How college sports cheat student athletes and all of our college-bound children!
University of North Carolina (UNC) enabled fake courses for 3,100 student athletes. How many other colleges in the United States are committing this same crime not only for athletes but other students? How many Congressman and Senators knew this was happening and never brought it to the light of day? How in the world was this any advantage for any student because when they received this paperless diplomas and when they went out into the world and knew nothing – absolutely nothing? What about Jeb Bush who has been working on “Common Core?” Where was he all of this time?
Colleges are breaking the promise made to students in sports. In return for hard work on the athletic field, colleges owe students an education. Unionization move would provide protections for student athletes – that is not true because the unions only want to get their hands on the big bucks involved.
(CNN) — Most kids, and parents, think of college as the place you go to get a “higher education.” It didn’t turn out that way for at least 3,100 students at the University of North Carolina.
CNN reporter Sara Ganim has been reporting the story out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that university staff and athletic coaches encouraged student athletes to take “fake classes” in order to get fake grades that would allow them to keep playing sports and spend their extra time practicing instead of studying.
University staff saw so-called paper classes and the artificially inflated grades they handed out “as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible,” a former prosecutor wrote in an independent report documenting 18 years of such cheating. CNN reports at least four UNC employees have been fired and five have been disciplined in the scandal.
“As an athlete, we weren’t really there for an education,” Rashad McCants, the second-leading scorer on the championship University of North Carolina basketball team 10 years ago, told CNN’s Carol Costello. “You get a scholarship to the university to play basketball,” he said. In other words, the point wasn’t for him to actually learn. That’s just sad.
“The university makes money off us athletes,” McCants told Costello, “and they give us this fake education as a distraction.” When McCants first made these remarks, university representatives tried to shoot the messenger, attacking him and his credibility. Now, an official report suggests that not only was McCants telling the truth but that at least 3,100 other students share his story.
And I think it’s safe to assume that while the degree of inventing classes from thin air in order to pass athletes may have reached extreme levels of immorality, if not criminality, at UNC, thousands and thousands of other student athletes have been robbed of a quality education at universities all across America because their bodies are treated as far more important than their minds.
Players and their loved ones are understandably angry. In March, Northwestern University’s scholarship football players won the right under the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. Players voted in April, though the results have not yet been made public. If the union vote succeeds by a majority vote, the athletes could be covered by workers’ compensation, qualify for unemployment benefits and even participate in revenue sharing.
As is, football players are practicing 50 to 60 hours a week — more than most full-time jobs — and risking all kinds of long-term health effects, not the least of which are head injuries. In rare cases, players who are hurt can have their scholarships revoked and lose access to whatever paltry education they were receiving in the first place.
These kids, many of whom are young black men, are plainly being exploited. As the hype around college sports has intensified — especially the astronomical money to be made by universities in increasingly lucrative TV deals — universities have gained more and more from sports programs. Meanwhile, the demands on student athletes have risen as well, but the compensation and support for athletes have remained the same. College sports increasingly look just like professional sports except for one big difference: the amateurish, abusive treatment of college athletes.
Not surprisingly, universities and their athletic departments oppose college players forming unions. “I look at them as part of our family in a way,” University of Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops told ESPN around the time of the Northwestern vote. “We’re here to support them and help them in every way possible, and help guide them and help them get their education and develop them to be as good of athletes as they want to be.”
Family, eh? That’s a coded metaphor: the coach and university as the strong parents, the students as kids who should just be grateful for a roof over their heads and do whatever they’re told.
How does that play out in real life? One study found that 10% of University of Oklahoma athletes in sports that make revenue read below a fourth-grade level. “College presidents have put in jeopardy the academic credibility of their universities just so we can have this entertainment industry,” Oklahoma professor Gerald Gurney, who conducted the study, told CNN. That “entertainment industry” seems to be working fine for the pseudo “parents” who run college sports. This season, coach Stoops will be paid $5.25 million.
It’s not looking likely that my own daughter, who is in first grade, will eventually get a sports scholarship to college. She’s still trying to figure out her left foot from her right foot. But if she gets a music scholarship or a drama scholarship or maybe some recognition for macrame skills or what have you, I fully expect that her talent will be fully drawn upon while she’s at college — but also that she’ll get an education.
After all, most French horn players don’t go on to careers in professional orchestras — they become doctors or lawyers or accountants or elementary school teachers. And for that, they need an education. The same is true of college athletes. The vast majority won’t play post-college professional sports, and they need that education, not just a nominal version but a quality one, to prepare for later in life.
