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Do you expect college athletes to maintain high grades?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 6, 2005

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Photo of Ben Jackson

“If they are on scholarship, I would certainly expect them to keep their grades up - if they’re getting a free ride.”

Photo of Becca Zarazan

“I was a college athlete, so yes I do. It’s difficult to maintain grades with all the practices and everything, but it can be done.”

Photo of Joel Schomo

“To an extent, because they represent the university in more than just athletics.”

Photo of Abbie Hodgson

“I don’t think thereshould be any lower expectations for athletes than any other student. Academics should be their primary concern, not athletics.”

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italianprincess 11 years, 3 months ago

Sure why shouldn't they at least try to keep their grades up. Coaches in high school have their athletes keep their grades up and even cheerleaders have to also. I don't believe theres any difference.

Why go to college if you don't plan on doing anything with your life. An athlete can get injured at any given time so its always good to have a back up plan. Get good grades, graduate and make a great life for yourself.

Off to bed now, I'm done decorating the rest of the house now. Happy Birthday To Me!!!!!!!!!!...........I'm 29 again this year...........LOL.

Jclarkson 11 years, 3 months ago

Not every KU athlete demonstrates solid character, even_money......JR Giddens didn't exaclty demonstrate "solid character." Lester Earl, when at KU didnt exactly demonstrate "solid character," nor did John Randle as an athlete, CJ Giles, the football player who assaulted some couple at a country music concert, Reggie Duncan and last but not least, Mario Kinsey.

Character is an important facter, don't get me wrong. But too much is placed on an athletes ability to perform in their sport over their education. For example, take the KU mens Golf team. Can you name three people on that team off the top of your head? Maybe....but not likely. However, almost EVERYONE in Lawrence can name people on the mens basketball team.

The major issue with academics versus athletics is on the high profile sports. Schools who'se professors may be big fans, or understanding what these student-athletes are doing for the school may conveniently overlook certain assignments, or offer alternative assignments for the athletes because they are overacheiving.

Its nieve to think that your school is in fact absent from such things. To honestly look at EVERY person who has ever played basketball for KU and never gotten a break is nieve.

I had classes with some athletes. I'm not going to throw out specific names, or paint anyone specifically into bad pictures....HOWEVER, I do recall certain players who, when they attended class, sitting at the back of the lecture hall, wearing their headphones and throwing their hood up over their head. At the end of the class, they up and left, never cracked open a book.

I expect student-athletes to get good grades....but I would expect them to do it fairly. Unfortunately, money, fame and the desire to succeed in competition conveniently defeats the opportunity of a fair education. Especially when certain "student athletes" come to your institution not for an education, but mainly as a grooming stable until the pro game awaits.

GreenEyedBlues 11 years, 3 months ago

I've taken a few classes in which KU football players were exempted from tests and rather lengthy writing assignments.

They don't do that for the Chess Team or Mens' Glee! Dammit!

Jclarkson 11 years, 3 months ago

What frustrates me the most about it, is that they are athletes and get that attention....I always found it somewhat insulting that I paid good money to go to KU (although cheaper than other schools at the time) and was expected to do so much. Professors talked as though their class was the most important one ever. I was expected to do all my work regardless of what was going on in my life....Yet, because someone can bounce a basketball, or is the KU Quarterback, they were eased through their university education.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 3 months ago

After reading the news story it appears as though slacking is acceptable for athletes. How does the school persuade the professors to participate? Italian Princess made a substantial point regarding the potential for injury. Are scholarships awarded based on academic achievement? Do athletes show up on campus and suddenly are not required to actively participate in class or suddenly become "dumb"? Seems like a waste of scholarship money.

enochville 11 years, 3 months ago

Jclarkson and Greeneyedblues: I don't know when you went to school, but nowadays, the school dedicates a lot of resources to the academic performance of its atheletes. Professors are asked a couple of times each semester to provide progress reports for the atheletes in their classes. Atheletes are required to use special tutors for their classes. When I taught classes, the only provision I made was to allow them to take equivilent tests early if they were going to miss a test due to a competition with a letter from the atheletic department. But, I did the same for any student who knew in advance that they would miss a test. Many atheletes may be guilty of having their hand held by the atheletic department, but I am unaware of current instructors lowering their standards of academic excellence for them. Perhaps the football team's low grades and failure to graduate are evidence that the professors are not giving them an easy ride.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 3 months ago

Woohoo! I'm 8th!

