Michigan graduates less than half of the African Americans who enroll as "students" and play football, yet this is supposedly a program that serves as a beacon for others?
USC graduates just barely over half of the "students" who go to school there and play football and Pete Carroll plays jokester while Trojans implode in the NFL due to character issues, yet this is held up as a model program?
That we continue to celebrate teams who use and discard student athletes is the real tragedy of college football.
Not only do many student athletes at "football schools" fail to graduate, but even for those that do graduate, many have been railroaded into majors that leave them with few options if their NFL ambitions fail (as happens for even for most 5-Star recruits.) So this is simple: If you're graduating less than half of your players in any segment and they're not being given a chance to pursue a meaningful major (see Michigan) then you're far, far worse than "arrogant"... you're an institution that legitimizes exploitation.
While all this plays out in the background (literally thousands of kids used by schools who dangle the possibility of college stardom and the NFL in front of them in exchange for their pledge to win one for the ripper) writers and talking heads stick their pens, computers and heads in the sand, ignore the obvious injustice and instead fruitlessly and mistakenly waste their time on perceived Notre Dame "arrogance."
The reality is this: Notre Dame graduates its players at an almost unprecedented rate for a top program. Notre Dame makes allowances for great athletes, but it also immerses those athletes in a culture that breeds success. Other schools wall off their best athletes and treat them like zoo attractions, living in special dorms, making them eat at "football only" cafeterias and unburdening them with high level classes.
While the majority of Michigan's players are forced into "football majors" that lead to nowhere, an examination of Notre Dame players shows that they're being "herded" into the 3rd best undergraduate business school in the country... and even players who were considered marginal students when they arrived in South Bend are succeeding because they're finally being taught how to succeed.
Here's what's different: At Notre Dame, these athletes are surrounded by competitive students AND great football players. At other schools they're treated so differently they never develop the skills necessary to compete in the real world. This isn't to say football players don't get special assistance, they do, but they're given it with the expectation that it will make them better... and it works.
The irony of the attacks of the masses on Notre Dame is that most of the attacks come from educated professionals who absolutely know better, but still can't help themselves. When Charlie Weis says he's not going to recruit thugs, part of that is just blunt talking Charlie prone to a touch of hyperbole, but part of that is fact. I won't name names, but there are kids playing in South Central who would be considered thugs by normal society; they have arrest records for assault that were known before they were recruited. They're what normal society considers thugs.
Is that arrogance to state you're not going to recruit thugs...
or is it sanity?
He's mirroring Bill Parcell's comments last year: "I don't want thugs and hoodlums on the team," Parcells said of the types of players he'll try to acquire. "I really don't. I don't want bad-character guys. I don't want problem children." - Bill Parcells
Notre Dame's won the CFA award more than any other major college football program. It's also won more national championships. It also graduates almost 100% of the student athletes who enroll there and stay for four years and it does that by supporting them and immersing them in a culture that's "inclusionary" rather than exclusionary. The team GPA has set records under Weis because he makes players become students. Notre Dame isn't the only school having success here, either.
How anyone with an ounce of empathy for the kids who are being used by big time programs can point at this as anything other than a positive boggles the senses. Look, Mario Manningham scored a 6 on the Wonderlic, not a 16, a 6. A 20 equals an IQ of a 100. Of 5 players scoring over 30 that were released, 3 were from Notre Dame.
The other day a New York Times writer of little note (yes that's the dork from Jersey on the left) decried the fact that Notre Dame wanted to play Rutgers' home games in a big time venue (and wrote that column with the tone and maturity of a jilted school girl) yet made no mention of the fact that other schools such as Ohio State aren't even giving any home games to some of their opposition. None. Zero. You play us and thank us for the privilege. He also failed to mention that Notre Dame's Big East affiliation helped saved the Big East from falling into oblivion and is the reason it's able to negotiate secondary bowl deals. What Notre Dame is doing is what's happening all over college football. Big schools are padding their schedules, moving to play more games at home and just aren't agreeing to home and homes. The rules are changing. That's the story and it's not hard to figure out.
Look at who the Buckeyes played out of conference last year:
|Youngstown State (Alumni Band)||Columbus, Ohio|
|Akron (Hall of Fame)||Columbus, Ohio|
|Washington||at Seattle, Wash.|
|Kent State||Columbus, Ohio|
And Youngstown State doesn't even get a home game out of the deal. It's an away and an away. They play in Columbus next year as well. Neither does Akron. Of course that's more money, but what about the spirit of the game? I can hear you snickering. The havenots have to play Ohio State on Columbus turf. The Buckeyes won't set foot in Akron, Youngstown or Troy all of whom are on the OSU schedule. They don't have to because they know the payday is worth it to the havenots. So Ohio Sate can schedule these teams pretty much as they want with no notion of a fair trade. The Gators are are doing the same thing. They play(ed) Western Kentucky, Troy and Florida Atlantic all in Gainesville. None will entertain the Gators for a home game.
Now, I'm not saying Notre Dame is right here (I don't agree with it)... but the lack of professional perspective by a New York Times writer is... uh... never mind. The reality is that it's happening all over the country, but this "balanced writer" would rather focus on ND "arrogance," ignore perspective and the serious problems underpinning college football which are these:
- Players are being paid rather blatantly across the country. Want an easy story, just show up in the parking lot of any big time school or show up at their off campus apartment. No one in the media cares.
- Players don't graduate and don't make the NFL. No one in the media cares.
- Players graduate with useless majors. No one in the media cares.
- Teams over recruit players (this is you Nick Saban) knowing they're going to have to kick some players to the curb. No one in the media cares.
- Teams win while violating almost every ethical standard surrounding student-athletes. No one in the media cares.
- Schools are scheduling cupcakes to increase their chances of making the BCS. No one in the media cares.
- The conference superpowers engineer fictitious conference games for extra revenue, while killing the idea of a playoff. No one in the media cares.
In short, show some guts you collection of vapid, attention seeking hypocrites.
Recognize what's impossible to miss and embrace the good that's going on around you, because if you don't your profession (presumably your life's work) is worth exactly what a fleeting moment of air time or day of Internet hits is worth, just a small inconsequential blip on the corporate bottom line.
Aim to be something greater than a media "hair puller" looking for a reaction.
Enough of the bullshit.