Amorous Lion In Winter
Derrell Hand, left. Marques Slocum, right.
This is the worst kept secret on the internet: Marques Slocum is not expected back this fall due to academic problems. It's not official, but both premium sites are dropping dark hints and Doug Karsch has broached the topic on the radio. It's pretty close. And I wonder what the point is.
Most outside the Michigan fan tribe will remember Slocum for his answer to the question "do you have any pets, and if so what do you have?" Slocum replied "i got a fuck lion now come fuck wit me," EDSBS posted it up, and the internet ran away with it. After that he was either awesome or just another "sterotypical person," as the last comment on that EDSBS post declares:
What a stereotypical person….now people will feel sorry for him for absolutely no reason. We are all that much more dumb after reading his slow minded retarded azz response.YO…Im da Shiznit homey…bow down or get rolled up…Holla..what an idiot.
("Josh W" left a web address where he could be found: http://faebook/. Holla, idiot.) His departure will no doubt be memorialized unkindly by those with an axe to grind against Michigan's efforts to walk the tightrope between Duke football and Mississippi State academics.
To Michigan fans, Slocum was the big, affable recruit who tore up the Army All-American bowl and wanted to come to Michigan so badly he wandered in the wilderness for two years to do so. This is was a unique occurence. The occasional Michigan recruit will fail to qualify, and once in a very long while Michigan will follow the kid through a prep school year. Slocum and Arizona cornerback Quinton McCoy are the only ones I can remember. "Draft and follow" -- where a school signs a guy with almost no chance of qualifying in the hopes of building up some sort of loyalty for when the kid exits JUCO -- as practiced by much of the SEC is right out. Michigan's admissions department is legendarily strict about transfer credits. Except in very rare cases, JUCOs need not apply.
So when Slocum went to Milford Prep for a year and still didn't qualify, that should have been the end of him. Instead, Slocum enrolled without a scholarship, spent a year getting eligible, and finally managed to get on the field in 2007. This was truly dedication to an idea. He's gone now, a few tackles and the occasional UFR +1 the product of two years effort.
Effort of a sort, anyway. The penultimate comment on the "fuck lion" interview paints a tableau of a lighthearted kid caught in a place he has no use for and has no use for him. A table setter is included:
I had a class with this kid for one day - greatest experience of my life. He now has a drew gooden beard. Oh god. Awesome.
Comment by umich1 - February 19, 2008 @ 4:33 pm
Re: last comment
I, too, had a class with Marques Slocum my senior year of undergrad. It was actually one of professor Hagen's classes, one day, we split into groups to do survey work. When one of the group members called on Mr. Slocum to answer a question, he said, "Aw, shit, I don't know - I'm not used to standing up in class. I'm used to standing up to get awards and shit." And then he left the room.
Comment by Shane - April 21, 2008 @ 9:17 pm
Like much about Marques Slocum, this awesome and sad at the same time.
The NCAA has created an underclass of physically talented players toiling in junior colleges or small I-AA schools, robbed of the opportunity to ply their wares in the place most likely to turn their talents into a career. Slocum now joins them. I am trying to figure out whether or not APRs and entrance requirements and so forth and so on are forces for good. They certainly seem virtuous, but I think Slocum would have been a lot better off in a system that let him major in something like "Athletic Performance" and take his shot at the NFL. I also think that the existence of "Athletic Performance" across Division 1 would provide a drag on academic achievement by would-be athletic performers, the vast majority of whom won't even start in college, let alone make a dime in their chosen sport.
But many, if not most, of these guys already assume they're going to the show and screw off anyway. One thing I definitely think: Division 1 schools should be given the option to extend a player's scholarship after his eligibility expires without it counting against the cap. This funnels some of the pots of money currently being spent on athletes to the athletes themselves and provides them an opportunity to actually focus on the classes they're taking after they've been disabused of the notion they are destined to be the next multi-millionaire.
That wouldn't help Slocum, but it might help out a range of kids who spend their time and their bodies chasing a dream that is, for them, unattainable.
(via I Love Kiki)
As for Marques, well... he's left the room. Shit.
If you're on a full ride scholarship to the Business School, then that's your only priority and other than a part time job to make some pocket money, you're probably not working during the year. You should finish in four years.
If you're not on a full ride scholarship, then I'm pretty sure you can take more than four years to graduate.
If you graduate from the B-School and head out to the working world and don't make it, then you wouldn't be coming back to the B-School for more courses.
I don't know where I stand on Brian's proposals, but I don't think those analogies work.
