Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The REAL March Madness: Universities that aren't

There's a major team missing from this year's tournament for a simple reason:  the players so great on the court are pretty lousy in the classroom.   The Huskies of the University of Connecticut have to watch instead of play in the tournament because they didn't meet NCAA academic standards.   And in a piece to USA Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a suggestion:  punish the coaches.

Wrong challenge.   The problem isn't the coach.   It's the university.

Punish the provost.   Punish the university president.

Every university should take this challenge posed by a former university provost, Jon Ericson, the founder of the Drake Group.   The Drake Group is concerned with academic integrity.   The question reporters should be asking their university presidents and provosts is why aren't they?
Both political parties claim university education is crucially important.   So ask your members of Congress if they believe it's good education policy for the highest paid public employee in state after state to be either a football coach or a basketball coach?  Do your members of Congress agree its good education policy for universities to have easy-A courses to keep athletes eligible?    Do they agree with Jon Ericson's challenge?  What's your governor think?   Is the governor truly concerned about education, or is your governor just another pom pom waver who doesn't want to lift the hood on the troubled engine of higher education?

By the way, considering how much time players spend on the road during the season and the tournament, how are they able to miss so many classes and still get good grades?   How many sports reporters have done that story?

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