Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

UNC 1, NCAA 0

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.

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UPDATE:  The hypocrisy is strong in this one.

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

Poor babies.

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

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Fake news? War Eagle!

So, in the wake of another potential academic scandal, Auburn’s hired an outside law firm to investigate.

Jay Jacobs is on quite the roll lately.

The tutoring investigation is the latest in a series of probes within the Auburn athletic department, which is facing alleged misconduct in men’s basketball and women’s softball, as well as defending a federal civil lawsuit filed against athletic director Jay Jacobs and the school’s board of trustees by a former baseball coach.

It’s impressive that the man is still on the job.  I’d ask the rhetorical question about whether Jacobs is in possession of incriminating photographs, but after reading this quote…

Outside the Lines brought the allegation to the attention of President Steven Leath this week. In a statement issued Wednesday, he said: “I take the allegation very seriously. While the independent investigation has found no evidence to date to support the claims, I’m actively engaged as the investigation continues.”

… maybe the simpler answer is that nobody there really gives a damn.  At least as long as the money’s good.

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“How can you plan a roster or a team when every player is a free agent at the end of the season?”

If this is true…

There is much work to be done and any drastic changes to transfer rules across all NCAA sports are likely a few years away at least. But change is coming, and guiding principles already have been established by the university presidents who make up the NCAA board of directors.

One thing is clear: New transfer rules will be rooted in academics, according to a statement released last week by the Division I Council group working on the topic.

Students with better grades could face fewer restrictions if they want to transfer, and schools may end up with less control over where athletes go…  [Emphasis added.]

… expect the number of Alabama players taking calculus, advanced genetics and nuclear physics classes to increase exponentially.  If there’s one thing Nick Saban knows how to do, it’s work those envelope edges.

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“Trying to put a stop to his favoritism for athletes once and for all.”

How ugly is this New York Times story on purported academic favoritism for football players at Florida State?  Put it this way:  that the academics in question were “online hospitality courses on coffee, tea and wine” is the most benign part of the story.  There’s plenty of sleaze to go around, in other words.  Sad, but hardly shocking.

Given the NCAA’s current face off with North Carolina over alleged academic improprieties there, you have to wonder if they’ll jump in on this one.

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Does amateurism in defense of academics make any sense?

You tell me.

According to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, between 70 and 80 percent of college students are active in the labor market. Roughly 40 percent of undergraduates work at least 30 hours a week, while 25 percent of all students enrolled on a full-time basis also work full time. Some of those employees—a cohort that once included yours truly, who worked at the Georgetown bookstore—even get paid for campus jobs.

The NCAA’s member schools don’t prohibit any of those students from making money. Because that would be utterly ridiculous. Why, Grenardo asks, are athletes treated differently? Because they’re especially good at catching footballs?

During the O’Bannon trial, Stanford University athletic director and amateurism advocate Bernard Muir was questioned by players’ attorney Renae Steiner about computer-science students at his school earning income from software they developed in class, a pretty fair analogue for playing revenue sports. It did not go well:

Steiner: “Are you aware that some of those students at Stanford were making $3,000 a day on their apps?”

Muir: “[I] was not aware of that.”

Steiner: “And they were making more than the professor teaching them in that class?”

Muir: “Okay. I will take your word for it.”

Steiner: “Okay. Do you know if those students are no longer integrated into the academic community at Stanford?”

Muir: “I would assume that they are.”

“It’s crazy, the idea that if we put $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 into the pockets of these athletes who don’t have a lot of money, who knows what they will do with it,” Grenardo says. “Even at my law school, some of my students have better cars than me. Nobody says about kids who are affluent, ‘Oh my God, we need to rein this in.'”

Last year, Emmert took his employer’s logic to its dopiest possible conclusion and claimed that paying college athletes would make them no longer students at all, presumably because simultaneously (a) playing campus sports, (b) being paid for playing that sport, and (c) being a college student would require a heretofore unknown quantum state.

Push come to shove, and even the NCAA isn’t buying what Emmert’s shoveling.

Does the college sports establishment even believe its own malarkey? Not entirely. University of Notre Dame president John Jenkins told the New York Times that permitting player pay would be an “Armageddon” that “does some violence to [the] educational relationship” between athletes and their schools—but school athletic director Jack Swarbrick told VICE Sports at a campus sports reform meeting in Washington, D.C., that he doesn’t think there’s a link between amateurism and education. The NCAA touted education as its raison d’être in the O’Bannon case, but responded to McCants and Ramsay’s lawsuit over the North Carolina scandal by arguing in federal court that it has no legal duty to make sure said education is actually delivered.

“This is the underlying lie of the NCAA,” says Michael Hausfeld, the Washington, D.C.-based antitrust attorney who headed the O’Bannon case and is also the lead litigator on McCants and Ramsay’s suit. “Up until we filed the North Carolina case, you had the NCAA saying they are there for the welfare of athletes as students. Now they say they have nothing to do with that. You can’t be more of a hypocrite.”

Eh, I don’t know about that.

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The SEC, where academics just mean more

In fact, so much more that the conference keeps changing the standards for the graduate transfer rule.

The biggest topic of the week was the league’s stringent graduate transfer rule that prevents schools that have previously taken graduate transfers who did not meet eligibility expectations at the end of each term from accepting more graduate transfers for a period of three years.

Legislation approved Friday by the presidents and chancellor reduced that period to a year, which clears the way for Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire to immediately join Florida’s team as a graduate transfer.

“We (the SEC) are the unique as it relates to having requirements around our graduate transfers,” Sankey said. “It’s been a maturation process. We started at five years, then to three years and now to one year.”

You can almost sense his chest swelled with pride as he delivered that.

Meanwhile, the league’s coaches are extraordinarily concerned about the academics of their member institutions.

The presidents and chancellors took no action on changing the rule that requires a waiver from the commissioner on intraconference transfers. The league’s football and basketball coaches wanted a rule to disallow such transfers with no waiver available.

Obviously, the lesson to be taken from the Maurice Smith situation is that a player transfer from one SEC program to another is disastrous for the player.  I mean, there couldn’t be any other motivation for the coaches’ stand, could there?

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“No comment” as a winning strategy

Hoisting the NCAA on its own petard, a job so easy, even a cave man could do it.

For years, the NCAA didn’t want to wade into the murky waters of determining what is or isn’t academically sound. It left such determinations up to accrediting agencies. (It should be noted that in this case, North Carolina was placed on probation for a year by its accrediting agency.) This is why the NCAA did nothing about Tennessee’s Chair Stacking 101 classes in the late 1990s or Auburn’s directed reading classes in the early 2000s. Every large university has easy classes available to everyone, and most major athletic departments cluster revenue-sport athletes into easy majors. These cases were ignored for a reasons: The NCAA didn’t have clear rules in place to enforce them. In fact, if North Carolina’s attorneys really want to twist the knife during the COI hearing, they’ll quote what attorneys representing the NCAA wrote in a 2015 response to a lawsuit brought by former North Carolina athletes regarding the quality of the education they received. According to that response, the NCAA has no legal responsibility “to ensure the academic integrity of the courses offered to student-athletes at its member institutions.”

Which is why Stacey Osburn may be the smartest person working at the NCAA.

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