These players should at least get passig grades and should not be exempt from anything that the other students are expected to do. Alas, this is a pipe dream.

Sigmund 11 years, 3 months ago

Good grades, well I supposed so. Considering the millions of dollars that athletics brings to the University they should at least get paid minimum wage!

enochville 11 years, 3 months ago

Oops! I just noticed I misspelled athlete in every instance in my above post.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

One thing is for sure -- the present group of KU basketball players had better be studying, because I don't see the NBA knocking on their door any time soon.

AA: You are soooo 9th. Were you an athlete in school, and thus never learned to count? : )

IP: Happy Birthday! Hope you finally kicked what was ailing you, and that you get a chance to enjoy the day.

Bowhunter writes: "A good GPA doesn't guarantee you a better job." Indeed! Just look at our President -- a man proud of having been a "C" student. All Hail Mediocrity!

trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

happy happy birthday ip-it's mine, too! :)

i'm 29 again too, is that not amazing????

italianprincess 11 years, 3 months ago

Thanks Beatrice and yes I am feeling much better now. It took about 2 months for it to go away, but at least its gone now. With is getting colder out now, I take close caution as to bundle up when I go out.

Thanks Trinity and Happy Birthday to you also. I'm not really 29 ...........LOL, I'm 42 today and feeling good.

You are as young as you feel. We are like fine wine........the older we get the better we get.

trinity 11 years, 3 months ago

you got that right sister! :D

ps-i'm actually 46 today, i'm lovvin' being this age!

oh, the ots question-i don't know if i expect 'em to maintain HIGH grades, but acceptable passing grades would be good.

enochville 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, we have a lot of December B-days. Mine was on the 1st. Happy birthday and un-birthday to all! I am glad you all were born!

PS - I condemn the assault on Dr. Mirecki. Just as we ask moderate Muslims to condemn the use of violence by radical Muslims, I want to set an example that moderate Christians condemn the use of violence by radical Christians.

jonas 11 years, 3 months ago

enochville: I doubt they were radical Christians. I would be willing to guess that they were mostly just idiots. I respect your wish to defend your faith by lambasting those who share an identity in that respect who do stupid things (typing on the fly, sorry), but I can't help but see it as a problem that we, as a whole, expect the people of one faith to apologize for or condemn bad people who just happen to share one point of identity.

I will be very clear in my viewpoint, the holding of religious beliefs or faiths IS NOT WHAT CAUSES THESE SORT OF ATTACKS. This is the same, I think, for Christian, Muslim etc. What you have is not religion or faith tarnishing someone of good mind, but someone of bad mind tarnishing religion or faith. They are performing these acts, not for their faith, but for themselves and their own anger and comfort.

Oh, yeah, the question. They should keep up at least a passing average.

italianprincess 11 years, 3 months ago

Well Happy belated Birthday to you Enochville. I hope you had a good B-Day.

I'm going to my mom's for my fav Italian dinner tonight with family then shes going to watch my youngest this Saturday night so I can go out with friends.

Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Linda Aikins 11 years, 3 months ago

First, Happy birthday to all of you!

Second, free ride? Do you know how much time they take to practice and travel and play? Most of them would be money ahead to not play sports and have a job and go to school. And the pressure on those kids has to be amazing. What if he had not made that final field goal? It would have kept us out of the bowl game. Live with that for the rest of your life!

Third, I wouldn't be surprised if the beating turned out to be staged. If it wasn't, I'll apolgize. Just a gut feeling.

Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow!

Fangorn 11 years, 3 months ago

IP: You can celebrate the thirteenth anniversary of your twenty-ninth birthday. So happy anniversary! You too, trinity. And belatedly to Enochville.

