December 30, 2008, - 1:55 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
If there’s anything the bad economy brings, I hope it’s forcing universities to cut professors’ salaries and make them work more hours–and lay a lot of them off. And I hope it also results in colleges being forced to cut their sports-industrial complexes, which are tax-funded farm teams for billionaires and future millionaires. Here’s more evidence why colleges shouldn’t have sports teams.
File it under Notes From the “Duh!” Department.
Not sure why this should be news. It’s more like confirmation of age-old truth. What is news–and predictable–is that the liberal mainstream media claims this is evidence that college athletes are the “exploited,” rather than what they really are, “the exploiters.” Oh, and they’re claiming this is evidence of racism:
Football and men’s basketball players on the nation’s big-time college teams averaged hundreds of points lower on their SATs than their classmates, and some of the gaps are so large they call into question the lengths to which schools will go to win.
The biggest gap between football players and students as a whole occurred at the University of Florida, where players scored 346 points lower than the school’s overall student body. That’s larger than the difference in scores between typical students at the University of Georgia and Harvard University.
Nationwide, football players average 220 points lower on the SAT than their classmates – and men’s basketball players average seven points less than football players.
Those figures come from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution study of 54 public universities, including the members of the six major Bowl Championship Series conferences and other schools whose teams finished the 2007-08 season ranked among the football or men’s basketball top 25.
While it’s commonly known that admission standards are different for athletes, the AJC study quantifies how wide the gap is between athletes and the general student body at major universities.
Georgia Tech’s football players had the nation’s best average SAT score, 1028 of a possible 1600, and best average high school GPA, 3.39 of a possible 4.0 in the core curriculum. But Tech’s football players still scored 315 SAT points lower on average than their classmates.
At the University of Georgia, the average football SAT was 949, which is 239 points behind the average for an undergraduate student at Georgia – and 79 points behind Tech’s football average. The Bulldogs’ average high school GPA was 2.77, or 45th out of 53 teams for which football GPAs were available. Their SAT average ranked them 22nd.
Nationwide, coaches who would never offer a scholarship to a player who was 6 inches shorter or half a second slower than other prospects routinely recruit players whose standardized test scores suggest they’re at a competitive disadvantage in the classroom. . . .
“The problem is there’s a huge world of Mickey Mouse courses and special curriculums that athletes are steered into,” said Murray Sperber, a visiting professor in the University of California’s graduate school of education and the author of four books about college athletics and college life. “The problem is there are many athletes graduating from schools who are semiliterate.”
Who gets hurt? Former Princeton University President William Bowen points to the students the colleges would have admitted if they hadn’t enrolled less qualified athletes.
“There are grounds for concern,” Bowen said. “Places at a lot of these schools are precious things. To have them allocated this way raises troubling questions about fairness, about taking advantage of educational opportunity.”
Like I said, it’s not news. But in this new economy, I hope it will lead taxpayers to say no to continuing to fund this crap. It’s a myth that sports programs, or even the revenue producers in football and men’s basketball, make money for the schools. Most college football and basketball programs are in the red and spend way more than they take in with locker rooms that look like the spas of billionaires. That’s even when you subtract the Title IX boring sports for women, which men’s sports subsidize, from the equation.
Plus, college basketball and football players are six times more likely to commit violent crimes on campus (against students who actually deserved to get in). Is that really worth any extra money they might garner for the school, but usually don’t?
I’ve written about this more times than I can count. It reminds me of the Sports Illustrated story in which a professor recounted how he asked Voshon Lenard why George Washington was considered a founding father. “George Washington . . . Name sounds familiar. Can you give me a hint?” was Lenard’s response. You have to wonder what kind of college course even asks such a basic question I learned the answer to in elementary school (I think in first grade).
Read “The Real March Madness” for more scintillating such examples.
As a former tutor for the University of Wisconsin Athletics Department, I can tell you that the athletes I tutored were mostly dumber than rocks. This spanned the races, and the exceptions spanned the races, too: the four smartest athletes I tutored–all football players, two of whom went on to the NFL–were two White guys (Tarek Saleh and Pete Monty) and two Black guys (Azree Commander and Josh Dickerson). They were the exceptions to the rule of dumb athletes and didn’t really need my help.