So much for student-athletes

The News & Observer‘s coverage this morning of the latest UNC-Chapel Hill sports controversy features the following observation from pro football star Julius Peppers’ agent, a former academic counselor in the UNC athletic department:

To [Carl] Carey, though, Peppers didn’t represent an athlete who didn’t try or didn’t care about academics. Instead, Carey said, Peppers’ academic struggles were typical of a system that routinely fails athletes who arrive in college unprepared for academic life.

Carey compared the difficulties some athletes encounter while attempting to fit into the world of academia to the struggles an ordinary student would face if he was asked to play football.

“A typical student would fear for their life if they were sent out on a football field with the football team,” Carey said. “They would feel unprepared, they would feel scared. They would feel inadequate.

“And so you could assume an athlete whose academic records suggest that they’re likely going to struggle, and you put them in a classroom with [high] SAT [scores], guess how they’re feeling?”

Of course, this analysis ignores a key fact: College is for students. Those “unprepared for academic life” ought not to be students. When universities try to pass off athletes as students, the tail wags the dog. George Leef discussed this problem with Carolina Journal Radio/CarolinaJournal.tv.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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