Blog Entry

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

Posted on: December 21, 2009 3:07 pm
When Bobby Knight [ aka  The General ] approached the microphone last week at Indianna, he just gave me one more reason why I like him.  Bobby Knight is, by far, the world's worst speaker; and I love him for it!!   He just tells it like it is; no sugar added.  If it's sour, you  gotta cope with it.  Anyone who can throw a chair across the basketball court, DURING A GAME, you'd think was a wack-o coach; but his players always thought just the opposite.  He taught his players the fundamentals of basketball.  His TEAMS did it with TEAM PLAY.  He didn't have the superstars that today's college teams have; and he had players that GRADUATED.

So with Coach Knight's attack on John Calipari, maybe it's time to revisit the battle that colleges have with athletics.  Maybe it's time to question how a "institute of higher learning" should balance the over-all college finances and how these same colleges treat their "student athletes". 

The colleges' job are to prepare the student for life after graduation.  When you look at the academic side of colleges, this appears to be working fairly well, maybe not in all cases, but for the most part it does work well.  Finance majors usually locate employment after school in the chosen profession.  Electrical engineer majors usually locate employment in their major, also.  All through the majors, graduates usually are working in their professions.   The students progress is monitored through the standard GPA.  All in all the academics side of the house appears to be fairly well organized and does what it's supposed to do.

Now, let's look at the athletic side of the colleges.  If I'm a basketball player, with hopes of landing a job in the NBA, I'm planning to go to college and "study" in my chosen major.  The problem is, colleges don't have a curriculum for Basketball.  They do have a curriculum for all those other majors, but fall short in the athletic world.  If colleges state their existence is to prepare the students for life after graduation, what are they doing for the athlete?   Do they hand-out diplomas for athletics?  Of course not!!  Do they prepare the student for life WITHOUT sports?  NO is the correct answer.  What happens to a student who gets injured and can't go on to the profession of choice?  Is the student prepared to enter the working world an an entry-level doing anything else?  A former college football player who graduated t with a degree in social science, said, "I look back and say, 'Well, what did I really go to college for?  Crap classes you won't use the rest of your life?'  Social science is really nothing specific.  ...I was majoring in football."

I have a problem with colleges prostituting their athletes to fill their own pockets with dollars.  The colleges make huge financial gains off the athletic programs.  I'm not saying they should pay their players, no way.  I'm just thinking it's about time they play the game fairly.  After all, these are institutes of higher learning.  This sends a very mixed signal, academics is rewarded by graduation, while athletics is nothing more than glorified prostitution after your "john" is through with you, who cares.  It's time the colleges reign in the coaches and restore the concept of "student athlete" once again.  I have a great deal of respect for what Coach Knight accomplished as a coach on the court and off with his student athletes.  Notre Dame still plays by those same rules.  I wish every college did. 

Division-I is out of control.  When a coach can put two schools on probation and he's still coaching, what does that say about the integrity of the colleges hiring him; they don't care.  Just keep the revenue up.  Sure these student-athletes get free room/board, but what they're  NOT GETTING is a college education.  I think it's time to bring back the "education" part of college athletics.

Till next time . . . Stay Well, and See You Somewhere, I Hope. . .


Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: December 29, 2009 9:06 am

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

I want to thank those people [ blue-eye-man, hank1989, titanfan704 ]  for having read my blog and taking the time to post their thoughts.  Some times I get caught-up in the moment and ramble, so I appreciate your views and supporting facts for your views.

blue-eyed-man points out that I may have been too quick to think that some colleges are above reproach; reference to my Notre Dame comment.  I wasn't aware of any issues with ND in the last few years, so I guess they might not be as clean as I thought.  Granted, BK has  never been without question about his behavior, even I must admit that.  However, he does bring-up a valid point about what colleges are doing today with sports and grades. 

Both Hank1989   &  titanfan704 hint on what I fully believe is today's problems with college sports. There appears to be a difference in the original purpose why colleges were established and what they turned into today.  There's far too much emphasis on sports and throwing free money on today's athletes.  Grants in aid, are awarded to individuals in return for competing on a college's sports team. Some people use the term scholarship when referring to college financial aid but this is not actually correct. Financial aid can refer to a number of things including student loans that need to paid back . Athletic scholarships do not need to be paid back .  Unfortunately, what's been forgotten is the original purpose of what colleges were built   Titanfan seems to believe we should not be pointing the finger at the instittuions, but at ourselves.   Frankly, I don't know how to take action upon the instituions; and I certainly don't fund them, so the impact I have is ziltch.

