Letter to the editor: No harm, no foul

To the editor:

Why all the hand-wringing over the one-and-done college athletes? Do all young people who enter college get degrees?

Of course there are good reasons for wanting to achieve higher graduation rates, but there are also bad reasons. Society has to have competent professionals, so any pressure to lower academic standards is downright dangerous for us all. What harm does the one-and-done athlete do, other than to the NCAA’s idealistic version of the “student-athlete”? The “student-athlete” is not a complete myth — there are lots of student-athletes. They don’t all, and perhaps shouldn’t all, get degrees. So what? Just going off to college, especially for a first-generation college student, is in itself a highly educational, if not life-changing, experience. At least you learn what college is all about. You meet and, I hope, make friends with all kinds of interesting people. You acquire a healthy respect for those who go on to earn degrees and, I also hope, for the scientific world-view (we could use more of that).

It will be interesting to see how many of the one-and-done athletes go back to college when their professional careers are over, or who remembers their college days and the school that gave them a leg up fondly enough to endow it with some of their millions.


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