The art of the possible. Bradley R.H. Bethel, an assistant learning specialist from Ohio State, provided a strong piece for Inside Higher Ed in response to a Feb. 7 piece from Oklahoma’s Gerald Gurney.
The wrong approach on NCAA rules (Bradley R.H. Bethel, Inside Higher Ed)
Recognizing that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong on this issue, the Bethel piece seems more persuasive than Gurney’s.
Illustrating his point through an academically disadvantaged student-athlete that he calls “Mark,” Bethel makes the point that remedial support can provide life-changing results for young people willing to do the work.
“ ‘Mark’ will probably never be a Rhodes Scholar,” Bethel wrote. “He is not likely to attend graduate school and probably will not earn Latin honors as an undergraduate. However, as our few months together have shown, he is far more capable than his ACT score indicates. Because of his hard work and my colleagues’ and my commitment to his learning, Mark has a chance to earn a college degree. He is on the verge of success, yet he is one of the athletes Gerald Gurney would have denied NCAA admission because Mark’s ACT score was too low.”
Determining where the provision of opportunity ends and exploitation begins is difficult. But Bethel’s article offers a compassionate and socially constructive perspective, based on the belief that individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds often outperform their standardized test scores once they are placed in a stronger academic setting.
He also notes, correctly in my mind, that the goal here is not necessarily to produce high-end scholars but rather to develop certain young people’s ability to attain a quality middle-class lifestyle.
“My fellow learning specialists and I are committed to our athletes’ learning, and we are trained and prepared to work with any athlete who comes through our doors, no matter how deficient his or her skills may be,” wrote Bethel, who does have quibbles about Division I’s progress-toward-degree requirements. “Not all of them are success stories, but every year across the country, hundreds, maybe thousands, of athletes become the first in their families to earn a college degree.”
Keeping up with the Jones story. Wednesday’s ineligibility ruling on Baylor basketball player Perry Jones III set of a spate of national reaction, including a terse response from Baylor AD Ian McCaw. Here’s a sample of op-ed material:
Was this really called for, NCAA? (Richard Justice, Houston Chronicle)
Baylor’s Jones declared ineligible, another Cam? (Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com)
By midday Thursday, NCAA.org posted information challenging Baylor’s version of the story.