Good thing he didn't say "ACC-style."
Is Michigan Too Smart for College Football?
We should ask Jim Harbaugh what he thinks about this.
I was a BGS major... I work in IT Consulting now. I wasn't an athlete though :(. Although I was on a softball team (shout out to my fellow Buckfutters.)
Interesting that MGoBlog is referenced:
I saw a good deal of academic smack talk after Alabama beat Michigan, 41-14, on Saturday night. A Wolverines fan named “MGlobules” took to the excellent MGoBlog and complained of an uneven playing field. “Brent Musberger is never going to give a shit that we graduate more kids or have a school attached to our football factory,” MGlobules wrote. He/she added, “Should we just go all Ivy League and not give a crap about the SEC?” I think that part was a joke.
This kind of makes us out to be whiny bitches.
And what do we do?!
We come from behind!
Best late inning rally cry in all of sport
Haha, Amen. We definitely lived up to the name!
In all seriousness, I do wish that we would join the Ivy Leauge and step away from the arms race of big time college football. But unfortunately I don't think they'll be inviting our poor, public school asses over there any time soon.
Graduation rates are a strange stat though.
It is not as hard to graduate from Auburn as it is Ohio State but all people will see is the percentage. In fact Vandy is the hardest school in the SEC but they top the list in graduation rates.
That and there is a huge divide between white and black player rates, particularly at Auburn.
Vandy's private. As the old saying goes, you can't flunk out of a private school.
I am assuming you forgot you /s. So Private schools don't deserve the rankings they have because "you can't flunk out"?
I couldn't agree more!
I guess we'll spend the next week, or until we win again, digressing and coming up with excuses (and then we'll claim they aren't excuses), about why we lost. Academics. Injuries, refs, MSU, Saban, etc, etc..
Alabama is a better football team. There are others out there like them, that could manhandle MIchigan also, right now, on talent alone. OUr coordinators need to put together a better game plan than they did Saturday night, or it's going to be a long season. I trust, they will..
You're not better than me. I'm definitely better than you because I went to Michigan.
You went to Michigan BECAUSE you're better than everyone else
Look, Michigan tends toward the better end of the spectrum in terms of how they apply the rules of NCAA eligibility and academics, but don't be naive about whether or not we make exceptions for footballs players in terms of entry into the university and have means by which to shepherd them through the system to graduate........we do.
Most people here call BS when Notre Dame or Stanford or Northwestern employ the academic standard argument, I would do the same in our case.
Agreed it makes us sound like whiny bitches.
I don't necessarily like the metric, but if you look at graduation rates for student athletes (or even specifically Football athletes) Stanford and ND fare better than we do.
RE: whiny bitches...In all honesty, compared to other fanbases, or other blog sites, i think we handled the loss pretty well.
Quite true, but we also handled that loss worse than any loss in recent memory, as well. Something like 25 individual post game threads created in the last 4 days along the lines of "what does this mean" "bad refs" and "the aftermath." It's unlikely, but possible, that we've reacted more to this one (expected) loss more than the entire 2008 implosion.
I'm just references comments that point to some disparity in academics as rationale for the loss.
Nobody who has had a class with a football player can even remotely refute that. Sure as in life of course there are outliers, but it's impossible to argue that the football team is full of Rhodes Scholars.
I had the professor they're referencing for a class called, "Learning to Learn," (I was a psych major trying to overcome ADD tendencies). My class was 80% varsity athletes, and it was well known you jump on that professor's radar if you want a more tailored way ahead.
"the prof you HAVE to take." Hell every class does. That's why you go on ratemyprofessor.com and find the easiest prof. The fact that the football players know this somehow makes it bending the rules? Everyone knows you take the easy prof over the tough-grading prof.
Michigan is too smart for Einstein.
Michigan is too sexy for Kate Upton.
Michigan is too cool for the Fonz.
if anyone under 25 has any clue who The Fonz is. I was recently informed of this by my nieces (18 & 14). Sorry, but we are old now. In the new vernacular, might I suggest someone more "jiggy" like that Jayzee fella or Snoopy Dog?
/gets off OWN lawn
Kids not knowing who the Fonz is, is a HUGE sign that our society is in a steady decline. There must be some MGoHollywood types around here. Bring back Happy Days. Puhleeze.
And definitely know who The Fonz is; he's the guy that jumped over the sharks on the water skis (SARCASM, SARCASM, don't kill me "old people").
Also, it's Snoop Lion now. Gotta get jiggy with the ultra-important news these days.
You mean Snopp Lion...you need to get up to speed...now get off my lawn you kids.
Shit, I thought I was in the know.
notice the get off my lawn comment, I am old and snarky and know who the fonz is... Sarcasim is hard in text only.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the good news is at least there's no one here that's so old that they don't know who Fonzi is. Except for maybe Herm...
