August 07, 2006

NCAA to warn then penalize schools for academic failures: What surprised me most about this is that 111 teams from 72 schools would face these penalties next year. If a 900 APR score translates into about a 50% graduation rate, then I can't understand why that many schools would have trouble meeting it. I know more star players in football for example are moving into the pros after their sophomore or junior years, but the fact is the vast majority of college team players never turn pro and in some cases there isn't even a pro level of their sport, so what's the problem?

posted by commander cody to general at 01:05 AM - 31 comments

Graduation rates for schools on average for all students is 51%. The graduation rate for black students is about 34%. The NCAA is instituting rules that require schools to have graduation rates for athletes higher than they have for the rest of their student body.

posted by bperk at 08:48 AM on August 07

Graduation rates for schools on average for all students is 51%. Geez, I graduated from one of those schools and I can't get my noun and verbs to agree - what does the NCAA expect from these student-athletes?

posted by bperk at 08:55 AM on August 07

STUDENT ahtletes? LMAO These bozos are there to be developed for the pros. College sports are a developmental league for the pros. A student (LMAO) athlete is doing good if he can sign his name with a capital X.

posted by joromu at 10:47 AM on August 07

joromu How many players from D1 and D1AA football programsdo you think actually play in the pros? Very very few. How about basketball? Those are really only the two with pro leagues to speak of. Wat about Diving, Gymnastics, Softball, Track. The vast majority of all student athletes not only never go pro in their sport but most never even have the opportunity.

posted by scottypup at 12:11 PM on August 07

Who died and left the NCAA in charge? The NCAA is meaningless for football since they do not control the $$$ from the Bowls and someday the schools will wise up and start their own post season basketball tournament. The tournament is the onlyl reason the NCAA exists and generates all their revenue.

posted by thechief at 01:10 PM on August 07

This sounds like the mascot deal, but some schools will fall into the academic hole and suffer loss of dignity like the CU Buffaloes with Gary Barnett.

posted by Joe88 at 02:43 PM on August 07

When you hear pro athletes interviewed it is amazing that they managed to graduate from high school, let alone college. However,because this country worships money, not education, this is to be expected.

posted by sickleguy at 06:29 PM on August 07

Not many sophomores jumping to the NFL. Just ask Maurice Clarrett.

posted by SummersEve at 06:31 PM on August 07

I think it is like 1% of 1%, that's right, 1% of 1% of college football players go on to become pro. I say get a degree at least to fall back on. Sickleguy, amen, sometimes it is embarrassing to hear some of those pros talk, pitiful.

posted by steelergirl at 06:44 PM on August 07

Graduation rates for schools on average for all students is 51%. Yeah I know, but (and I know this sounds naive) I always thought there was something more special about athletes and scholarships. With a regular student it's more of a cash for services type thing. Just a basic financial transaction. You know, I pay you a truckload of money and you teach me for as long as the money holds out, and either side can dump the other. But with scholarships it always struck as more giving your word. I promise you I'll do my best on your team for 4 years and in exchange you'll give me a degree. If an athlete leaves school before they graduate because they want to turn pro, then they shouldn't be allowed to sign with a pro team until after the point where they would have graduated. Also if a player is hurt and can't play a school should always be required to let them finish their degree anyway. There should be no reason for an athlete to leave the program without a degree unless he/she drops out.

posted by commander cody at 02:05 AM on August 08

Graduation statistics are meaningless. Just because one graduates does not mean one is educated, nor are they smart. I would think that it would not be terribly difficult to graduate if all one were taking would be underwater weaved basket assembly. It would concurrently not be harmful to not graduate with it. It's the schools in their entirety that are a joke.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:07 AM on August 08

I promise you I'll do my best on your team for 4 years and in exchange you'll give me a degree. Schools take away athletes' scholarships all the time for their failure to perform well enough on the field. The athlete may be trying his hardest, but if it isn't playing at a high enough level that is all that matters to the school. Schools make one year bargains, not four. I don't see why the athlete should be anymore committed than the school. Anyway, I think there is too much emphasis on degrees at universities and it gets in the way of learning. As Weedy says, it is not a reflection of how smart or well educated a person is.

posted by bperk at 08:26 AM on August 08

Schools make one year bargains, not four. I don't see why the athlete should be anymore committed than the school. You're right about that of course. Which is kinda, sorta my point. If the NCAA was really serious about this, if they really want to see more student athletes graduate they would pass a rule requiring a four year commitment on the parts of both the school and the athlete. Imho everything and anything short of that is just window dressing.

