You know! I have been sitting around trying to figure out what I should write. Suddenly, it hit me. I found something about which I could praise the NCAA. It's hard to believe because I have been shouting from every roof top I know that we have been getting away from the prime purpose of a college education. The operative word being EDUCATION!
Then all of a sudden, in a move that truly surprised me, they put the entire University of Connecticut Basketball team on academic probation. Wow! What a wonderful, yet unheard of move in these days of big monies generated by inning teams. It's a known fact, when a team is victorious, the alumni puff out their chests and open their checkbooks.
Unfortunately, all too often the recipients although worthy athletically, are not worthy academically. As a result, professors, teachers and instructors of all types have to mind their "P," and "Q's" otherwise they might find themselves unemployed. There are those sincere educators who are appalled at what they are required to do, when it is suggested, that Johnny Jones needs at least a 'C' average otherwise hd won't be available Friday night to sink that all important fould shot for good old "Jock" U.
Now, don't get me wrong! I am an old jock. I had the good fortune to play basketball at the college level and for brief time, I even coached a University team. Nor very well I might add. However, ever since I was a kid growing up in Massachusetts, it was drummed into my head that I had to get a college degree. My dad use to say, "The only thing you can start on a show string is a knot."
I was blessed with the best of both worlds. Although we were poor, we didn't know we were poor. On my mother's side of the family, there were 8 kids. All educators, or professionals of some sort.. law. Engineering, medicine etc; As my father and his six brothers, they were all involved in professional sports, two major leaguers, three footballers and a paraplegic brother (the smartest one), a bookie.
I was the first boy of my father's entire family to go to college. My mother was an immigrant who along with parents and siblings legally came to the United States. Getting an education is a precious gift not to be wasted on someone even if he gets to play pro ball at some level, might still end up as a bar tender.
Today, my grand son Sam is an exceptional athlete with good grades. He is hoping to go to a fine school. As he visited college campuses, he learned that the Ivy League Schools, in this case, Princeton, gave scholarships only for academics.
Only a handful of the recruited brutes of the courts, or the gridiron will ever grace the hollowed halls of sportsdom at the elite level. If 3000 collegiate athletes graduated every year, perhaps 100 will get the call.