Putting academics ahead of the game

By Matthew Hunt

September 14, 2012

When student athletics and academics combine,  they cause chaos not only for the players themselves, but for the team as well.

Proposition 48 was a regulation voted on by the NCAA in 1986 for Division I schools to force requirements both academic and drug-related for college athletes to continue playing sports. The idea behind this regulation is very similar to the one here at Western which is a Division II school.

The regulation was not to cut any minority group, yet one opponent believed this was its main purpose.

John Thompson was the Georgetown University’s black basketball coach at the time of the new law. He believed the new rules would prevent minority youths from playing. The other interesting fact is that if you read his bio and why he was against this law, it is just so absurd. He believed that his star athletes were unprepared for college.

Imagine hearing this statement from a university coach today. The negative coverage over the Thompson’s statement would most likely cost him his job.

The reality is not everyone can be talented in both sports and academics. We have all witnessed it firsthand. Some of you are student-athletes and know that if you don’t keep your grades up, you won’t play.

The purpose of Proposition 48 is phenomenal. A student-athlete who is being looked at by a university to play at their school should work hard, not only on the field, but in the classroom as well. Even at Missouri Western you find student-athletes that don’t seem to get it.

Some are here on full scholarships which is unfair as well, but that is a story for a later column. The sole purpose of college is getting a degree to further your opportunity in the job market. It’s quite humorous to hear athletes on campus discuss how they don’t have time to study, and that they would rather be on the field.

Well, if they only knew once they graduate life won’t be that easy for them. Today more players are sent to pro-camps and don’t ever get drafted with the hope of making that team.

However, Western has done a great job with their athletic department and staying true to the code.

Players we have seen on the field are now average students like us.  The requirements Western set is being met, and if not, they are gone. Many schools have forgotten the law and have tried in their power to keep players in the game.

Here at Western, they do the right thing. If you don’t pass, you don’t play.