posted by commander cody at 12:30 PM on August 08

I can see how it would improve graduation rates if schools were not allowed to take away scholarships from student athletes that were not performing well. However, I think it would be counterproductive to prevent students from transferring. There are already loss of eligibility issues to discourage it. Sometimes the school you pick when you are still in high school doesn't really suit your educational or other needs. Or, you and the new coach your school hired may hate each other. The NCAA uses a formula that counts transfers against the school. Surely, they could use a formula that just excludes transfers all together to prevent them from either working in favor or against a school.

posted by bperk at 02:47 PM on August 08

I can see that. Transferring should be allowed because sometimes a school really doesn't meet a students academic needs and sometimes an athlete really doesn't fit well into a schools athletic program. Just so it could be controlled that there would be a four year commitment on both sides with the goal being graduation, not just preparation for a pro career which, as I'm sure we agree, the vast majority of student athletes will never see anyway. It would just be nice to see the NCAA come down much more in favor of graduation as opposed to what seems to be a bias toward the few student athletes who have a pro career in their future.

posted by commander cody at 03:44 PM on August 08

If the NCAA was really serious about this, if they really want to see more student athletes graduate they would pass a rule requiring a four year commitment on the parts of both the school and the athlete. What are you gonna do? Put the athlete in jail? Sure, I wish players stayed in all 4 years, but you're living in a fantasy world. You get a scholarship at 18. At 20 you decide to leave and join the nba. Nothings wrong with that. If you get a scholarship for computer science and in your junior year google offers you millions to join, are you going to stop that also? If I'm offered millions to join the nba my junior year, I'm doing it. I can always go back to school. If I stay in school and get injured chances are I'll never be able to make up that money.

posted by justgary at 04:58 PM on August 08

Well I just disagree. Of course I don't see putting the athlete in jail, just requiring him or her to wait until after what would have been the end of their fourth year of college before they're allowed to sign a pro contract. That way they might just as well stay and finish out their commitment to the school and that to me is what it should be, a commitment. An exchange of service on the playing field for a degree. Not just one year of play for one year of school and certainly not just a chance for further grooming for the pros. If you get a scholarship for computer science and in your junior year google offers you millions to join, are you going to stop that also? Certainly, if the school can figure out a way to make millions of dollars having ABC or ESPN broadcast me going to my computer science classes. That's my point, sports scholarships are fundamentally different then other types of scholarships. When a school gives out an athletic scholarship, in the major sports anyway, they do it with an eye toward making money off that particular player by attracting national TV contracts and bowl/playoff bids. When they give out academic scholarship they do it with an eye toward enhancing their school reputation, not necessarily their bottom line. Of course I know I live in a fantasy world about college athletics, but it is how it would be in a more perfect world.

posted by commander cody at 05:32 PM on August 08

just requiring him or her to wait until after what would have been the end of their fourth year of college before they're allowed to sign a pro contract. But that's the fantasy part. You can't do it. Minimum age? Sure. Not signing a great player because he had a scholarship he didn't complete? Not going to happen. When a school gives out an athletic scholarship, in the major sports anyway, they do it with an eye toward making money off that particular player by attracting national TV contracts and bowl/playoff bids. When they give out academic scholarship they do it with an eye toward enhancing their school reputation, not necessarily their bottom line. That's the school's problem. You're penalizing one kind of talent over another. You're great at basketball, or great at math, fine, but they need to be treated the same. Athlete leaves, school loses money. Scholar leaves, school loses academic prestige. Treat them the same. Schools know what they're doing. When they sign a player who they know doesn't measure up academically but will give them a year or two of great basketball, I'm not going to worry about them losing money.

posted by justgary at 06:04 PM on August 08

Well you're right on those points Gary, but a guy can dream, can't he? I wish college athletics was like you see in all those old movies with Pat O'Brien. Rah Rah, go team and all that sentimental garbage. Of course I'm well known for feeling the same about MLB. Must be an aging thing?

posted by commander cody at 07:40 PM on August 08

but a guy can dream, can't he? Sure. I'm old enough to remember when college basketball players staying 4 years was the norm. I think it's better for college basketball, better for the NBA, and better for the majority of players/students. But better doesn't always win out.

posted by justgary at 08:08 PM on August 08

Yeah...damn it.

