P5 athletic director.  Then, multiply that by ten.  You may still be short on measuring Tom Jurich’s stint at Louisville.

The only amazing part of his story is that he was allowed to do it for so long.  Although, given the absurdly high pedestal we put organized sports on in this country, maybe it’s not so amazing.


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

Today, in doing it for the kids

Just your regular reminder that the NCAA totally sucks.  Totally.

That this Braxton Beverly fiasco played out against the backdrop of the NCAA’s reluctance to involve itself in North Carolina’s academic fraud debacle adds a special touch, though, I have to admit.


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

My ass is still chapped.

Chip Towers explains why.

So, just to get this straight, the worthless courses that these basketball players were taking to maintain their eligibility were NOT a violation of NCAA rules because regular students also took them. OK. Got it.

I bet Jim Harrick and Georgia basketball fans might like to hear a little more about that.

You might recall, the Bulldogs got burned badly about a similar issue. Only, basketball players weren’t routinely earning degrees in what amounted to be a bogus major.

No, UGA’s basketball program was pretty much torched because Jim Harrick Jr., Harrick’s son and an assistant for the basketball team, taught a physical education course for one semester that  counted for one hour of credit called “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball.”

You’ll no doubt remember it because so many people – including late-night talk-show hosts — had fun with one of the questions on Harrick Jr.’s final exam for that class. It was: “How many points is a 3-point shot worth?”

A lot of people got a big laugh out of that at Georgia’s expense. But the Harricks always maintained that no wrongs were committed with that course because the roll included only three basketball players and about 100 other regular students. And the reason everybody got such a big laugh out of that joke of a question included on that exam is because that’s exactly what Harrick Jr. intended it to be — a joke!

Meanwhile, everybody in the class received an A for the course. Not just the basketball players but everybody. So it wasn’t like UGA basketball players were enjoying an extra benefit.

Yet the NCAA denied UGA’s appeal of the case and went on to issue a seven-year show-cause order against Harrick Jr.

“Given the serious violations affirmed above, we find that the seven-year, show-cause order was neither excessive nor inappropriate,” the appeal committee said in its report.

As a result of that decision, UGA had to vacate 30 wins – 11 from January on of 2002 season and all 19 from the entire 2002-03 season – for playing what the NCAA deemed were ineligible players during that span. Meanwhile, Harrick resigned, and the Georgia basketball became a dumpster fire that Dennis Felton was charged with putting out over the next three seasons.

We’re told the reason that the Bulldogs were hammered so hard was that the school admitted academic fraud. They thought they were doing the honorable thing and going to earn some leniency and respect from the NCAA by admitting wrongdoing. It could’ve been worse, then-President Michael Adams and the UGA legal team bragged to us.

The difference, I’ve been led to believe today, is that North Carolina never admitted to academic fraud.  [Emphasis added.]

They bragged about it.  Pride, with no results.  That’s the Georgia Way, peeps.  (And note this is long before Greg McGarity’s triumphant return to Athens.)

We are such chumps.


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


It took ’em three and a half years to punt.  How stupid does Michael Adams’ overreaction to the Harrick scandal look now?  (It looked stupid at the time, but, still.)

At least now they can get back to what’s important, which is keeping the labor base cheap.


UPDATE:  The hypocrisy is strong in this one.


UPDATE #2:  Good to see Greg Sankey has his priorities straight.

Poor babies.


UPDATE #3:  The cherry on top of today’s NCAA sundae


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA