Coaches vs. Graduation Rates

It is needless to say that many students want to go and decide to go to college during their high school years. These students maybe just students or student-athletes. As these students decide in a sport that they enjoy earlier on in life, they want to pursue that sport through school and play for their school. You try out for the team and you make it or you don’t. Then do the same thing again and again until middle or high school sports is over. During the high school years of playing, the athletes are waiting to be scouted for the sport and are trying to juggle the academics part of their high school career. They manage to do that then move on to college.

I have always been told that college is a different experience and is a lot more challenging than high school. However, that doesn’t affect my decisions on whether I am going or not, but thats not the point. The student athletes in high school end up playing in college.Now thats at least four years or more depending on the major and the college, but either way there is still athletes. There is something happening in these athletes life that some may see and others may not.

Every student at a college that plays a sport loves it. They love representing their school and the families that come out to see and the roaring crown in the stadium. Yea, thats all very great. But during the season and the games and the work outs and ALL the practicing that needs to be done to win, where does academics play a role. Obviously with less academics that results in less graduates. Thats the problem.

This problem lays mainly on the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) football teams and the basketball teams. Focusing more on basketball the graduation rates and the theories behind them are ridiculous. However these rates have grown over the past ten years. VERY slowly though. Now, whether you watch college basketball on television or attend games or follow teams or do none of that, you should still care about the students.

A study done in 2002 showed that mens basketball graduation rates did not exceed 46 percent since six years before that. Thats sort of shocking, well not really. Thats just a quick little preview for the years to come. But the bottom line and the reasons for this, in my opinion starts with the coaches.

When coaches are out scouting they mention the educational opportunity at that specific college. Thats great and all but later on that little thought he mentioned earlier fades away. This thought seems to fade as soon as those players become a part of their basketball program. Once the player is a part of the program it’s all for the coaches or its for nothing. What I mean by that is coaches want the players to do their best to make them look good, well and to win of

North Carolina and head coach Roy Williams, center, celebrate a victory in the championship game at the men's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament

course. Winning. Thats a deep thought. Have you ever considered how much time and effort coaches put into their players to make the team win? It’s a lot. But have you considered how much time the players spend making this happen for their coaches.

Coaches spend hours upon hours creating plans and training sessions and workouts and possibly foods to eat for the players. In return, the players spend hours upon hours working these plans and training sessions in the gym and on the court. Over and over again coaches tell their players, “if you put your heart and soul into these practices and games you can make it into the NBA.” Of course these players are going to give one hundred and fifty percent because they have a mind-set of making it to the NBA. With that in mind only a few players actually make it that far and fifteen players selected since 1997 were underclassmen. This brings back the issue of academics. Well the players can’t focus on these academics because they spend their every waking moment in the gym. This causes them to miss classes or not do work or both. This doesn’t apply to every single college out there. There are many with very good student athletes and have a very high graduation rate. These qualities are mostly found in the Patriot League.

The Patriot League is a separate league of college teams that may mix in a game or two with the normal college teams. There are eight Patriot League men’s basketball teams. There is one very important factor that separates these two leagues drastically. This just so happens to be education. Is it hard to believe that in this world a coach could actually enforce the thought studying?Well not for these eight schools. Education is by far the number one priority in these students minds and the coaches enforce that. Before a game the coach may say, “Fella’s if we win, we win, if we don’t then thats fine to, have fun and I can deal without winning, I can’t deal with you guys falling behind in school.” Thats a great pre-game statement. And it is true. Players in this league play the game of basketball simply for the game and it shows in their performance. On the other hand, they are in classes regularly and actually have a standard rule that if a player does not have a grade point average above a 3.0 they can’t play. This is not the case for the regular NCAA basketball teams.

For those colleges, your lucky if your coach looks at a transcript. They only need players not students. But there is a problem with that. These players came to the college to play and get an education, these coaches do not enforce that. I maybe wrong there maybe a few that can contradict my thinking and thats fine but I am talking about the majority. These coaches have one concern and thats winning. But what they don’t realize is that they are actually hurting these players futures.

These players spend so much time in the gyms that they forget school work like I have stated before. But when the season is over and the NBA career only calls a few people then what happens to the rest. They all stand there and have no idea what to do with themselves. They wasted away the semester practicing and not doing their work that when the season is over they don’t have the high enough grades to graduate. Now they don’t know what to do. No basketball, no school graduation, where do they go? As you can see the coaches brain wash the players by telling them they can make it big and leave them falling short by not supporting the education.

So in my opinion and im sure im speaking for others, ATTENTION COACHES! Start helping your players instead or hurting them.

Quick link on one way actions are being taken on this situation