My rant about academics in the SEC (Thank you Morris Claiborne)

Submitted by RollDamnTide on April 3rd, 2012 at 11:03 AM


Ok, I've been saving a rant and just waiting for the right opportunity to do it. Thank you Morris Claiborne. With your recent score of FOUR on the wonderlich test, you have proven yet again that academics aren't important in SEC football anymore. How does one obtain a 4 on the wonderlich test? Seriously.  It brings into question the education he received while in college. It brings serious doubt into my mind about the standard in which these student athletes are being judged by. I'm assuming he kept himself eligible through college, but one must wonder if these universities are just passing these kids along. Claiborne is just one of a long line of SEC kids who have bombed this test, this has been going on for quite some time.

I'm not here to tell you that the wonderlich is a great test of intelligence, I'm just here to tell you that an average intelligence 12 year old would do better than Morris Claiborne. People will be quick to point out that AJ Green scored a 10 on the wonderlich, and look how well he turned out. To say that, however, is completely missing my point. Is his success in the NFL the true measure if he's doing ok? Sooner or later, these young men won't be able to play football anymore, and they will have to fall back on something. More and more these days, we're hearing that these guys are flat broke shortly after their careers. It's because they aren't getting an education, they are being used for athletics. You don't hear about this as much in other conferences, because the emphasis on education is the first priority. What do National Championships mean, when more players than you'd think could have problems spelling championship?

I'd be willing to be you that a large amount of the players who reportedly are broke now after their careers, are SEC conference players. You don't see this in other conferences, because other conferences haven't sold their souls to boosters. Joe Paterno has a quote that I love, when he was asked which was his best class. When asked he says "I don't know yet, I want to see what kind of men they become." That really says it all, he didn't really care what kind of NFL careers they had, he wanted to know what kind of people they would become. That doesn't exist at a lot of SEC schools, because at the end of the day, winning is all that matters

I'm in the very small minority of SEC fans who will admit to you how big of a problem this is. But it's a running joke, and the NCAA needs to look further into it, because it's a massive problem.



April 3rd, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

I graduated in '01 and I swear that you were my dad's age.  Not really sure why I felt that way, maybe it's just the tone and levelheadedness of your posts.  Now, I feel really old.  Thanks a lot RDT.  You're a dick.


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:11 AM ^

That IS pretty sad.  The wonderlich isn't the best measure of intellect, but still...

However, having the pleasure of having some Michigan football players in my classes while an undergrad, we didn't have the market cornered on Rhodes scholars on our teams either.  Any Michigan fans who get 'holier than thou' re; SEC players need to understand that we have our share of 'Rocks for Jocks 101', or magically pair up the football players with premeds for group projects that account for 50% of the semester grades during Intro Psych (Tim Biakabatuka was 'placed' into our group of 3 premeds)

The student athletes on the football team, for the most part, would not have been able to matriculate with the rest of the general student population if based on academics alone.  Hopefully, while there, the AD allows for these kids to get a useful education that will serve them well after their playing days are over. 



April 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

I attend a mid-major (C-USA) school and have a class with a few basketball players. What pisses me off more than anything is how they always walk in late as hell, never take off their headphones, and play on their iPads all class. Our team won like 8 games or something this year, I don't even know.  Do your work, superstar. Somebody else is paying for you to be there.

(this isn't necessarily a reply to you, I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents and some jackwagon broke the thread)


April 3rd, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

I dont think thats entirely fair to the student athletes at our university.  while there will always be outliers, i happened to have some atudent athletes in my courses while at UM (LS&A) and they were on time to class, participating fully, and almost without exception added value to the class discussions.  (I for one had a starting michigan football quarterback in one of my classes and small group section, and I can tell you he gave 100% effort, and wasnt a 'rocks for jocks' guy.)  some more well known examples of stellar academic student-athletes might be kids like Zoltan and more recently Novak who found success pursuing a prestigious BBA at the ross school. 

don't forget, there are outliers within the normal student body as well. 

not saying by any means that we have the market corned on rhodes scholars, but at the same time the problem seems significantly worse down in the sec.  when was the last time you heard about a topnotch recruit getting turned down by admissions at an SEC school?  michigan has done that. and the michigan coaches have in the past stopped pursuing some top notch recruits b/c their academic profile would have a limited at best shot of getting past admissions.  


April 3rd, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

Aside from Juco transfers (where we are stricter than the average FBS school), our admissions standards are no more stringent than those of SEC schools.  We will admit any incoming freshman football player who has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse, just like 90% of FBS schools. When you talk about "a topnotch recruit getting turned down by admissions," you must be talking about Demar Dorsey, because he's the only example I know of over the past several years.  Before you use Dorsey as proof that we have lofty standards, note that he was also rejected by FSU and Louisville, not exactly two elite institutions.