posted by commander cody at 08:29 PM on August 08

One thing that I have always espoused when the discussion of players who leave early to go to the pros is that they REPAY all scholarship monies to the school involved, either to the athletic scholarship fund, or even better to the general scholarship fund. Now, as for what to do to increase the drive of the schools to ensure that its athletes complete their education? Give the school a 'pool' of scholarship dollars for each sport, seperate and non-combineable, based on the number of scholarships currently allowed under NCAA regs and the average student tuition and room and board for the institution. When a full scholarship is tendered to an incomong freshman, that pool is dinged for 6 years worth of dollars. When the pot is dry, no more scholarships. The pool is replenished if the athlete leaves school for the pros, by the athlete repaying the scholarship monies used and the unspent portion being put back in the pool (see above); if an athlete ON GOOD ACADEMIC STANDING transfers to another school, the remaing unspent monies are credited back to the pool; the athlete completes an undergraduate degree program, any unspent monies are credited back to the pool. Why 6 years? That allows for one redshirt year, and one year to wrap up coursework after expiration of eligibility. I do not have a problem with this, as most students do not finish degrees in 4 years anymore anyway. The real incentive to the school, aside from not running out of scholarship money from unfullfilled degrees is that they can actually INCREASE the number of full rides available if they regularly graduate their athletes on time (4 or 5 years) due to the excess monoes from the last year(s) being credited back to the pool. The reason for keeping each sport seperate is self-evident, you dont want the academic success or failure of one sport to impact the scholarships of any other sport.

posted by elovrich at 03:16 AM on August 09

One thing that I have always espoused when the discussion of players who leave early to go to the pros is that they REPAY all scholarship monies to the school involved, either to the athletic scholarship fund, or even better to the general scholarship fund. This completely ignores the financial reality that these athletes, regardless of the cost of the scholarships, make schools a ton of money. Why should these kids, when it is their turn to finally pocket some of that money, have to repay the school? The school made an investment in the athlete. The repayment of that investment is all the money the school makes from their athletic program.

posted by bperk at 08:44 AM on August 09

bperk; I agree that the schools make quite a bit of money on athletes in two programs, football and basketball. But, they also made the investment with the expectation of having that investment bear fruit for 4 years of play. The biggest reason to have the athlete pay back the scholarship is to fund the proposal in the second part of my post. Another is just good old-fashioned business sense. Would it truly be a hardship for an athlete, leaving early for the pros (we will assume it is because they are likely to go high in the draft and make commensurate amounts of money) to repay the scholarship? I am not familiar with how a letter of intent reads, but if they were worded to reflect that the player is expected to play for the school for X years, and their remuneration was X in financial aid, and the amount was to be repaid if the athlete left under circumstances other than; graduation, transfer while in good academic standing, or other circumstamces beyond the athlete's control, in other words make it a six year contract between player and school. Perhaps the athlete will be less likely to jump ship and will stay and finish his/her degree. A side benefit may be the understanding that a contract is something that needs to be honored on both sides, and not something for the player to renegotiate after one or two seasons of performing above expectations. This then leads to the need for guaranteed contracts in the NFL but that is another thread....

posted by elovrich at 09:14 AM on August 09

Would it truly be a hardship for an athlete, leaving early for the pros (we will assume it is because they are likely to go high in the draft and make commensurate amounts of money) to repay the scholarship? I don't believe it would be a hardship for them. I also believe that the university would not experience any hardship if it was not reimbursed. Boosters would gladly pick up any slack. Universities sell their top athletes without fail, brochures, meet-and-greets, etc. They can use some of that money brought in to fund your scholarship proposal. At least now, the athlete that gave his two years of hard work and effort got something out of the university. They got a free education, maybe not a degree, but a free education. Under your approach, the school gets to have the services of the best athletes available and it costs them nothing for the very best of the bunch.

posted by bperk at 10:45 AM on August 09

But, they also made the investment with the expectation of having that investment bear fruit for 4 years of play. No they don't. In the past? Sure. Not today. A school that signs a great player signs him knowing full well he's gone after a year or two. They're not that naive.

posted by justgary at 11:07 AM on August 09

bperk, The player got something in return as well, exposure, training, experience. When was the last time that a player signed a pro contract after two years of JUCO ball, or playing for Northeast Central Southwest Podunk State A&M? Do you really think that counting on, and encouraging boosters and alumni to fund MORE of your athletic program is a good idea? Besides, as a tax payer in Michigan, I would much rather see Joe College the touchdown machine from Houton, Texas, who signed with the Wolverines after having dreamed his entire childhood of playing for the 'Horns pay for his education, having benefited from the exposure he got playing for the Maize and Blue and signing after two years of doing 'C' level course work in 3 years rather than have my daughter's highschool have to give up their band program because the state only has so many dollars to go around for education at all levels. Justgary, I do not know the figures, but of the top 250 HS propects in any given year in FB and Mens' BB, how many sign a contract before their eligibility is used up, or top 50 for that matter? If anyone can get those numbers they would prove interesting, but I would bet that it is not naive to expect the vast majority of your recruits to be around for 4 years.

