Pardon me for deviating from my normal Grizzlies blogs to discuss something that has become an embarrassment for our city: cheating at colleges.
I was discussing this with a friend just last week. Isuggested that the NCAA should ban athletic scholarships entirely. College isn’t a place for training athletes. It is a place for developing minds. If the NCAA stopped offering athletics-only scholarships entirely then the professional sports leagues would be forced topick up the slack and found development leagues for athletes who only want to play sports. Baseball already has a development league in place taking kids out of high school. The NBA has the NBDL (and yes D stands for Development) league.This is how it is done around the world and why people like Ricky Rubio can be a professional basketball player at 14.
There will never be a scandal involving a Spanish college altering transcripts to enable Rubio to play basketball for their school.
Colleges can always continue to have teams and let students play the sport but instead of spending millions of dollars on borderline students who happen to be excellent athletes the classes would be filled with students wanting an education and willing to make the commitment to study instead of play games after school.
There is an educational crisis going on in this country. India, China, Europe, countries all over the world are producing better students and doing so without any athletic scholarships for athletes. The Ivy League just had a team competing for the national championship in Lacrosse without a single student on the team getting an athletic scholarship. Not just at Cornell but in the entire Ivy League no scholarships are offered for athletes.College athletics would survive and the colleges would be back in the business of developing students minds instead of figuring out ways to get an athlete to appear to be a student.
This wouldn’t mean the end of college athletics but it would mean that scholarship would become the most important focus of colleges and these tales of college indiscretion in recruiting would be negated somewhat. Even if colleges continued to cheat to get students at least their focus would be on getting the best thinkers not the best basketball players. A great student can also be a great athlete but colleges need to stop subsidizing young people whose sole focus is athletics not education. Let the professional leagues develop these people like baseball has done for years. This is how it is done everywhere but in the USA.
A friend of mine argued that athletic scholarships help minority students attend college who wouldn’t normally go. That is true. Many students who would otherwise not qualify for college are admitted every year because they are good athletes and every desk in every classroom that is filled by those people is not filled with someone seriously pursuing an academic career. There are not unlimited amounts of space in college. For every athlete who wouldn’t qualify academically there is a student who did qualify who is not admitted.
Let me be clear, I am in favor of attracting minority students with scholarships but the money not used on athletics could be transferred to minority scholarships to help smart kids who worked on developing their minds. If this country wants to educate their populace then they need to focus the higher learning institutions on getting the best students and not on getting the best athletes.
This entire situation with Coach Cal and the Tiger basketball team would never have occurred if the Tigers were focused on promoting students instead of athletics. It is embarrassing for our city to have the school dragged through the mud like this. What’s more it is disgraceful that our country tolerates such things with regularity while our graduate schools are filled with more and more international students because they are more educated than our own. Every dollar spent on promoting athletes grades to qualify at the lowest level of acceptance is a dollar that should have been spent finding astudent wantingto develop into a great thinker.
I’m getting off my soap box now. Back to the discussion of the Grizzlies and their draft picks.