But I do realize where a problems is; and colleges couldn't care less about the problem they've created.  They don't care whether an athlete graduates or not, they only care about how much money the sports program adds to their revenue.  They continue to "coddle" the "blue-chipper" and only worry about if the sports program is profitable.  I think the colleges should return to their earlier standards, and focus on education, not sports.  Maybe they should all be like Division-III and NOT provide athletic deals to athletes. 

That's the battle to which I originally was addressing.  I just don't see how an instituion of Higher Learning "turns the other cheek" when it comes to athletics; after all, their primary job is education .


Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2009 10:53 am

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

Whether you know it or not you are pointing out a problem in our society not with the institutions. Too quick is our society nowadays to blame it's problems or shortcomings on someone or something else instead of pointing the finger at whose fault it really is. Yourself.

These student athletes have a chance to use an athletic gift to get a free education. Something someone who goes to the school just for learning may be paying up to $100K plus to get. But they throw it away because they feel they will just become a professional player and make millions of dollars to play the game. I am sure there are countless people who were student athletes and make a living in the profession they went to college for though it is probably more the ones who knew they had no chance of a professional career in the sport that the play.

What is probably an even a bigger problem is athletes getting into college that don't really qualify academically. The high school just passes them through so they can play for their school and they are coddled and helped to achieve the bare minimums so that they can go to college for the sole purpose of showcasing their skills to try to make it pro sports. In those cases how can you expect the institution to take a D student from high school and turn them into a college gradate who will be able to perform a top job in society. 

So basically I disagree with what you are saying. These kids may be just 18 years old but it is still their responsibility and their parents. The institution is there to teach not to babysit them and hold their hands to make sure they are actually applying themselves.

Since: Sep 8, 2009
Posted on: December 23, 2009 11:39 am

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

You sound like the good kind of college athlete and the kind the NCAA would like us to believe are in the majority. 

The fact is that too many universities are bringing in guys, especially in the big money sports of football and basketball, who read at a fourth grade level and have a criminal record.  These guys couldn't legitimately graduate from a university even if they wanted to.

You may be able to hold coaches accountable for their graduation rates, but the big factories would only create a pipeline of BS classes that no real student would ever take to give them some kind of BS degree.  

I was an athlete at a military academy, so I know all about better talent being on the other side of the ball from me.  We had a 100% graduation rate but never came near a BCS Championship game.  That kind of tells the whole story right there doesn't it.   

Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2009 11:33 pm

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

Don't be so quick to claim some programs clean and others not.  Notre Dame is the only school that the beloved Lou Holtz did not leave with troubles.  Is it because at ND he completely changed his ways or was it too big of a name school to chase because, he got his next school in trouble. And, what ever came out of the allegations and findings concerning Golden Domers just a few years ago?  The saintly and self righteous Bob Knight becomes a kind old soul now that he is a media celebrity.  Here is a coach who pushed, punched, choked, mentally and verbally abused all those young men entrusted to him.  He assaulted players from other teams (tossing chair at kid shooting free throws) and assaulted police officers.  He treated anyone who questioned him with disdain and scorn because they obviously were not as intelligent about basketball as himself.  He was fired in disgrace and jumped to a school that somehow became pretty good under his watch.  His son faced charges within the university, but they went away.  BK quit on his team in his final year and yet he is revered.  BK had superstars on his good teams, he did not win national championships with no name players who were fundamentally sound and did nothing but team play.  He doesn't win without Isaiah Thomas, Calbert Cheaney, Kent Benson, Steve Alford, Ray Tolbert, Quinn Buckner and Scott May, The athletic programs are not lining the universities pockets in gold.  Almost all athletic programs run in the red.  Some programs turn a profit but those funds are used for the entire department.  Success in athletics raises the profile of the school, which helps bring in alumni donations which benefits the entire school.  More funding means better programs means more opportunity to bring in better students and research funding.

Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: December 22, 2009 10:52 pm

Battle of Colleges and Athletics

At some point the student/athlete has to become a responsible adult and use the situation to learn and earn a degree.  They are not owed anything but that opportunity from the university.  All of the programs have tutors available, study sessions and more at the disposal of the student/athlete, some that are not as readily available for all students.  I was a student/athlete (swimmer) and graduated in four years.  12 - 16 credit hours per quarter of class, 20-24 hours of practice per week in season.  I went to class, studied and earned my degree.  If a class interfered with practice, class won.  The solution is simple, go and learn and should you have problems, get some help.  The schools and the athletic department want success, it helps them succeed in the future.

Since: Oct 12, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2009 11:07 am
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