clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Academic Issues Arise...But is it a Big Deal?

I'm not sure what to make of this but if it's in the LAT I'm sure it's not a human interest story.

Having never attended college I wouldn't know what the courses are like or what he requirements are to graduate but obviously there is some spirit of the rules that may or may not have been followed.

The stampede of student athletes up Figueroa Street from USC to Los Angeles Trade Tech College nearly two miles away drew curious attention during summer school registration at the downtown community college last June.

Among those signing up were three 300-pound Trojans linemen, including one with academic troubles at the university. There was also the beefy linebacker son of television's "Incredible Hulk" and a succession of strapping athletes, among them millionaire ex-USC receiver Keary Colbert of the Carolina Panthers.

... Despite the time-honored tradition of athletes seeking easy classes, this one was puzzling. It wasn't basket weaving, the history of rock and roll or even ballroom dancing -- the choice of USC Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart a few months earlier.

Surprisingly to some, it was a hard-core academic class: Intermediate Spanish 3.

That is a little shocking, from what I have heard Spanish 3 is pretty tough and I would think that no matter where you take the course it would be tough, of course that's the point of the whole story that maybe someone was making it a little too easy.

Again, having not attended college I'm not quite sure where the problem is here. I can see where some can view this as an appearance of impropriety but is it breaking the rules? Plenty of students transfer credits from JC to supplement their transcripts when transferring to a 4-year institution and I am pretty sure, though not positive, that some take summer school classes at a JC for the same reason.

What doesn't look right here is that it seems that there was a mad dash for some to get into this class in order to find a way to cut corners. Who knows, but these sorts of things only hurt SC's image and I wish they would stop.

With that being said I am not surprised at all that it happens. ALL institutions that have a major athletic program enroll students who might have some academic issues and it happens more than you think or more than some will admit. Whatever the reason we have seen how big-time college athletics drive the numbers and in order to keep up with the Jones' its not hard to imagine what could go on behind the scenes.

Schools such as Air Force, Colorado State and UCSD say if applicants don't meet their standards, they are not admitted, prized recruits or not.

"All of our students, including athletes, meet at least the minimum standards for enrollment," a Colorado State official responded.

At the other end of the spectrum, according to the survey of 19 Western public institutions, were UCLA and San Diego State. Seventy percent of scholarship athletes at UCLA over the previous three years were special admits; for SDSU, that figure was 64.5 percent.

By contrast, the percentage of special admits for the general student body is far lower: about 3 percent at UCLA and 20 percent at SDSU.

"In order to be competitive in Division I-A athletics, you're going to have to have some flexibility compared to your normal admission policy," UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor Tom Lifka said. "We need those students if we're going to be competitive in certain sports."

Really?

I find that most surprising. Would flexibility also allow for what's been discussed above? I don't know. I thought that only the institution from across town only admitted the cream of the crop when it came to academic standards, including athletes. The issue discussed above may not look right but that doesn't mean its wrong and if the SD Tribune article is only partly true it shows that any program may be put into a position to keep their athletes in good academic standards and that may be the use of JC's to help their athletes keep in good standing.

When I hear the derogatory crap about cheating and a lack of academic standards I am always amused. I am certainly not an advocate of cheating and I certainly would not accept anything less than the minimum standard to maintain eligibility, as anything less does undermine the process, but in the grand scheme of things we are not talking about the debate team or some other academic competition we're talking about football and they don't play that in the classroom. Universities know this and understand that many athletes may need a little extra help. It's not a crime as the NCAA allow for it in their rules.

Of course it's a double edge sword. If said player's get into trouble I would think that the institution is irrelevant as all programs have their behavior issues from time to time and to me that's the point, no program has a monopoly on good behavior and good behavior, like bad behavior, has absolutely nothing to do with great play on the field. Educational standards have absolutely nothing to do with it either as even the best students have their problems.

While I'm not sure what it means there isn't anything that I am aware of that makes this something bad but I also won't deny that it looks a little odd.