To the question: Students will struggle, excel, work, and fail regardless of their participation (or lack thereof) in sports. I believe the standards should be the same for athletes as they are for the rest of the student body. This might mean the loss of scholarships for poor academic performance, but KU is, after all, an institution of education, not athletics.

I hope the morons who beat Prof. Mirecki are caught and jailed. This whole issue has gotten far uglier than it really had to get. We don't need people like this poisoning the well further. In a civil society (assuming of course that we are one), we have to be able to disagree on important issues without letting violence into the process. This board serves as a good model. We discuss, debate, and often strongly disagree with each other, but I've never been concerned about my safety here in Lawrence. Although I do occasionally worry about one of the Bobs. . . .just kidding! Seriously, I'd be happy to share a meal with anyone on this board, including those with whom I rarely agree, and give no thouoght to my personal safety. It's sad that this isn't always the case for everyone.

badger 11 years, 3 months ago

No Pass, No Play. AND they need to be taking the same courses and doing the same work everyone else does. No easier tests, no exemptions for assignments, nothing. If they can't perform to the standards expected of every student at the University (from honors to remedial levels), then they just don't belong there. It's supposed to be an institute of higher learning, not a staging platform for a basketball team.

Special tutors are fine, study groups and programs are great, but when I went to college (in another Midwestern state) there were plenty of 'Rocks for Jocks' type classes; there were special sections of Freshman English that all the Freshman football or basketball players took. It was below remedial, and the TA for this section (a friend got stuck with it one year and flat refused to ever do it again) was handed a syllabus and a set of course rules allegedly picked by the English department but commonly known to have come straight from the athletic department. Unlimited rough drafts, no papers longer than three pages, no more than two papers in a semester, no formal due dates for any assignment, no reading assignment longer than fifteen pages, no pop quizzes, and a take-home multiple choice test at the end of the semester for a final.

Y'know, there's a whole lotta college athletes in this world, and only so many spots for professional ones. They don't do them any favors by mollycoddling them through school and giving them a degree they can't use in a field they don't understand. What do they do when they've blown out their knees? What do they do when five years have gone by and they're still the guy who only goes in when two other guys are down, and the franchise decides that a younger athlete would really be a better investment?

neopolss 11 years, 3 months ago

I used to get a bit peeved at how much sports took preference over academics at colleges, but these days I have laxed a bit on that. Education is important, and I especially address that towards Brandon Rush (get a degree dude, it's a backup plan). I also see though that KU Basketball nets the University a ton of cash, which goes to the benefit of ALL students. It also nets sponsors, and TV coverage, bringing more attendance and more dollars.

And let's not forget that these guys playing ball, are kids after all. Heck, when I was their age I was simply having fun and worrying about getting up on time. Nevermind the pressures of performing well in the national spotlight, or the criticism one may face in the newspaper. It's part of the deal, but it is also a lot for these young men and women to go through.

I know that many of the athletes at KU do take their studies seriously. I would urge all of them to take the time to earn a degree, because the pros may not work out.

ms_canada 11 years, 3 months ago

Speaking as a grama of an athlete, I would hope that he will try his darndest to get good grades when he attends the Uni. full time next year. He has always been an honor student. The hockey league in which he plays insists that the boys take at least one college course each year. These fellows range from age 16 to 22. Rob is 19 and this is his first year of full time hockey after high school. He is taking his one Uni class. The teams each have a school coach to monitor their grades while they are still in High School and to tutor them while on the road with the team. The league also will pay a years tuition for every year that they play hockey. So Rob has 3 years of tuition now paid for at the Uni. and I know he will do his best. He may play on the school team and I hope this will not interfer with the quality of his grades because we all know that now too many athletes are still in the sport at age 65 or so. There is more to life than the football field or basketball court or ice arena.

Jen Catloth 11 years, 3 months ago

Did you know that the Athletic dept. actually hires people to go around to the football and men's and women's basketabll players classes and peak in the windows and wait outside their classes to make sure that they are in class?! If they need someone following them around just to make sure they go to class how can you expect them to get good grades on their own?