The article referenced (originating from Ann Arbor News) brings up an excellent point though: to what extent can we expect athletes to compete in the classrooms? Many of these kids are not as academically prepared as the majority of the student body. On top of that, now try balancing their training, practices, games, with finding time to study. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to be like Zoltan Mesko.
And to the point regarding Reuben Riley, he specifically states his career path was to be a professional athlete... that was his goal, so he made that decision. My viewpoints on College Athletics may not jive well with most on this board, but I will say, there is a huge problem with college athletics. The academic expectations the public in general has are not realistic for the majority of athletes (primarily in revenue sports). And really, it stems from educational gaps that exist from K-12.
Wayne Deneff was good. Then there was Jason Whitlock, Rich Thomaselli, Jim Carty, assholes all. The Carty "expose" on academics was last attempt at journalism. Sort of a Freep job Section 1. Then they became a wire service paper. I worked there for almost 26 years. Am I pissed? Ya think? Used to have great M coverage then they gave up. If it was locally owned it would still be going but the way it was they gave up a couple years before it's demise.
Grantland seems to have taken a special interest in us, with UM stories heading their "triangle" section for the last several days.
As someone who doesn't like that pompous bluster is a part of Michigan's image to outsiders, there aren't many websites I'd like talking about us less than freaking Grantland.
Dave Brandon creating the future
The end point is money. Academic smack talk depends on and reinforces the idea that big time college football is somehow tied to college. It's not, but it's a fiction we have to keep up so that we can pretend we are doing something other than underpaying kids to ruin their lifelong health in order to make already-rich unviersities and ESPN a crap-ton of money.
Honestly, there are some pretty dumb and/or underprepared students in the general population at Michigan. Unfortunately, that's one of the problems with a large university. Stereotyping athletes as dumb doesn't really make much sense.
Having said that, the time constraints placed on athletes does make them a different breed of student, so to speak, so really there shouldn't be too much consternation about the extra efforts used to help them along academically. And even for the weakest academic performers, once they are on campus, it's really in everybody's interest that they aren't simply left behind.
Strongly Agree with your comment regarding the severe time constraints placed on college athletes. Already with my 6th grader, I have to really stay on top of him with his homework. With 2 hour practices Tuesday - Thursday, plus about 4 hours given to warm up, pregame, and games on either Saturday or Sunday, that's a big chunk taken out of every week. And I have to believe it is ten times more in college. It is just a different world than most students experience.
I think it is important to always question what the true goals of college athletics are. To be honest with you all, I'm not certain what that goal is. This is a topic which I have discussed at some length with a multitude of people, each of whom has given me a different response. Although Michigan is a large school which makes it easier to "hide" athletes, some smaller schools still employ a similar number of varsity sports (and, as a consequence, athletes) even though their student population is miniscule compared to Michigan. Take Wake Forest. The school benefits from athletics by helping to raise their national profile. But that is only true for a select few sports. Does having a softball team or men's swimming team really add any value to the school? With such a small student body, it more obviously eliminates spots in the student body usually reserved for academics-only students. Would Wake Forest be better served dropping sports altogether?
I have also heard the argument that sports enable children who normally wouldn't be able to go to college to have a chance. Perhaps that is the case for some athletes, but should say, a water polo player, from an economically-advantaged setting really be included as evidence in such an argument? Perhaps they wouldn't normally be given the opportunity (thanks to grades, standardized testing scores, etc), but I doubt that is what one envisions.
Or is the goal of athletics to improve school spirit and influence donations? Perhaps, but it seems as if many smaller schools (think the Ivy League, Washington and Lee, and others) have managed to maintain high levels of alumni support, donations, and huge endowments (granted they have long and fruitful histories) without maintaining a massive sports-industrial-complex.
I understand that Michigan is a different animal to some extent. We are a highly successful academic institution, with a huge alumni base, massive endowment, great history, etc etc. Michigan can afford to have a huge athletic department. But imagine if you were paying tuition to a school whose sports were third-rate, drew no additional applications, barely raised the school's national profile, and admitted many more (possibly) under-qualified student athletes.
I understand this may be ripped to shreds (as most of you are sports fans), but with the recent news out of North Carolina and numerous other academic and ethical problems arising from sports (combined with the almost apparent need to cheat to win), I think it is time to completely re-examine the question of, what are the goals of college athletics?
For one, it gives students a chance to compete at a high level in their extracurricular activity of choice. Now I realize Denard didn't show up at Michigan and decide to play football during August 2009, but the fact remains that all of these athletes are students. In addition, I don't see much difference between the number one rated football recruit choosing Alabama and the number one "acting recruit" choosing Julliard.
