Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why Do We Pretend?

The New York Times shares with us the alarming news that student athletes are finding ways to inflate their high school GPA's such that they qualify for sports "scholarships":
The New York Times identified 14 [graduates of 'University High'] who had signed with 11 Division I football programs: Auburn, Central Florida, Colorado State, Florida, Florida State, Florida International, Rutgers, South Carolina State, South Florida, Tennessee and Temple.

University High, which has no classes and no educational accreditation, appears to have offered the players little more than a speedy academic makeover.
Let's say that a student attempting to enter one of those schools on the basis of academic merit submitted a made-over transcript from "University High"... how many seconds do you think it would take for the admissions officer to stamp "REJECTED" on the application?
The school's program illustrates that even as the N.C.A.A. presses for academic reforms, its loopholes are quickly recognized and exploited
If by "loophole" we mean a way to cheat the system, with the colleges accepting athletes knowing full well that their high school GPA's are works of fiction, then yes, it's a "loophole". But if you were to require even a modicum of good faith action on the part of the colleges....

At least in relation to the "big money" sports, why are we still pretending that college athletics are somehow about academics?


  1. As a staff member at the NCAA, I have had the opportunity to experience a lot of the great things the Association does for the more than 360,000 student-athletes. I am a former NCAA student-athlete myself, and have been the beneficiary of numerous opportunities because of that experience.

    That said, the situation at University High School is utterly appalling. It gives intercollegiate athletics a bad reputation, and that is truly upsetting.

    I am hopeful that NCAA institutions will take this as a wake-up call and review their admissions policies. I am confident the NCAA will also take a strong stance on this issue and do everything it can to fix the problem.

    Student-athletes add a tremendous amount to campus environments, but they need to be able to succeed in the classroom. Academics must be the focus, and for the most part it is. NCAA student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than students from the regular population.

    I have written more extensively on this topic on the NCAA’s blog (

  2. I appreciate your comments, and the sincerity of your efforts. Is your observation from the inside the same as mine from the outside, though - that a certain percentage of schools, student athletes, and boosters will intentionally violate NCAA rules, and a much larger percentage will actively and in bad faith attempt to circumvent NCAA rules? Because as long as I can remember, I have been reading stories of NCAA violations, severe sanction of schools and athletes, and of dubious methods used to avoid the application of NCAA rules..

    (I know you're not actually at liberty to answer that....)


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