Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

“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.

Advertisements

Comments Off on “No comment” as a winning strategy

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

For the romantics out there…

I post this entirely snark-free.  If you’re looking for a D-1 school that’s not offering itself as a stepping stone to professional football, you might want to think about rooting for the Air Force Academy.

15 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics.

Surrender. But don’t give yourself away.

Looks like one of Greg Sankey’s noble stands is about to bite the proverbial dust.

Malik Zaire has been a popular topic for Gator Nation this offseason.

The former Notre Dame quarterback has interest in joining the Florida football program as a graduate transfer, but for now he is on standby.

An SEC rule instituted in Jan. 2016 prevents UF from taking Zaire because former grad trnasfer Mason Halter and Antony Harrell failed to meet academic requirements in 2015.

However, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in December that the league could alter the rule at its spring meetings in late May. Sankey reiterated those comments Friday on the Pat Dooley Show on ESPN Gainesville 98. 1 FM.

“It will come up,” Sankey said. “I do think we need to look where we’ve been restrictive in the past because of the absence of national rules and look at reducing some of those restrictions. I’m one who would position it as interest in freeing things up without just removing every restraint, because I think the restraints have been healthy for us.”

At this time, the SEC is the only conference with a grad transfer rule in place. Sankey said he’s disappointed that the NCAA has not taken a harder look at the issue.

“There’s this notion that they’ve graduated, so let them just have freedom,” Sankey said. “I don’t necessarily argue with that, but there’s nothing in the context of intercollegiate athletics that says, ‘Oh, just go play games.’ We never say that.”

“I look at it now and say that we’ve adjusted to realities, and we likely can pull back on some of those internal policies. … I don’t want us to just walk away. I do think it’s a good conversation to adjust because we are performing (better academically).”

Eh, what’s the big deal about graduation, anyway?  Besides, now that you’ve adjusted to realities (Translation:  the other conferences are taking the kids we’re having to turn away because of our rule), the spin becomes rather obvious.

There will be another hill to die on retreat from soon enough.

13 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football

Teaching the controversy… or not

An alert reader passed this little nugget on to me:

More than 40 members of the history department objected to administrative interference in Professor Jay Smith’s History 383 course on the history of big-time college sports and the rights of athletes in an open statement sent to the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences Friday.

The faculty said that despite media reports that department chairperson Fitz Brundage made the decision to cancel Smith’s class on his own, they believe Brundage was actually under pressure from the College of Arts and Sciences to prevent students from learning about the University’s recent scandals.

“In the absence of any other credible explanation, we believe that the College took this action to block broader understanding of the recent scandals in UNC’s major intercollegiate athletic programs and other violations of legal, moral, and academic standards in the history of modern college athletics,” they said.

The faculty said Smith is a recognized authority on the subject of his course and was “clearly…singled out for unprecedented and adverse scrutiny.”

Obviously, if there isn’t a class on the subject, then none of the students will ever know it happened.  Sheesh.

25 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football

Greg. Sankey. Will. Not. Stand. Down.

No word on whether he laughed maniacally while signing this letter, though.

Comments Off on Greg. Sankey. Will. Not. Stand. Down.

Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, SEC Football, The NCAA

Bert’s all about doing it for the kids.

I’ve discussed the strategy behind the NCAA’s Proposal No. 2016-116, a package of rules changes designed to temper some of the flaws in the recruiting process, at least as the NCAA Division I board of directors sees it.  The hope is that there’s enough in the package that’s acceptable to coaches, such as adding a tenth staffer, to offset what’s less palatable.

Judging from this, that may be a tough balancing act.

The conferences appear to have found consensus on all of the above — except for adding April-June official visits. The Southeastern Conference and other leagues in the South are reluctant to sign off on the change.

They have proposed an amendment that would limit spring official visits to April, a month already congested by ACT exams and Easter. There’s almost no way a prospect could use all five of his official visits in April.

It’s easy for prospects from, say, Atlanta, to take unofficial visits to Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and ACC schools such as Georgia Tech and Clemson in the spring. Not so much to Penn State and Nebraska, especially if the prospect and his family have limited means and cannot afford to fly.

“It’s like Trump,” one Big Ten official said. “Except the SEC wants to build a giant wall around the Southeast.”

The SEC’s justification for its stance is what really has Big Ten coaches steaming — academics.

“It’s a joke,” one Big Ten coach said.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, in an interview with the Tribune, said it’s no joke.

“The North wants recruiting and signing day to move up,” he said. “I get it. But on the same account, you’d have kids potentially not focusing on getting good grades to end the school year, and to me that’s really dangerous.”

Fake unctuousness from Bret Bielema?  Why, Miz Scarlett, I nevah.

3 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, SEC Football

The Auburn defense

I give this an “A” for originality.

An attorney in North Carolina’s ongoing academic scandal wants Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey removed as head of the NCAA infractions panel hearing the case because of a conflict of interest.

Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams wrote the NCAA this month saying Sankey ”has a personal, professional and institutional interest in the outcome” of the case involving his client, Deborah Crowder, a retired UNC officer administrator. He compared Sankey’s involvement to ”the Commissioner of the SEC refereeing a championship game between an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team and an SEC team.”

He also described Sankey as a potential witness regarding a previous case at Auburn during his time as an SEC associate commissioner that had similarities but didn’t lead to major violations.

I don’t think this has a shot in hell of succeeding, but you’ve got to admire his moxie.  And I have to admit I’d love to hear Sankey explain himself.

3 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, SEC Football, The NCAA