Last March and April, I wrote several Blog Posts about how the NCAA and Universities failed students. Some were apparently enrolled under false pretenses when their college admission test scores and high school grades, were nowhere near the level at which the School’s incoming freshman scored. They were often enrolled in courses which would not even contribute toward a degree. Additionally, being from very poor backgrounds, so-called Student-Athletes are often influenced by wealthy school boosters, which was against NCAA rules. The abuses and temptations, especially in Big-Time College Basketball and Football, are considerable.
The linked Op-Ed, from the Miami Herald, discusses the author’s answer to the age-old question, “Should Colleges Pay Student-Athletes?”: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/12/v-print/3863538/end-the-hypocrisy-involving-college.html. Thomas O’Hara suggests giving incoming “student athletes” the option of actually working toward a degree, or just being “paid athletes”, who are provided room and board; but, do not attend classes.
Now, how long do you think that the actual students’ parents are going to pay to send junior to college, where they will be acquainted with BOMC’s who can sleep all day and party all night? The athletes would end-up being segregated in some sort of “Animal House” dorms–on the far side of Campus, perhaps far, far away from the actual college students.
So, I don’t think that just paying people to play sports will work; but, there certainly has to be something done to improve the current system. But, what should the responsibilities of the university be toward the Athletes who help generate huge sums of money for the schools? Remember that some athletes, especially from poor backgrounds, just don’t seem to fit-into the college routine. And in some cases, they leave school without a college degree–and, in some cases, even with a career-ending injury.
The linked column, from the Education Writers Association newsletter, points-out that Florida State University, this year’s Football National Champion Team, is 70% comprised of Black Players, only a one-third of whom actually graduate. That’s why most statistics are not race-specific; but, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education does provide them, http://www.ewa.org/blog-educated-reporter/bowl-bound-colleges-punt-graduating-black-football-players-studies-show.
Lastly, top college athletes are often befriended by people for various reasons–and often with ulterior motives. Going to expensive South Beach hot spots and partying with influential “friends” of the University of Miami caused the School to pass-up on bowl-game appearances and lose scholarships, which seriously effected its recruiting efforts. Ohio State lost the services of several of its top players recently who sold sports paraphernalia for very little–basically losing their pro career potential. And, the list goes on…