posted by elovrich at 12:21 PM on August 09

The player got something in return as well, exposure, training, experience. That is incidental. It is a necessary part of the school making money from their athletic programs. It is not some special benefit that the athlete gets for all his hard work. The only thing that the school gives to the athletes that costs the school something is their free education. They train the athletes only to get the best product on the field. The give the athlete exposure only to increase their own television revenue. I don't know if you realize how much money schools make off of all of this free labor that they are getting. Here's a recent article about SEC distributions to school. This is the reason why I don't understand your argument. As far as I am concerned, the athletes are already doing their fair share, they don't need schools picking their pockets, too. As for taxpayer dollars, that is a false dichotomy you have created. States are not making those choices, so it is irrelevant. The football program at Michigan is more than capable of bringing in enough money to cover their expenses. Additionally, Joe College, as you call him, is on the cover of brochures for his entire two years to bring in that money. Even with your own formula for how a scholarship pool would work, the athlete paying back that money would not work its way to your daughter's band program.

posted by bperk at 01:08 PM on August 09

The players that we are talking about are in the minority. I do not see how it is that they are having their pockets picked by the school if they are asked to repay benefits that they received for failure to fulfill an obligation, that of competing for X number of years. Of course I am not so cold-hearted that I do not also support a quid pro quo. if a player is injured and unable to fulfill his/her obligation to play, but remains academically sound enough to remain in school, his/her scholarship stays in place. As for the money working its way to the general education fund for the state under my proposal, no it would not, but neither would any of the money to run the athletic department come from that fund. And with the recovery of scholarships the need for alumni contributions, and student activity fees, and the myriad of none direct revenues that contributed to UofM's 17 million dollar athletic department profit after expenses for 2005 would not be needed. For the few athletes that would be affected by having to repay scholarships, if you were their advisor (they are not permitted agents) would you recommend that they take the certainty of a guranteed scholarship in the case of injury balanced againt the possible need to repay the scholarship if they enter the draft early? Do you think the fees to be repaid wouldn't be negotiated into their first contract? This would de facto make the drafting team the one footing the bill, and wouldn't this be just compensation for the school acting as a 'minor league'? Anything that gets alumni money out of the equation cannot be a bad thing. Anything that keeps general fees for ALL students down, cannot be a bad thing. Anything that helps to keep non-revenue producing sports viable and thereby allowing 'student-athletes' to compete with no ulterior motive of being a professional eventually, cannot be a bad thing. Anything that provides a borderline 7th round pick underclassman an incentive to stay in school and get the degree as a back up, cannot be a bad thing.

posted by elovrich at 01:46 PM on August 09

I guess we just have a fundamental disagreement. I don't think alumni dollars are ever a bad thing. I give money to my alma mater (they beg for it on a regular basis). I bet if I lived in the area, I would even be a booster (since they get better seats). Also, I appreciate the sacrifices that athletes make and how much they contribute to these schools. I think they do plenty and don't owe the schools a thing. I also don't think 18 year old kids (or even before they are 18) should have to commit military style to play sports. I think it is extreme and pretty much unnecessary. Probably some of this stems from the fact that I am not sure that the system is broken. College students, athletes or not, get out of college what they want to get out of it. If they want to pave their future, then they will. If they don't, then they won't. Getting a degree is great and all, but it is something that you can come back to later (Shaq style). If that 7th round pick's NFL career doesn't work out (as an aside a HOF inductee this time around was a 7th round pick), his college will still be there and he can get his degree then (and pay for it himself). In the meantime, college athletics provide free entertainment and a common bond for students.

posted by bperk at 02:16 PM on August 09

The players that we are talking about are in the minority. I do not see how it is that they are having their pockets picked by the school if they are asked to repay benefits that they received for failure to fulfill an obligation, that of competing for X number of years. Of course I am not so cold-hearted that I do not also support a quid pro quo. if a player is injured and unable to fulfill his/her obligation to play, but remains academically sound enough to remain in school, his/her scholarship stays in place. You see that's how I always thought it used to be and I still think that in a more perfect world that's how it should be. Naive and a fantasy, certainly, but still it's how I wish it was. I know it'll never happen but I just think it's a shame that it's not like that.

posted by commander cody at 08:42 PM on August 09

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