Some People Never Learn...

The story that came out of Columbus, Ohio Sunday hit Divison I athletics like a cannon shot, what were they thinking? <br><br> Everyone around here thought that they were really going to get serious about academics at <b>Ohio State Football</b>, and the new head coach was leading the way. Given the report by the <i>New York Times</i> Sunday, Coach Roy isn't so sure...

I hope the reports prove wrong...
but those are some serious allegations oozing out of Columbus about OSU and the Big 10's star running back, Maurice Clarett.

NU fans who have complained about our entrance requirments and how we make it tough for students to achieve on both the field and classroom should take careful note of what is alledged and how NU Head Coach Randy Walker has acted in academic situations.

Coach Walker was appraised of some possible academic difficulties surrounding one dual sport player - the player was told to make a choice - he did and is still playing baseball. We also know the story about Trai Essex, who took last Spring off from football at Walker's request to address some "academic concerns." Trai is back with the team, having devoted the required time to his classes.

So head football coaches can deal with academic issues, if they choose to take that role, but some of the reports coming from Columbus included special oral tests being administered for the star tailback, along with completed termpapers appearing on other player's tutors' desks, notebooks with homework assignments filled in; in short, there were a lot of shortcuts taken when football players were involved.

Now, Northwestern does have ways for students with legitimate learning disabilities to take oral exams and it happens all the time. Many NU fans also know about football players who have goofed off in a class, and earned failing or low grades. It happens at NU.

What also is disturbing about the Maurice Clarett situation is that he graduated from High School early, with good grades, but found certain courses as OSU difficult. That raises the red flag with me -- about grade inflation.

Until we can remove the tendency among some high school teachers to "help out" athletes with good grades, there has to be some independent standard component present in the method of choosing incoming freshmen. Whether or not the SAT/ACT is biased against certain races/cultures is immaterial. The fact that some athletes, regardless of race*, can take an SAT refresher course and raise their scores significantly shows that while many of these kids are smart enough the will to succeed academically is apparently not implanted in many athlete's minds by parents, guardians, or other role models.

The alternative is more stories coming out of our college athletic programs like the one in the New York Times Sunday.
-- da Coach


*Those who follow College Basketball know of the story of the Gary Williams', who originally didn't qualify for Maryland or Div I play, but who took an SAT course and raised his SAT high enough to qualify for some Ivy League schools.

You can send your direct comments or
"back door" information
to Coach Roy - rstetson@capps-assoc.com

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