Saturday, January 18, 2014

Illiterate Athletes a Symptom of Nationwide Problem

From Luke DeCock, at the Charlotte News & Observer, "North Carolina now a national symbol of dysfunction in college athletics":
As bad as things are at North Carolina, the truth is, North Carolina is far from alone. This time, everybody else is doing it.

We’ve been told a million times that it’s OK for athletic departments, bowls and television networks to make billions of dollars on the backs of these kids, primarily basketball and football players, because “they get a free education.”

Well, what if they don’t?

What if they’re admitted unprepared for college, given just enough help to stay eligible, and then given the boot when their time is up, no better prepared for real life, no better educated than they were when they first arrived on campus?

That’s not compensation. That is, as McAdoo put it, “a scam.”

The exploitation of college athletes, unpaid employees in an industry that generates billions of dollars, is crooked enough even when they get the education they’re promised. If they’re just being shuffled along, ignored or put deliberately into sham classes, it’s not only intellectually dishonest, it borders on fraud.
More at that top link.

I've been aggressive in covering this story because it hits so close to home. Athletes are the least prepared and least successful students in my classes. I've complained about it for years on campus, but even lowly community colleges have a huge investment in big-time sports programs. And LBCC is a large community college with a big athletic program. Needless to say, blacks are the very least prepared of all my students. It's such a problem, and so frustrating, I pull my hair out every semester. But there's little discussion institutionally, and little sympathy with the faculty on the matter.