I am not sure what the point/gain is in Brian's proposal. To graduate in 4 yrs a player would have to take 12 cr in fall/winter and 4 cr in the summer. In 5 yrs the summer cr would be unnecessary. Are we to believe that is too taxing? I understand the difficulty of the fall semester due to practice/away games. I don't think it is asking too much of the players to stay eligible, though. If they really want to play football they will make sacrifices to keep their grades up and stay eligible. It is surprising in Slocum's situation, given what it took to get him on the field last fall, that this was the ultimate result.
The other issue w/ this proposal is where would the $ come from? UM is in the minority of ADs running in the black. So all of the other schools already losing $ are supposed to shell out more $ so players can take classes at an even slower pace? What will most likely happen is that schools will be forced to cut smaller sports to pay for this extra schooling, and I do not think that is an overall positive for college athletics.
MRG covered the issues with your analogy. I have a problem with your base assumption that it would be undesirable for athletes to concentrate less on their classes. I know the official line is that they're students first and athletes second, but I don't think that squares with reality. Few, if any, of them would be at Michigan if they weren't football players. As Brian has posted elsewhere, football alone takes up more time than a full-time job. And at schools like Michigan those hours of work are generating serious revenue, a lot of which supports other athletic programs and stratospheric coach's salaries. The scholarships are their compensation, and for the majority who won't go on to the NFL, the degree and education it supposedly represents is another form of compensation.
I think the programs owe it to the players to give them a chance to finish the degree when they aren't working 40+ hrs/week and, as Brian suggests, after they've been disabused of the notion that they're going to make a living as an athlete. I do think it's too much to ask of some of them to "keep their grades up" and finish a degree in four years. Lots of people who aren't working 40+ hrs/wk and have substantially greater academic skills take longer.
I don't know what non-revenue-generating programs should do, but I think making sure players graduate is a better use of money than college volleyball.
I don't think Slocum's academic issues are due to the rigors of General Studies + Football. Slocum just isn't a good student. The staff took a chance on a non-qualifier and rolled craps. That's why there aren't a lot of non-qualifiers eventually making their way into the university.
As mentioned above (and I haven't done the math to verify), if the student athlete takes a summer course or two, the workload in the season could be minimized. Perhaps even 10 credit hours if that's allowed. Plenty of football/basketball/whatever players make it through that aren't exceptionally intelligent.
I wouldn't have a huge problem with an Athletic Prowess degree, but I think General Studies, at least as it's structured for althetes, is nearly there already.
And nothing, I mean nothing, is a better use of money than volleyball shorts on co-eds. Females, I mean. Or males too, if you're down with that.
I stand corrected about volleyball. I'm also suddenly confused why it's not a revenue-generating sport.
As for credit hours, I assume they have to be enrolled as full-time students, which means 12 credits min. I wouldn't be against the NCAA relaxing that requirement, but I doubt that's going to happen. Students first, etc. Slocum wouldn't be helped by the extension in any case.
Again, lots of people who aren't working a full-time job and are likely to be better prepared to deal with college classes, blow-off or otherwise, take longer than 4 years to finish with or without summer classes. And the blow-off classes aren't always easy for athletes. I was a GSI for the History of Popular Music, which is basically the quintessential blow-off class, and the football players in my sections worked really hard for pretty unimpressive grades. I've also been a GSI for the writing requirement, which no one gets out of and that class is hard. The student-athlete I had in that class was on the verge of deconstructing the entire semester, and the poor kid wasn't even on full scholarship. For the most part, their talents lie elsewhere. I feel bad for them that anyone cares if they can get Cs in the History of Popular Music. Really, what's the point?
But I think if they're going to get paid in degrees (the wisdom of which I'm pretty skeptical about), programs should give them as good of a shot at getting those degrees as possible.
It's a shame. He tried to become academically eligible for two years but he couldn't cut it. It's sad that it had to be this way, but it seems like he couldn't handle UM. There's only so much that could be done.
It's nuts. Of the 5 d-line players recruited in 2005, only 2 are still with the team--Terrance Taylor and Carson Butler (recruited as DE). That year has had some crazy attrition, and Grady could become one more member of that class to leave. Oh well, at least we still have Zoltan.
I don't think there should be a "football" (or any other sport) major. What's the point? These guys don't need one to play pro sports as it is, and most of these guys can end up getting coaching jobs (at least at the high school level) if they want afterward. The point of having them major in non-sports subjects is to give them a Plan B if sports doesn't work out. If there were a football major, that would just cause more guys to put all their eggs in one basket.
As for the guys toiling at I-AA, if they're NFL material, they'll still land in the pros. There are quite a few NFL players from small-college backgrounds.