At Michigan, you can pretty much tell whether or not a guy had actual U-M academic credentials based on the school he's enrolled in.  I was in LSA and had some football players who were classmates, and they were reasonably bright guys.  But they weren't the ones getting in by the skin of their teeth.  Those guys are admitted only to Kinesiology.


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:42 AM ^

What makes me a little suspicious about your identity is not that you're a "moderate and rational thinker," but that you don't seem to disagree with Michigan fans on anything.  

There are visiting fans here who are fair-minded enough, but they don't buy all our propaganda - as they shouldn't be expected to.  I could expect a Michigan fan to make unfair blanket statements about the SEC based on the experience of one player, but not an Alabama fan.


April 3rd, 2012 at 12:52 PM ^

My aunt's friend taught one of his classes. He's a very hard worker, but just doesn't have the sort of intelligence to excel in college. But he makes a huge effort, so I think that should make up for it. It's not like he's a guy who is just coasting by because he's a star.


April 3rd, 2012 at 4:57 PM ^

Honestly, Pryor is not an intelligent guy whatsoever. But my Aunt, who is a prof at OSU, had him in one of her classes and she said the kid worked his butt off in her class. She said his reasoning and wording of things was poor sometimes, but he gave full effort in groups and discussions. He also had no problem coming to her with questions or to make sure he understood her lectures. Now, I obviously can't say he was like that for every class, but if he was I totally buy the Academic All Big Ten as legit. He got a B from my Aunt.


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

Shhhh....the notion that kids should stay for all four years in order to get an education is not a popular idea around here; it just gets you labeled an old crank who wants to deprive innocent kids of their opportunity to make a lot of money as quickly as possible.

If you assert that big time college athletics in the four major sports are heavily populated by kids who don't have the slightest interest in doing anything other than turning pro as soon as possible, and that 95% of all infractions involve getting these kids to commit or to keep them eligible once they enroll, you'll be called a hater or a nut.


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

I think we also underestimate just how difficult college is, academically speaking, for some of these guys.  A person with a Wonderlic of four is supposed to have signficantly below-average intelligence.  Asking that guy to survive academically at a major research institution, even with the extra help/tutoring that athletes get, is asking a lot.  Maybe LSU was really difficult for Claiborne and he didn't want to keep going to school there.  



April 3rd, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

Yeah, but he was a junior.  So its not like he wasn't already faking it for 2 1/2 years.  The emperor isn't wearing any clothes here.  Which is why the Tpeezy score is disappointing, but worth pointing out.  Tressel was doing the same thing at Ohio for his stars.  


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:37 AM ^

He didn't have a chance to leave until now.  He had to gut it out for 2.5 years.  This is the first chance he's had to finally stop going to school and he took it.  

Note as well that he was at a point in his schooling where he'd be expected to take upperclass-level courses, which are probably even more difficult for him.  NCAA athletes have to make progress toward a degree each semester to stay eligible.  You can't just take 100-level courses for four years.


April 3rd, 2012 at 12:13 PM ^

While I am tempted to agree with you Don, I can't help but wonder how many  third year engineering students would decline an offer of a multi million dollar yearly salary to return to their cubicle on North Campus for another year.  The University is an opportunity for individuals to prepare for a career.  I was a classical archaeology student... how is that any more productive than a student majoring in football? 


April 3rd, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

Lol.  I'm 2 latin and 2 upper-level arch. classes from a triple major in Classical Arch (graduated with two BS in Biology and Psychology).

That classical archaeology background serves wonders in annoying my parents and spouse when traveling to Europe or any museum with a large classical antiquities department.


April 3rd, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

If anyone has the access to the data and the time (it is April and spring slump), an interesting project would be to look at student athlete academic scores vs. "successful" teams, such as BCS Bowl Appearances/Wins, NCAA Tournament, National Titles and see if there are any observable trends.

Based on what I'm seeing in this thread and the SEC's (and Ohio's) successes as of the last 10 years, there's likely a strong correlation of poor test scores to bowl wins or National Titles. There may be a few outliers with higher-standard coaching. I think Saban, Miles, Meyer, and Tressel work the loopholes well to reach "success".


April 3rd, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

You can't compare them to student-athletes as a whole, because there'd be a lot of confounding factors there (like the fact that most sports don't offer professional careers after college).  You'd have to compare them to other FBS college football players.  It's likely that the differences in academic performance between the rosters of say, Auburn and Minnesota is not large, if it exists at all.


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

Basing the entire academic reputation of a conference on one player's Wonderlic score is foolish. Every conference (except maybe the Ivies) has a few players that don't belong anywhere near a college if it weren't for their athletic abilities. Don't let anyone see Mario Manningham's score on that test.