Three years later, I have a follow-up to Brian's post The Way Forward (http://mgoblog.com/content/way-forward) written in response to remarks from President Mark Schlissel after his inauguration.
I thought about the possibility of using the music major model to create a football (-basketball, -softball, etc.) specific undergrad degree program for Michigan student athletes. While the recordings and portfolio are important, and the pre-screening recordings and/or audition are extremely important for admission, music majors get to be music majors because the academic fields that have grown up around the practice rooms are considered serious academic fields, with peer-reviewed papers, grants, and so forth. The trick to create a similar model is to figure out the academic fields that have grown up around college athletics, and make a degree program that fits them.
I have a somewhat unique perspective here, as a Michigan music major (performance, class of 2010) who retrained in pre-med, and am currently in medical school. I understand the talent-intensive and the academic-intensive sides of the coin. That being said, this diary is not a blueprint for action, it is a starting template for discussion.
Some ideas and their present-day equivalents:
Stadium/Team management (Pre-Business)
Manufacturing the protective gear (Pre-Med, Industrial Engineering, Pre-Business)
C-Suite Executive Stuff (Pre-Business)
**Becoming a high school football coach (Education, Pre-Business)
Becoming a trainer/doctor/other health care professional (Various Pre-med/Nursing/Physical Therapy core classes)
**asterisks because I think education is extremely valuable and we all do teaching in our lifelong journeys. Many skill sets can be honed through education and a multitude of classes tie into it.
Then we could look at the course by course requirements and tailor a degree concentration with the lion's share of the courses geared towards getting people thinking about the Gesamtkuntswerk of athletics, and how do we learn the skill sets to be successful in these areas.
With that in mind, let us expand our imaginations and try to think of academic requirements directly tying into athletics which are analogues of core requirements for Michigan music majors:
Academic Requirements for music majors (2006-2007)
Music Theory - 12 credit hours, over four semesters (Written and Aural Theory), plus a 3-credit 400-level Aural Theory.
Coaching classes? Lots of shadowing in the community (but this could conflict with team time)? **Psychology? Business Management?
Musicology (History/Anthropology of Music)- 8 hours over 4 semesters (Intro, Post WWI, Middle Ages - Baroque, Preclassic Era - WWI)
Relatively straightforward. History of sports, pro leagues, how the rules of your sport evolved, etc.
Large Ensemble (Symphony Band, University Symphony Orchestra) - every semester
Being in good standing with the team in question? Business management type things?
Small Ensemble (General Chamber Music, Contemporary Directions Ensemble, Orchestral Repertoire) (2-3 semesters)
Maybe here we could plug in working with the trainers, learning how to manage a stadium or a pro team. I'm thinking that we might have to combine large and small ensemble here in some way.
Performance - on your main instrument, weekly lessons plus weekly studio class
The Division I sport in question. The butt-busting college athletes do is self-evident
Non Music Requirements
English 124/125, 3 credits
Argumentative Writing, 3 credits
*15 credits of electives (AP/IB counts towards this)
*We could add in more pre-business or pre-med courses to shore up the academic rigor, and reduce the electives allotment. Have em take Anatomy and learn how the body works!
Please, if you have ideas, criticisms, speak up and let us put our minds together and come up with a better idea than what I cooked up here. I may publish details of other music degree programs that I think could align well with athletics-specific requirements.
Thanks for your time.