Hong_Kong_Phooey 11 years, 3 months ago

I expect that if an athlete plays a major sport at a major University then their TUTOR gets them good grades. It's sad because most football teams at major Universities are comprised of thugs who just happen to be able to play the game.

irnmadn88 11 years, 3 months ago

Genetics can make you athletic, effort makes you an athlete. Genetics can make you intelligent, experience makes you smart. Talent does NOT equal character.

Just because some young person can run, jump, throw a ball, or is willing to throw themselves in front of a train, should they be held to any less academic expectation than any other student.

Until the American sports entertainment paradigm changes, scholastic athletics will remain the big budget gateway to professional sports.

irnmadn88 11 years, 3 months ago

Genetics can make you athletic, effort makes you an athlete. Genetics can make you intelligent, experience makes you smart. Talent does NOT equal character.

Just because a young person can run, jump, throw a ball, or is willing to throw themselves in front of a train, should they be held to any less academic expectation than any other student.

Until the American sports entertainment paradigm changes, scholastic athletics will remain the big budget gateway to professional sports irregardless of

bankboy119 11 years, 3 months ago

Beatrice, it would also be nice to point out that your hero JK was a C average student as well. So either president we would have had would have been C average. At least the one we have now doesn't keep switching his positions on issues.

bankboy119 11 years, 3 months ago

As for the question, I don't expect them to maintain high grades. Cs get degrees. And as we have already pointed out you can become the most powerful person in the world with a C average. Besides, some of the athletes (basketball players specifically) do not come to KU to get their degree. They come to be prepped for the NBA. What was Wayne's deal? I think over $2 million for either 2 or 4 years if I remember correctly. If not it was somewhere close to that. And no not all of them are going to make it there but getting high grades doesn't guarantee you a good job after college. The University gave them an athletic scholarship, not an academic scholarship. The athletes should maintain passing grades but should not be demanded to maintain exceptionally high grades.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

bb119: I didn't know that about JK, and I won't ask for proof -- I'll take your word for it. Besides, he isn't exactly my "hero," but I do wish he and Edwards had won. At any rate, I guess the difference is that George brags about his mediocrity as if it is something to be proud of. How can you as a fellow American not be embarrassed by this? And you are right, George doesn't switch positions -- when things get really tough he consistantly fails to act. Hope your children enjoy paying off his deficit!

neopolss 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB, I'm not sure that a 2.0 is such a bad thing. We've grown accustomed to the age of over-achievers, enough that anything short of A+ is somehow unsatisfactory. A 2.0, which is a C average, is just that - average. It's not great, it's not terrible. The A - D grade system is about as flawed as the national threat level color coded system.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

The national threat color code system isn't flawed! It makes perfect sense: Blue: All is cool. Green: Take a look over your shoulder. Orange: Trouble is afoot. Red: Read "My Pet Goat" to school kids.

Oh, and athletes should study. : )

jonas 11 years, 3 months ago

Beatrice: What if, hypothetically, I can't find any school kids, or any kind of kid at all? Should I just read it aloud to the air, or should I find some cats or what?

Bankboy: Who is this President that you're talking about? The one who doesn't keep switching positions? I don't recall seeing one of those for quite some time. . .

badger 11 years, 3 months ago


If you can't find kids, try adult goats, and if you can't get goats, try coats before cats and cats before cots.

It's all clearly lined out on the Dept. of Homeland Security web page. Also explained is how much plastic sheeting to use to wrap the goat for safety, and how to dress a goat bite.

You can get a 2.6 million dollar grant to study the effects of duct tape on goats for the prevention of anthrax and erectile dysfunction, provided you already work for a pre-certified Auxiliary US Government Agency (Halliburton or one of its many fine subsidiaries).

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 3 months ago

Ouch, Bea, what happened to the love? I counted 8 when I logged in, but Speedy Enoczolez beat me on the submit. There were a million type'os in that first post too. Since my promo I am too busy to check out OTS at work anymore - my mental breaks now history - I tried to get a quick post in. Me an athlete, no, but I could play one on TV. Being tall, the CJHS girls basketball coach wanted me to try out, but I had a problem with my ankles rolling when I ran. I do like shooting, though not really hunting, and table sports: pool, and I was at one time one of the best female shots in this town, cards, backgammon, etc. I even enjoy the occassional bingo game, though the smoking ban is about to kill that in this town.

