Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

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.

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“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.

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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.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football

Thursday morning buffet

Here you go.

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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

The NCAA, and history repeating

Key part from this interesting article about the academic fraud suit filed against the NCAA and UNC this week:

As he did in the O’Bannon case, Hausfeld has designed McCants v. UNC to compel sweeping and historic changes to college sports. Hausfeld demands the creation of an independent commission that would audit Division I programs to ensure that athletes are not victimized by academic fraud and that minority athletes are not receiving inferior education. Audits would also measure post-graduation employment for college athletes and whether — as some NCAA advertisements suggest — playing sports helps the job prospects of college athletes. Hausfeld also seeks monetary damages for all former and current NCAA athletes who didn’t receive the meaningful education they were promised by the NCAA, conferences and member institutions.

In what is already a transformative era of college sports, McCants v. UNC has the potential for further disruption. Race bubbles close to the surface of most discussions about college sports. But McCants v. UNC is the first of the recent high-profile college sports cases to link race to the law. It is also unique in that it raises claims on behalf of both men and women who played college sports, highlighting problems in the relationship between big-time college sports and academic integrity beyond football and men’s basketball programs.

McCants v. UNC is the educational bookend of O’Bannon v. NCAA, which will be reviewed by a federal appeals court later this year. O’Bannon highlights what NCAA critics regard as the economic “exploitation” of college athletes’ name, image and likeness rights. One of the NCAA’s key defenses in O’Bannon is to champion its system of amateurism, which encompasses NCAA rules designed to safeguard the educational experience of college athletes. In McCants v. UNC, Hausfeld attacks the NCAA’s educational defense head-on and asserts that amateurism damages rather than enhances education. The 100-page complaint details a history of college athletes receiving inferior education so that they can remain eligible and generate revenue for their schools, conferences and the NCAA. Justifications for the McCants and O’Bannon cases are thus joined at the hip.

This is going to be a tough case for the plaintiffs to win.  But, then again, that was the early perception of O’Bannon, and look how that’s turned out.  In any event, we should expect the same steady Chinese water torture drip of unflattering information and admissions emerging from plaintiff’s discovery in this case as we saw in the earlier one.

This is just beginning, but even at this early stage, does anyone think the NCAA and the schools will emerge unscathed from this?  And with that in mind, does anyone think the NCAA and the schools will do the smart thing and look to settle the case instead of risking that?

Yes, I know, Mark Emmert.  That was a rhetorical question.

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Friday morning buffet

It’s a chilly, rainy morning… you got something better to do?

  • Patrick Garbin looks at Georgia’s offensive line recruiting efforts.  As you can guess, he doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
  • There’s so much rivalry in this lawsuit story, it’s hilarious.
  • Bulldog Illustrated reports that mat drills are no more.
  • The next lawsuit frontier is breachedO’Bannon attorney sues NCAA and North Carolina over the academic scandal.
  • “We’ll get all the information from him and decide what to do…” Looks like Nick Saban’s got a bookend for Jonathan Taylor.
  • And Hugh Freeze has more forgivin’ to do, too.
  • ESPN asks a bunch of recruits at the Under Armour All-American Game how much facilities matter in their choice of school, and gets a consensus that it’s not much, because all the big schools have good ones.  Sounds like a good argument for keeping up, and not running ahead of the pack.
  • Butch Jones has issues with roster management.
  • On the bright side for Tennessee, with offensive coordinator Tim Bajakian leaving for Tampa Bay, the Vols will actually get paid something for a coach’s departure from Knoxville.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

“… I want to surround myself with those kids I can get in school.”

Interesting saga to trace here:

  1. Gary Andersen left Wisconsin for the head coaching job at Oregon State.  He claims he was having a problem at Wisconsin with admission standards.
  2. Wisconsin had a commitment from a massive offensive lineman from New Jersey, Sam Madden.  Last week, Madden decommited from a place he had recently proclaimed “I’m staying with Wisconsin, I don’t care who else offers,” because – you guessed it – academics.
  3. Madden’s primary recruiter at Wisconsin?  Thomas Brown.
  4. And guess where Madden is now scheduled to take a visit this weekend.

Like I said, interesting.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, Recruiting