Friday, December 18, 2009

Missing class argument shows a lack of it.

It's the most wonderful time of year. No, not dealing with all the family and crowded malls and dwindling bank accounts. It's bowl season, when teams dream of going to far off, dreamy destinations like.....Boise, Albuquerque and Detroit. It also rekindles the age-old discussion: playoffs, or no playoffs? Having covered Division I athletics for several years, I've had the good fortune of covering tournament runs in many sports. The excitement they generate is hard to describe in a blog. It's a feeling that is generated as your team advances towards a possible title. But once again, this will not be done in D-I football. And once again, college presidents are failing us.

The most mind-numbing explanation given is something to the effect of, "well, our student-athletes would miss a lot of class, especially around finals." I will tackle this from a few angles. First, the use of the phrase "student-athletes" can be at times, silly. Except for a handful of institutions, these schools could honestly care less if the kids graduate. The only attendance they're concerned about is at the stadium, not the classroom. Many of these kids are in school only because of their amazing athletic talent, and unfortunately do not take advantage of a free education that you and I would drool over.

Second, football players miss less class than pretty much every other athlete on campus. Most games are on weekends. You have a better chance seeing a football player in class Tuesday than a volleyball player. With the exception of the occasional weeknight game, football players are on campus all week long. The same cannot be said for soccer, field hockey, basketball, etc...who do a lot of traveling Monday-Friday.

Finally, with today's technology, studying on the road has never been easier. Laptops, smartphones, web-based's quite convenient for students to learn while away from campus. Trust me, as the husband of a college professor, she's on call 24/7 thanks to all of it.

So let's call a spade a spade. The lack of a playoff isn't due to keeping the best interests of the student-athlete in mind. It's keeping the best (i.e.-financial) interests of BCS schools in mind. So until then, we'll watch, because that's who we are. But at least we're willing to admit who WE are.


  1. Doctor Awesome6:05 PM

    I agree that we need a playoff system in Division I will make it more exciting and hopefully reduce the biased class based BCS system, although I am not sure that would be true. But I disagree with blaming high profile male athletes for not pursuing a full education while on campus. First, their bodies are owned from the second they wake up until they go to sleep. They eat breakfast and dinner together, they watch films, they lift weights, they practice and in all of this they are expected to get an education in the spaced in between. Not an easy task. Second, they are worshiped by students and many, but not all, faculty. They are almost expected to not want to get an education. As a college professor, I once had a student-athlete purposely not tell me he was an athlete as he didn't want special treatment of to be treated as if stupid. Third, why do we expect these athletes to be students? They are forced to come to college because of the ridiculous one year in college rule. Lastly, we are also forgetting the many athletes who play all four years and get degrees. Unless we remove the one year in college rule, create a minor league system for the high profile sports, and/or start treating these athletes like they are students then we will continue to see them as athletes, not student-athletes.

  2. The basic problem about regular classes is that most of the student's are not present daily at time to take classes lectures therefore online education platforms helps everyone to learn from the source of internet.