For another, they're exposing these students to a lifetime of benefits just by allowing these sports to take place. Whether those resources are best used on fields and balls and charter busses and hotel rooms for a select group of elite athletes is another discussion, but the benefits from playing on a varsity sport (especially at the D1 level, and even more-so at the major D1 level) are huge in terms of learning to network, work as a team, deal with rigorous schedules while having other responsibilities, ect.
Lastly, this might sound ridiculous for the amount of money that goes into sports like softball, water polo, or swimming team (the three you mention) but they at least partially serve to provide entertainment for the student body and alumni, as well as local sports fans and fans of the sport in general.
I understand and respect all of your points, but I have also qualms. I understand that American universities are different in that they are probably the only institutions of higher learning in the world that place such emphasis and give such support to athletics, and I am beginning to wonder if that is a good thing. One might suggest that it is a question of "sound mind sound body", yet I see millions of dollars being spent on a select group of students (who have God knows how many state of the art athletic facilities and dining halls), while the vast majority of students are still relegated to a few gyms (I don't believe another student gym has been built or even remodelled in recent years).
In regards to the Julliard assertion, I for one, would prefer it if Michigan would use some of the athletic scholarships for lesser sports to "recruit" some of the best engineers, actors, math students, writers, etc, away from MIT, CIT, UChicago, etc. In my mind, that would be a better use for at least some of the scholarships.
I admit your second point.
Though I do question the third. The overall CBA of say, field hockey, is much different than football in terms of the fans, recognition, and prestige it brings to the school (even though one sport may spend much less than another).
In regards to your first paragraph, I honestly just think it was a case of things blowing up very quickly. Ann Arbor's population was under 8,000 in the first census taken since football started at Michigan; I'm guessing a lot of people were looking for live entertainment and got it. Once football blew up, people started lobbying for their sports and it snowballed all the way into Title IX decades later, which now has culminated in an "arms race" for facilities, stadiums, uniformz, ect. I'd guess you're right (sound mind, sound body) about why this caught on in the US, while the athletic and rowing clubs at Oxbridge remained fairly small. The culture over here is just different.
In terms of Julliard, I would think more money goes out to "normal students" at the vast majority of universities than goes to athletes. Whether that should be allocated to a full ride for an engineer or a place kicker is a matter of preference and culture. The Little Three, Chicago, NYU, WUSL and others are good examples of schools choosing the former.
Lastly, if you want to just do a straight CBA, you're looking at it the wrong way. With Title IX in play, the question isn't "is softball worth $3m per season?", the question is, "is it worth spending $30m to keep a $100m football, hockey and basketball publicity monster going?" (realistic numbers, by the way*). I think a lot of people in Ann Arbor would answer in the affirmative, with softball, swimming and water polo as nice extras to have.
A lot of the whole point of recruiting elite athletes is to boost giving - both to the athletic department and university at large. Winning athletics boosts pide, fandom, and donations - just ask Butler or VCU. Attracting a star dancer or engineer has no outwardly exposure the way a Cam Newton or an RGIII does.
As a result college athletics is never going away. Ever.
A Michigan Grad did decide to schedule an NFL team the first week of the 2012 season, so no I would say that Michigan isn't too smart.
the previous two years.
And Bama shut down Armani Edwards.
that my point, even in the bit he quotes (that Brent Musberger is never going to notice that M has a great university attached to its football factory) was HIS: you can't play the virtue game if you are going to get on that stage in the first place. (He missed the part where I acknowledged that we were in some degree a football factory, too.)
I do think these are social questions the whole country faces, not just Michigan. There's little that's fair about college football to begin with, but when you climb into the ring with Alabama. . .
Who knows, the reduction in oversigning, four-year schollies--maybe these will change things a little. Most fans, as I realize, just want us to shut up and get better. A quarter of me appreciates that; as an alumnus with an appreciation for the academic side, I would also be cool with the B1G just refusing to play the SEC.
Not gonna happen, I know.
Curtis' argument has truth to it, but stops short.
From my experience at LSA, easy classes and independent studies are available to basically every student at UM. Even a number of classes that are very challenging to get an 'A' in are fairly straightforward to get a B in, but difficult to fail. What makes a school good are opportunities to challenge students, and resources to help with those challenges. A lot of classmates, like me, chose to take the difficult classes, and it paid off. But I've seen students, athletes or otherwise, take the path of least resistance, getting Cs and Bs enough to graduate, but not learning or growing much, or taking classes that offer easy A's.
I'm sure there are other universities that have a much more rigorous curriculum that they require of every student, but what makes a school 'good' isn't whether or not their students elect to take Comm or Engineering classes. You can only control that to the degree of your admissions standards, which Curtis all but glosses over -- the Big Ten has more rigorous standards than the SEC. Unless the indepdent studies he mentions are easy to a UNC level, then they don't bear mentioning.
