Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education, says that teams that cannot graduate 50% of their players should not be allowed to enter the NCAA Tournament. Two teams specifically mentioned as having unsatisfactory graduation rates are Purdue and…you guessed it, Syracuse.

It’s not realistic to hold athletes to the same requirements as other
students whose only other commitments are getting ready to go drink and
maybe getting around to answering that latest Facebook post. Sure, we could make sure that 50% of the student-athletes on the team graduate each year, but really wouldn’t that just mean telling professors, “Hey, listen, we’ve got a national tournament coming up so yeah, sure, whatever, he didn’t come to class at all and doesn’t even know he’s enrolled, but you’re gonna need to give him a C. We’ve got a trophy to win.”

I think there needs to be a different approach.

Rather than going through the immoral act of coercing a geology professor into passing someone who doesn’t know the difference between an igneous and an ignoramus, wouldn’t it make more sense to design classes specifically for athletes? Those guys practice their balls off. If I were working out and conditioning for 8 hours a day, there’s not a chance in hell I’d go home and write a paper about–well, anything. I wouldn’t write shit. What we need are classes that have minimal (read: realistic) requirements. Classes that allow athletes to show up when they feel like it and take tests when they have time. Classes that work around their insane practice schedules and realize that these guys have other things on their plates, like being able to go pro and make way more money than anyone who took the time to get a degree.

And, if it’s too much to ask to allot specific classes for athletes, there’s always the timeless art of paying other people to take your exams and write your papers. Anyone need anything written? Anyone?