The NCAA Thinks Academics Are Silly


by Peter Christian

Remember back in the day when no one would admit that every decision the NCAA made was about money? Instead they would defend their choices by hiding behind cliche sayings like “protecting the integrity of the sport” or “academics come first” or “they are student-athletes and in that order.” The NCAA still runs those ridiculous tv ads showing how most NCAA athletes will not become professional athletes and that competing in NCAA sanctioned events better prepares them for those real world jobs. Guess what… the NCAA is full of shit.

Now, in 2010 we know better (at least a little). The NCAA is quite possibly the greediest, unchecked organization in the country. Driven by only dollar signs, its chief members consistently make decisions that raise profit margins and pad their already astronomical salaries all while demonstrating that they are ginormous hypocrites.

When it comes to collegiate sports, the public demands very little: competition. The public loves the NCAA Basketball Tournament because it is a ton of ultra competitive games smashed into a relatively short time period (in short). We don’t care if the athletes are taking Intro to Basketweaving as their only course that semester, we don’t care (at least during the games) if the point guard who just hit a game winning buzzer beater to clinch a double digit upset got to borrow a Booster’s Lexus last summer. We just want good games. The NCAA pretends that it cares about all that other stuff. They will undoubtedly step in and tell a player he can’t play because his grades sucked or because his uncle took money from an AAU scout or whatever. At the end of the day, however, the NCAA is just as crooked as those players who get punished for taking some extra cash or for taking a throw away credit or 20 so they can simply play out their eligibility before moving on to the next facet of their life.

If the NCAA really cared about the “dirty money” in collegiate athletics it wouldn’t even discuss the possibility of a 96 team NCAA Tournament. They would most definitely find a way to create a play-off system for college football. They would at least discuss the possibility of cutting the players in on those giant profits they rake in from the corporate sponsorships and media revenues that to this point have only fattened the committee member’s wallets.

(Note: with the current system I don’t think the athletes should be paid. I do think however it should be discussed instead of being laughed at by a guy who would throw a fit if he had to drive his 17 year old’s BMW to work instead of his own Jaguar. I also would propose a system where scholarship athletes who leave school early to pursue professional athletics should have to repay a portion of that scholarship within the first year of going pro.)

If the NCAA really cared about the student-athlete’s academic performance they wouldn’t continue to schedule NCAA sanctioned events that cause those same student-athletes to miss anywhere from 3-5 days of class for a month every Spring (and then say that a football playoff would never work because the athletes would miss too much class, even though the majority of the football post-season takes place while students are on winter break).

No, if the NCAA really cared at all about student academics, they would investigate a reform on the entire academic eligibility system currently employed.  If they really were worried about graduation rates or final exams or student’s missing too much time in the class room they wouldn’t even consider expanding the current NCAA tournament field from 65 teams to 96.

Instead, the NCAA would really like to expand the tournament so that they can add an additional 32 games (which means they can get more $$$ from gate attendance, tv revenue, ad sales, corporate sponsorship, etc.) and completely distance themselves from every moral dilemma question they’ve ever faced and finally admit publicly, “Hey, we are the scum of the Earth!!!” I’m sure it’s really hard for the NCAA President to always lie through his teeth about how important it is that these student-athletes get a good education. It probably really weighs on their consciences that they know in their hearts that the only education the student-athletes are getting is how to become accustomed to prison rape.

The NCAA allows (well, if they’re under scholarship, they pretty much force) these STUDENT-athletes to go to class and work just hard enough to get mediocre grades during the first semester, then during the 2nd semester those restrictions are lifted so that the STUDENT-athlete can get flown all around the country to play a sport all while missing more than 50% of their classes for more than a month. Think about it, these kids are supposedly supposed to be getting a higher education but are missing out on lectures, tests, quizzes, presentations and demonstrations so they can make the NCAA money.

Take a team like West Virginia this season. They played in the Big East Tournament the 2nd week of March. They were in New York City starting Wednesday (at the latest) through Saturday evening (probably Sunday morning). Then the following Wednesday (afternoon) they flew back to New York, this time Buffalo, and stayed through Sunday. Then after 2 days of classes, the team went back to Syracuse, NY for another 4 days away from school and now they are in Indianapolis for a couple days of practice and press conferences and dinners and whatever else they have to do for the Final Four. If they win on Saturday, they miss class again on Monday and likely again on Tuesday (at least in the morning). All that means is that in a 4 week span it is entirely possible that a college basketball player could miss 11 full days of potential classes and 2 half days out of a potential 20 days of class. That boils down to missing 3/5ths of your classes, which to any other student would result in a likely failing grade, but that basketball player gets a pass because A) they play basketball and B) No one really checks if the players are going to class during the Spring Semester anyhow (especially if said player is headed to the NBA, what motivation does a kid have to go to class if he is only going to blow off the school completely after the tournament to start getting ready for NBA Draft camps and workouts?).

So the NCAA can’t really care that much about academics if they are pushing at the student-athletes toward missing class rather than attending it, right? Well, as if they hadn’t proved their point enough, the NCAA thinks that the kids are going to be just fine if they miss a little more. By adding more teams to the NCAA Tournament, it also means more games which means, you guessed it, more missed classes. The message the NCAA tries to send to its viewers every year is how they prepare hundreds of thousands of student-athletes for life in the real world, but really its saying, “Why miss 60% of your classes when you can shoot for 80%?”

Now, leave me alone while I go watch more college basketball.

Powered by

Speak Your Mind