That's an important point. While some universities are better than others, "better" is more a result of the opportunities afforded to students than an objective measure. A motivated student can get an excellent education pretty much anywhere ... including their local public library ... but that motivated student may reach the limits of whatever academic institution he attends.
A place like Michigan gives the motivated student almost limitless opportunity and has a long history of students using opportunity to maximize their own potential. That does not mean that every student does so, and with a student body as large as UM's, it's unlikely that even most do so. At the end of four years, the diploma and UM's reputation carries enough weight.
No question that a football player could maximize his academic potential at UM, but i'm not sure that most players are interested in doing so ... which doesn't make them much different than the rest of the student body.
Yup, we were definitely too smart to beat Alabama. That was our problem.
I swear. And shake his head in disgust at the same time.
It's interesting that these articles only appear after a loss. Rivals.com says we have the #2 recruiting class in the country, higher-ranked than every school in the SEC. Strangely, that fact did not make it into the article.
We are not "too smart" to play at that elite level. We get dangerously close to the Clearinghouse minimum with some of these guys. Moreover, I don't think we have the academic rigor reputation that recruits are mistakenly scared away by when being chased by Stanford and Notre Dame.
If a guy was out of the ball park, we wouldnt even offer him. Look at the top recruits in the country. How many of those do we offer? Most, if not all. I think we are hunting for this excuse to justify our recent poor performances against the nation's elite, but it is an empty argument.
We will be back at the national elite level in a couple of years. This multi year hiccup can be attributed to woeful recruiting at the end of Carr and throughout RR's entire regime.
Remember, Demar Dorsey couldn't even qualify at Louisville. Maybe we won't take a player or two each year with a criminal background, but this does not have the material effect that would justify this "we just have too much character and intelligence to compete with those cavemen" line of reasoning.
No school is allowed to take them anymore.
Same deal. Only fully qualified players can receive a scholarship now. There was a brief stretch where we weren't taking Prop 48 guys and other schools were, but that's no longer the case.
Vada Murray was a Prop. 48 athlete.
We are so smart! S M R T !!
We hear this whining from Notre Dame fans all the time. Continue to recruit better players, maintain the system we have for a few years so the players all get familiar with it, build better depth and let's see what happens.
We are not down in the mud with the top SEC schools, but we are hardly pure as snow.
On one hand my emotions for much of the week are governed by how the football team does, and I love being a Michigan fan. On the other, as a grad student I care very much about the respect that the academic side commands, and I could not live with a football program that in any way reduced the intellectual presitige of the University.
Then there's the whole not-paying-kids-to-hurt-themselves-thing and I have trouble coming up with a logical reason to support college football. Fortunately for me, I guess, fandom is far from logical.
Well, they are getting compensation in the form of a scholarship that can be worth $200,000. The vast majority will not earn enough money from football to be set for life. That education becomes quite valuable when the football career ends (not to mention the alumni networks that they benefit from - many ex-players find jobs working for sympathetic fellow alumni).
Even if they took easier classes than a lot of other students (probably not even a majority, givne how many joke classes / departments there are now at all universities), they put in more work / devotion into their sport than most put into all areas of their college experiences combined.
While I would hire a football player for these reasons, as well as being a huge fan that'd want to continuously talk to them about UM football, I would not hire them out of "sympathy."
You've actually illustrated my point quite well.
Many ex-players land jobs for which they theoretically aren't qualified (and which often have nothing to do with their field of study), but alumni connections (and the allure of having an ex-player on company payroll) are key. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It's a great reason for players to stick it out and complete their degree.
Students who do not compete in varsity athletics also obtain jobs and seats in grad schools that they are not qualified for. This year nearly 30% of my firm consists of non-athletes who, on paper, are "not qualified" for their titles and job descriptions. Luckily they know people or are related to them. Further, the easiest "athlete" courses I ever took at NU were filled with a majority of non-athletes.
its not like they are getting nothing. But I can't shake the feeling that college football as a whole has gotten a bit too big and profit-seeking for its own good.
I went to Michigan and that is why I am better than everyone in the world.
That any underachieving student would probably perform better with extra attention in a course more geared towards their needs.
I don't think we're too smart for college football but I do think we may be too clean (fingers crossed as I write this - God forbid a scandal breaks tomorrow).
This loss to Alabama was really discouraging but I have a feeling it will be vacated years from now. I don't trust Saban and while there is no proof, you KNOW there is some shady stuff going on down there that will come out later.
College football is a dirty game. I don't think Michigan is dirty enough to succeed. Think about all the teams that have enjoyed huge success over the last several years. Almost every single one of them was later punished for cheating or had to deal with serious allegations of breaking rules. USC, Ohio State, Miami, Auburn, Florida, even Penn State and Oregon. I wouldn't be surprised if we add Alabama to that list soon.
Maybe Michigan should sell its soul if it really wants to win...
Well, we are currently on probation, if that makes you feel better.