The North Carolina academic scandal is getting enough traction that we may be able to replace “North Carolina” with “national.” CNN has done its own investigation, finding plenty of issues with football and basketball players (not specified: any women’s basketball players?) all over the place.
The scrutiny is good, but a couple of things here are worth nit-picking:
- “NCAA sports are big business, with millions of dollars at stake for winning programs.” Sure, but we have to stress again that a lot of NCAA programs lose money. It’d be interesting to see how many of these academic problems are at big-time programs and how many are at schools that want to have big-time programs.
- “Imagine yourself sitting in a class where nothing makes sense.” Yeah, that was me in “symbolic logic,” which required prior knowledge of arcane mathematical concepts but didn’t tell us of such a requirement until the drop/add period had passed. (Pardon the self-indulgent tangent.)
- “In December, the Drake Group, which pushes for academic integrity in collegiate sports, organized a lobbying trip to Washington to push for an amendment to the College Education Act of 1965. Director Allen Sack said he wants to see a College Athlete Protection Act — legislation that would keep athletes on the bench as freshmen if they are academically more than one standard deviation lower than the average student admitted to the university.” Wouldn’t this punish Duke and Stanford a lot more than it would punish Florida State, one of the schools with some academic issues?
- One bit of context I haven’t seen in these stories: What has happened to Prop 48, a big controversy in my college days (issues of race and standardized testing), and Prop 16? How have we suddenly slid backwards to the point at which big-time athletes aren’t getting it done, even though the standards are getting tougher?
- And the underlying question: How are all these people graduating from high school if they’re reading at a fourth-grade level?
Should be an interesting year ahead for the NCAA.