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Monday, February 28, 2005

Is The NCAA Flunking Teams Out?

It's hard to say.

It is admirable, after all these years in existence, that the National Collegiate Athletic Association is actually attempting to take serious stock as to whether its member institutions are helping their athletes be meaningful students. The last time we checked, the purpose of going to college was to learn more, grow as a person and, yes, become more marketable on the job market (in an ever more competitive world, no less).

The problem now, or so it seems, is the metric. The blogosphere and the sports blogosphere in particular is full of talk of metrics to measure sports-based performance. The numbers guys love baseball, and now they're also showing their prowess in basketball as well. That's all good stuff, and a lot of it is meaningful, even if some of us like to think of our games as artistic tapestries and not scientific proofs (i.e., I have more points per possession than my opponent therefore I win).

Read the article, and you'll see that perhaps there's a problem with the denominator (if, in fact, a percentage is what's really being examined here). For example, if players leave school, say for athletic reasons (i.e., they'll get more playing time elsewhere), how do they figure into the calculation? As a flunk out? As someone who couldn't do the work? Then again, those who leave because they jumped before the academic deans pushed them should figure into the equation.

Needless to say, there will be programs who will protest that they've been singled out unfairly. And some of them will be right. There also will be programs who will skate by on a foundation of majors for players that includes tiddlywinks and video-game playing. That's not right either.

The one thing about metrics is that an institution has to crawl with them before it hits a full stride. It has to take a chance on a set of metrics and then has to work diligently to continue to refine them. During the incipient period, the institution has to show some flexibility to avoid bad results, and then, too, it has to show a strong backbone to make sure that it enforces sanctions against deficient programs. First, the NCAA has to establish a basic metric that works. Once it does that, perhaps it could go the bolder step of establishing additional metrics, such as those that weed out "eligibility" majors, i.e., those courses of study that won't lead to anything meaningful career-wise but will keep players eligible for an entire career. That might take some doing, but it's worth the try at some point.

The good news is that the NCAA member insitutions are taking a stand.

Now it's time for the members to help improve the system of measurement while at the same time supporting the system of enforcement.

After all, we're talking about eligibility for games here juxtaposed with skill sets for life. When you put it that way, the latter always must prevail over the former.

Most kids can get over a loss in a key game.

What they cannot overcome is a system that doesn't stress over everything else that they get the best education possible.


Blogger Sports Junky said...

I agree,

I love College Basketball. and recently I have bought stock in it. Not like real stock on Wall street, but a stock market that is strictly for sports.

You have seen it? Its pretty cool. You buy issues for your favorite teams and you make real money. Not like a fake stock simulator. I cash out Dividends each time the team wins. Also I can sell my team stock when the price goes up.

check it out if something like this interests you.
heres a link
you can log in and check it out for free..

They just released IPOS for College Basketball this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

Hope that helps

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