My view is that elite college athletes should form unions. There are plenty of practical reasons why, as effective athletic employees, they should do so. But at the very least, the basic bargain of college scholarship sports — that you play on the team in exchange for an education — shouldn’t be a con game, with students worked to the bone but robbed of the chance to learn. Let’s hope the revelations at UNC will help start to fix this profound problem in college athletics.
I totally disagree with unions involved with college sports. There is too much corruption in the unions. All the union wants is they see the dollar signs in this business and want to get in on the act.
Why journalists hate to write about education
Kevin Carey, director of the education policy program at the New America Foundation and an education journalist himself, wrote an interesting Twitter essay this morning about why journalists mostly don’t like to cover education. The whole thing is here, but these are the main points:
Carey argues that most journalists avoid education writing because it’s complex and incremental, lacking the immediate drama and conflict of reporting on politics or foreign affairs or business. There aren’t clear heroes or villains; the real issue — learning — is difficult to portray. (That’s why many of the best education stories are reported out over an entire school year and written afterward.)
This is undeniably true, but I don’t think it explains everything.
Education has a few strikes against it. The bread-and-butter of education reporting is still covering local schools, a starter assignment that ambitious journalists often want to escape. Education, like other policy issues, can feature a forest of impenetrable jargon that’s difficult for newcomers to pick up. And most journalists want to write about power — they chronicle the clashes of powerful entities, or hold the powerful accountable on behalf of the powerless, or just rub elbows with power players. Education isn’t a field filled with the traditionally powerful.
Education reporting is a pink ghetto
Those are symptoms, though, not causes. If journalists thought education was as important as many readers do, it would be a prestige beat to rival City Hall. If school superintendents and state officials were covered like titans of industry, they’d seem powerful enough to be interesting and potentially malevolent enough to be worth holding to account.
But there are other factors at play here, too. Writing about K-12 education still usually means writing about, and for, women. Carey generously says “people” here, but he could just as easily say “mothers”:
The traditional audience for education reporting is moms. And moms aren’t usually considered a prestige audience.
Maybe as a result, education reporting features far more work by women than other areas of politics and policy. The Women’s Media Center studied bylines at the 20 most widely read and viewed news outlets in the US in late 2013. They found that women contributed 36 percent of all coverage. They came close to having equal numbers of bylines in only a few areas: health, “lifestyle,” culture — and education. (The study doesn’t look at smaller newspapers, but my impression from years of reading local education coverage is that the gender gap is even more pronounced there. Interestingly, it barely exists in higher education coverage.)
In other words, education is as close as “hard news” journalism gets to a pink ghetto. Education news is the policy equivalent of the women’s pages. And research has found that jobs held by women are often less valued than those held by men. This is as true in newsrooms as it is in health care, where nurses are mostly women, or in education itself, where teachers are mostly women but higher-up officials tend to be men.
Education isn’t at the center of the national conversation
Even less prestigious beats can blow up if they’re at the center of a national policy debate. There’s nothing particularly glamorous about covering health care, which is as impenetrable and incremental as education. Then health-care reform spent years at the center of political debate, and suddenly journalists were clamoring to cover it.
Education policy is still primarily made on the state and local levels. The federal government simply has much less power over education than it does over health care or taxes. So education doesn’t obsess Washington for months on end in the way those policies routinely do.
There are exceptions to this, of course. Congress passed No Child Left Behind in 2001, but they haven’t reauthorized it since then. In recent years, the education reform movement has created some national efforts, such as the Common Core standards and the growth of charter schools, but even those are implemented on the state and local level. If became the locus for repeated national fights, a wave of education journalism would probably follow. But given the support among the American public for local control of schools, it’s likely to remain a local issue that moms care about the most — and, sadly, that’s a recipe for many journalists not wanting to cover it.
If colleges are going to have sports as a business instead of a part of the college experience with learning being in first place – then it needs to be set aside without the courses. With the tuition these colleges charge and the endowments, they don’t even need the football money. Just visit any large college and you will see a resort – not a school of learning. On top of that, the tenured Liberal professors are brain-washing our young people and living a life of “Riley” and look upon the parents as “stupid” to allow all of this to continue. Where are the state governments who send the colleges this money which in their eyes is “petty cash?” We need an investigation to cover all of the colleges and find out what their procedures are as a “school of learning for our children” or are our children just a vehicle to produce money for the colleges. The jig is up!