October 25, 2007

NCAA: Graduate or Die, But Once You Do.......

The always insightful Ivan Maisel, of ESPN.com, brought something to my attention today. Boston College has TWELVE starters who have already graduated. That means they have 12 guys, including Matt Ryan, who are totally free to be full-time football players during the day, provided they are enrolled in three night graduate classes per semester.

This dovetails nicely with our discussion about graduation rate and NCAA basketball. I argued that kids should be able to use their scholarships however they wished, considering that students whose parents pay are not ridiculed for failing to finish. This is just the opposite situation. The guys are being given an opportunity to play college football WITHOUT having to pretend to strive for a degree. They got one. They're not student athletes anymore, but rather college graduates who are taking sham classes in order to continue to showcase their skills.

blblahhbahblahblah Matt Ryan is seven degrees short of ECB.

Not surprisingly, people get up in arms when urban black athlete plays basketball for two years and then leaves for the pros. No one gets upset when suburban white athlete graduates in the typical four years and then uses his college to get exposure for professional football in his fifth year.

(The racial distinction is merely stereotypical, as Maryland basketball's Obinna Ekezie obtained two engineering degrees in his five years. EJ Henderson, now LB for the Vikes, also played as a graduate student his senior year. Friedgen always let the graduate students eat before anyone else, including coaches.)

What's my point? Both are the same thing. One gets Billy Packer's anus tight, and the other gets Brent Musberger creaming the mike, but both athletes are abusing the NCAA system for their own gain. The athlete who leaves early for the pros used the NCAA for fame and fortune. The athlete who stayed after he graduates used the NCAA for one last shot at the pros and free grad school. Or, really, to improve his draft status. Isn't that what Carmelo Anthony did?

3 Responses:

"ben" said...

You've kind of lost me. If they are graduate students, they are still student athletes. The classes are probably no more sham classes than the undergraduate classes.

I don't think you really made any real distinction. Here is a question, though:

Basketball starts in fall semester and ends in winter/spring semester. Say a senior has earned enough credits to graduate at the end of December. Does he then have to take sham graduate courses in order to play through March, or is he truly a full-time athlete at that point?

J-Red said...

The distinction is that there is no graduate degree I know of that can be obtained in one year taking 9 credits a semester.

Regarding baseball, that is a good question. I am pretty sure 9 credits are required to play, so the baseball player probably just doesn't declare for graduation until May.

"ben" said...

Baseball or basketball?

Anyway, regarding the graduate degrees, let's take Ryan Mundy (a grad student at WVA who transferred from Michigan).

Because he redshirted, he still had a year of eligibility left. I don't know what he's studying, but let's just assume it's a two-year masters program (I believe there are one-year masters programs, by the way).

He plays this year on scholarship and has one more year to earn the degree. His football career is over in the NCAA, so maybe he decides to leave his grad program early for the NFL, which is just like anyone who leaves undergrad early for the NFL.

Once he realizes no one in the NFL is going to draft him, maybe he will go back for year two to earn his degree. And lucky him, he only had to take out student loans for one year instead of two because he played football. Maybe he even gets hired as a graduate assistant.

I'm just saying, I don't think it's hypocritcal or anything bad by letting grad students play.

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