A report released last week by the NCAA said that 99 Division I programs across the country will lose scholarships because they failed to meet grade requirements.
According to ESPN, an academic progress report is calculated by measuring the academic eligibility and retention of student-athletes by team each term. Based on current data an annual percentage rate of 925 calculates to an approximate Graduation Success Rate of 60 percent.
Not surprisingly, the sports hurt the most were basketball, baseball and football. But in no way does the blame fall solely on the student-athlete. The NCAA and the universities have to take responsibilities for this too.
The NCAA, like all other major sports, is full of hypocrisy. The NCAA makes over a billion dollars a year by sending these student-athletes all over the country to play games. Usually these games are scheduled for television, which means they are at night. So in the case of basketball, players have very little time to attend class. But if they do not play basketball, they usually cannot afford to go to school, so to simply tell the student-athlete to stop playing is not an option.
During March Madness, which is usually during midterms, the student-athletes rarely go to class because they are playing in the greatest sports tournament known to man. The reason viewers like March Madness so much is the reason that the players are failing their classes. It is non-stop basketball for a month.
But let’s not forget, the universities have no problem sending these kids to play when their talents and abilities will make them millions of dollars.
In the case of football, the players only play once a week. But if it were an away game, the team would travel to its destination the Thursday before the Saturday game. Plus, anyone who knows how much practice time it takes to learn a playbook knows school is not on any of these players’ minds, nor should it be.
College football tries to separate itself by saying it does not have a playoff system, and uses the Bowl Championship Series. The universities say it is because a playoff system would cause the players to miss too much school.
It is also ironic to point out that using the BCS, the school gets to keep a majority of the revenue along with the network. It does not have to share with the NCAA, as is the case with college basketball. It has nothing to do about education, it has to do with money.
Like college basketball, college baseball seasons are long and involve a lot of traveling and, depending on the school, the games could be at night or in the day. What makes baseball different, however, is the fact that baseball plays series of games against one team. And sometimes in college baseball, the teams play double-headers.
The point of college is to prepare yourself for a career. Well if these players are playing sports for their career, then why should they have to exceed at something else? I know it sounds terrible for someone to suggest that education is not the most important thing, but in reality, it is the truth.
Why should these student-athletes stay in school and focus on education when they can leave to the professional ranks and make millions of dollars?
Some of the answers I have heard are what if these kids get hurt and lack an education to lean back on. To this I say that the athletes should have been smart enough to have obtained insurance when they decided to go for the professional ranks, or have remained in school to get their degree before declaring to go pro. Or when they get hurt, they can go back to school and get a degree.
But to say that the athletes are the only ones to blame is ridiculous. College athletes get their education because they are athletes, and now they are being penalized because of it.
In a perfect world, it would be nice to have athletes and administration officials care about education as much as they do about money.
Justin Satzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org