As an out of touch old school guy, I will admit this may be really unpopular. Then again if popularity was an issue with me then I wouldn't sell cars or have been a cop.

     There are not many who can argue that the education system in the United States if not broken, has a lot of problems. The amount of money that a school system gets is directly tied to the tax revenue for that given juristiction. Thus a depressed area in most cases will not have the same academic achievements as an affluent area. Yet there is no argument from anyone that a better educational opportunity, leads to a better life. A good example is where I live. My children are fortunate enough to live in a reletivly affluent county in Virginia. They have some of the best books, teachers,and facilities you can ask for. The county plans for expansion 5 years at least ahead of time according to what they project as growth. Each one of the students 6th through 12th grade get a take home computer. All this leads up to higher test scores on average, and higher college admissions.

      The city we live next to is different. While it tries to keep up, it cannot. Even with state money that will not be coming as much this year, there are major issues. The classrooms are overcrowded. The books are not up to date. Less then a mile from where my daughter go's to school, a student has a much larger chance of failing. Part because the lack of value in eduaction. But also a hopelessness when they see what they have to work with.

      Into the homes of the inter city comes recruiters for various major and not so major universities. They are looking for the best of the best to inhance their programs. They promise a good education,playing time,and a shot at the pros. They ask only that the athlete be marginally a student. In a lot of cases they ask they same of them in college. Make the jump shot, catch the pass,get the fumble. When you have time by the way, go to school.

      This is where I wonder how in the world the NCAA gets there priorities. The schools like Notre Dame, Stanford, and University of Virginia, expect their athletes to actually be students first. Now thats a unsual concept. Yet consistently I see and hear that if these institutions want to compete, they need to lower their academic standards. My question is why?

       First I am not advocationg the raising of admission standards in all schools. I would but it would shut off the opportunity for a lot of students to go to college. What I am advocationg is this.All coaches are required to look at the prospect in the eye and tell them, "you are a student first",and athlete second. If you do-not make it to the pros, you are expected to make it in life. You are expected for the free education to work harder then most. So in five years either way, you will be ready.

       Yet the NCAA will not make colleges and coaches do this. Because the money made from these athletes is more importent then the athletes themselves. A very small percentage will be paid later in life to play. I ask what happens to the rest. After 5 years does anyone care they do not have a degree, cannot get a good job, or be successful. No because the were able to generate money for the university, and the NCAA. The colleges stay on them to go to the weight room. How many stay on them to actually do well in the classroom. Not just show up, but to excel.

        I ask the NCAA to use the Notre Dames as a standard that all institutions need to follow. Do not ask them to lower their standards. Have the rest of the schools raise theres. Put a premium on the classroom setting. Tell the schools that we will stop using our kids as money makers, and then throw them away. So when they are done, they have a chance, a better chance,to succeed.


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