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh A_A, you know the love is still there -- I'm just playing with ya, and goofing on the people who gripe at one another over first and second. By the way ... did you break the habit?

jonas: reading to cats will be fine, too. Plus I like the mental image.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

Happy Birthday to the December babes!! Here's hoping this is your best year ever!! I just took my December babe -- my middle child -- out to dinner last night for her birthday. I'm still of the opinion that mother's should get the present on a child's birthday but thus far I haven't been able to convince my daughters :)

Student athletes. A much misrepresented and maligned group it seems. The thugs and academic failures are actually a small number of the university's student athletes. They are the high profile teams so other athletes are often judged by them. Should they get extra help from tutors, absolutely. The football and basketball players are no more than meat on the hoof to Lew and they are often caught in the power battle between faculty and the athletic department. The university should be responsible to give them a decent education, not just find a way to simulate grades. Those athletes in the limelight today may be in a shelter tomorrow. They are in much more danger of being dismissed for bad performance than for bad grades. This and other schools should be ashamed of their inability to develop programs that can educate these kids beyond the game plays.

Grundoon Luna 11 years, 3 months ago

Alas, Bea, I was not successful in that last attempt. I am feeling motivated again, though, because I am very tired of going out in the cold to smoke. We are a non smoking house and, of course, gotta smoke outside while at work . . . I fear getting sick and feeling like crap right before I go on vacation. It would be a good time to stop, for sure.

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

Azure: Don't give up -- I quit smoking at least a dozen times before I quit :) and those were serious attempts. I think I tried every single form of tapering off. The last time just seemed to take somehow ????? and I was successful. That was many years ago!!

Ceallach 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB: You are motivated and that is a big key. You want to give the little one the benefit of a father's love for as long as possible. Cold turkey was what finally worked for me. That and a dash of determination that it would NOT beat me this time :) There's something to be said for foolish pride

Good luck and have a good night.


Staci Dark Simpson 11 years, 3 months ago

TOB- have you tried Zyban? It is the only way my hubby could quit. They have you continue to smoke for the 1st 2 weeks and at about 10 days out my chain smoking hubby was gagging every time he smoked. My son is now 3 and thats how long it has been since either of us smoked. Try it!! If your insurance won't cover you can take wellbutrin, it has the same effect. Good luck with it!!

beatrice 11 years, 3 months ago

Too late for anyone to notice, but I quit myself many years ago. Just decided I had had enough and quit cold turkey. One of the best decisions I ever made! The main thing that really helped me was when I had a craving, I didn't eat or chew gum or straws, instead I would just breath in and out in the same way as when taking a drag on a cig. Hold it for a second, then let it out. After a few of these, the craving would subside. For me, getting past the first three days was the tough part, although I believe it is completely out of your system after 21 days. Keep at it all!

bearded_gnome 11 years, 3 months ago

good night all!
Congrats to the stogie kickers! good for you!

gnome is still here, just not able to keep up on posts so well.

seems every woman in my life has had stress in the past week!
mom fell+=+compound fracture, w/complications; sister, little sister needs help figuring some the medical/relationship stuff out and whether to go out and be w/mom; mrs. gnome had big event and wasn't provided what she needed for it, by others; pakistani girl like a daughter, got in trouble (yelled at) for stuff not her trouble-major academic coping...

at least gnomedog doesn't seem to be experiencing much stress!

ANNOUNCEMENT: tomorrow afternoon, in the snow, Mrs. Gnome and I will be downtown almost all afternoon, many places on/near Mass st.

if you are the first to correctly identify me I'll buy you a cup of coffee/tea/cocoa, now, the two here who know who I am (one's in canada) doesn't compete, sorry Ceallach! but wouldn't mind a cup with you any way. <-hint, won't have gnomedog as restaurants don't let him inside.

don't really care about the question! not much into the atheletiks or however ya' spell it.

I'm LAST! fifteeeee-something!

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