From reading the comments left in the wake of the A2 News' "expose" on Michigan athletes and their academic records, I now have a splitting headache from all the arguing. You can break down the commenters into 3 categories.
1. Irrational haters: Michigan is a FRAUD! I used one of the shorter comments, as most of the "haters" wrote novel length diatribes. Here's a brief thought from a commenter named ndifranco.
I think many of you are hilarious. Your sole defense for Michigan's actions is "Everyone else is doing it too." That's some solid, solid footing.
It's good to see the high road goes nowhere through your town.
2. Those wearing maize and blue colored glasses: Michigan does no wrong. EVER! The Ann Arbor news should never have gone forward with this! The not ironically named cartythehack says...
Nobody else even dignify this blog with a response or even a view. I'm about to cancel my A2News subscription do to this unbearably biased Carty and his squad of HACKS. If you really want to do something about this, cancel your AANews subscription or don't even read tomorrow's "smoking gun"
Congratulations Carty, you are officially the most biased and uninformed "journalist" I have ever wasted my time reading.
3. Those with common sense, who realize this is not a U of M issue. It's an NCAA issue. Athletes get help at EVERY D1 school. Here's the thoughts of a w2j2.
I do not think these articles indict UM as much as they point out the universal student-athlete dilemna.
I think these articles help detail some of the history of this issue at UM, and call for a re-emphasis on helping these students.
The university should continue to focus on and help these students earn their college degree. If that takes special tutoring, monitoring, and/or independent study, then do it.
These kids physically train 42 hours per week for the univeristy. The university should, in turn, provide whatever help it takes for them to succeed academicly.
Personally, I find the irrational haters the most entertaining. He who never took the occasional very easy classes in high school and/or college, and did so voluntarily, can cast the first stone. Otherwise, can the self-righteousness.
Add me to the common sense category. Is this really as big of a deal as the A2 News is making it out to be? Not really. To think the athletes at ANY school competing at an elite level (The Big 10 is definitely elite, no matter how ugly the hoops were during the post season tournament) don't get vast amounts of help in completing their studies, sometimes pointed towards easier classes, is being delusional. To also think that the athletes at said school should be expected to complete their studies without help is being delusional.
When it comes down to it, the kids playing major college sports are working full time jobs, with plenty of overtime. It's a 40+ hour week, with a ton of travel, and plenty of nights and weekends involved. If you ask me, I don't know how those athletes simutaniously train, attend classes and study, no matter how easy or tough the classes.
They should get all the credit in the world for taking full advantage of a system (independent study, one on one with professors, academic advisers) that is essentially taking advantage of their athletic ability. If they walk away with a degree from Michigan in any major, they are off to a good start in life.
Is Michigan guilty of arrogance? To a fault. Do they claim to be an academically advanced school? Most deservedly, but not because of the athletes. Is Michigan breaking any NCAA rules? From what I've read so far, no. Are there exceptions to the rule? Of course. I'm sure there are plenty of Michigan athletes who, when looking back, may have done things differently. Christ, so does EVERYONE who's ever attended college at any level.
Big time college sports is a massively flawed system. NCAA athletes are professional in every sense of the word, save for one. They don't see any of the monstrous amounts of money their efforts generate. If any one is to blame, it's the NCAA, and the member schools, themselves, save for their scholarship. ("Scholar" being slightly exaggerated) The schools quite like getting large suitcases filled with cash from the TV networks, and don't want the exposure, or the spigot of consistently flowing cash, to stop.
If you want to see more complete dissertations of the A2 News' and Jim Carty's hatchet job, head to the Wolverines-centric blogs...
Any school other than Duke or Vandy or Stanford will take any player who meets NCAA minimums that, on a non-athlete application, would be laughed out of the admissions office, and Duke and Vandy and Stanford (and the Ivy leagues) all bend their admissions standards severely. The NCAA has instituted punishments for schools that do not keep their players in school and on track for a degree.
Brief Synopsis of Carty's Arguments:
1) There are easy classes at the University.
2) Some athletes take these easy classes.
3) Academic advisors help athletes pick their classes.
All of these points so far are like, duh. He is actually trying to criticize advisors for doing their jobs, which... what?
Michigan Sports Center:
I'd like to thank the Ann Arbor News for pointing out the obvious. Maybe Monday they'll run a series about how water is wet and the grass is green. Also, I hear that the sun might rise tomorrow. Any truth to that?
That's "Above the Fold" for Monday, 3-17-08!