Student Recruiting and Academic Discipline

John Baik

Failure to Academic Discipline

Although the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, does not unify rules for every college, each school has its own code of conduct, which applies to its student-athletes. Every school in the same division shares the common restrictions on certain behaviors and encourages student-athletes to participate in academic life.

However, violation of these codes has been pervasive. Last year, in January, when the head of NCAA conducted an investigation for academic misconduct in college athletics, a vice president of enforcement, Jon Duncan, mentioned that it is not even a surprise to face this type of issue. Throughout his interview, he appeared concerned about the academic misconduct, as much it is the most common and consistent problem in the NCAA.

The student-athletes have different circumstances that requires different conditions than other students in a regular academic curriculum. Mike Abu is a writer who has covered this issue and assisted student-athletes. In his writing, he points out that the college-level academic life is definitely not a priority to the players. “I tried to help them work through their boring macroeconomics multiple-choice homework, but it became more and more apparent that they didn’t care about learning any of it”(Abu, 2014). The student-athletes do not have the same curriculum or requirements to graduate and earn a degree, which is not even directly related to their future career. Thus, in the first place, when it comes to discussing a grade with college players, it means their “performance on the field, not in the classroom” to them.  The performance is the priority for their pursuing career. They would choose to concentrate on athletic training and manage their time for it, rather than to study academically or do both equally.

Coaches and educational institutions also have become a suspicious target to be investigated. Back in 2007, a former graduate assistant football coach gave answers for tests to two athletes. Even after the NCAA created the academic integrity unit in 2013 for revising the common failure of discipline, University of North Carolina Tar Heels and several other schools became the subjects of investigation due to the primary investigator’s argument that the schools provided sham classes or fake ones for their athletes, violating academic requirements. It is possible to say that most of the academic fraud has involved not only the athletes but also the educational institutions themselves. Considering that the athletes who had the privilege for their test at Tar Heels were the “prospective” players, it is not simply a cheating for easy pass.  The involvement of schools and coaches in evident.

The coach’s involvement is inevitable, and the reality is different than the policy from the NCAA. First of all, it is important to him or her to maintain the team because it is a part of his or her job. Secondly, “coaches are paid based one their team’s performance on the field, not in the classroom”(Abu, 2014). Just like the players, the coach attaches importance to the players’ performance rather than their academic grade. What about the school? Philip Wegmann, an article writer in sports section for the Federalist website, notes “An analysis of NCAA enforcement actions shows 26 major infraction cases…, involving schools”(Wegmann, 2015). As it is mentioned earlier, the educational institutions are caught for encouraging cheating. He also argues that the main reason for that is money. College sports, especially these days, are moneymakers for their schools.

 

Jonathan San Agustin

Louisville Recruiting Goes Past The Court

 

As education comes first for any student going to school, many athletic school programs will go to big lengths to obtain the right player. All though schools are promoting education, a school championship in any sports program leads to more money for these universities. One of the most recent illegal methods of recruitment comes from Louisville, Kentucky.

The University of Louisville Basketball Team has been exposed as a program that used strippers to recruit players from the years 2010-2014. Former graduate assistant coach Andre McGee paid for the expenses and is currently being looked into the NCAA. Many people are waiting to hear from McGee and no one wants to hear the answer more than Coach Pitino.

“I don’t know if any of this is true or not,” Pitino explained to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil and Yahoo! Sports. “There’s only one person who knows the truth, and he needs to come out and tell the truth to his teammates, to the University of Louisville, to his fans and to his coaches that have taught him to do the right thing for years and allowed him to be part of something special here.”

With no story from McGee’s side, Katina Powell revealed this recruiting process in her book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen.” Powell discusses how she was contacted by McGee to supply strippers. McGee paid for the parties and entertainment that he wanted for his recruits that went as high as $10,000.

Former players have spoken out about their recruitment experience being filled with parties and strippers luring them into signing with the school. At the Billy Minardi Hall, a basketball party would be going on then the current players would leave and recruits would pick which girls they wanted to sleep with.

The school has decided to put a post-season ban on the men’s basketball team as the investigation is on going. As James R. Ramsey, the president of the school, stated he “determined it was reasonable to conclude that violations had occurred in the men’s basketball program in the past.”

Many people are wondering how this scandal could have gone on for so long without anyone realizing especially Pitino. When asked about whether or not Pitino knew about the situation, Powell stated that McGee told her, “He’s Rick. He knows about everything.” Pitino has denied having any knowledge about the incident.

Many strippers, including Powell’s own children, have backed up her story saying that there was sex for cash “side deals” for players such as NCAA champion Peyton Siva. Other notable names in this alleged recruit scandal include JaQuan Lyle, Antonio Blakeney, Jordan Mickey, and Terry Rozier who had sex during the recruiting visits. Rozier has stated that he was already committed to the Cardinals before his visit. Rozier goes on to say, “I don’t want to talk about it. I will say, though, Coach P [Pitino] as far as the dorm situation and visits, he’d go out to eat with the recruits and their parents. As far as after that, he wouldn’t know… I can say his nose is clean.”

The case is on going as the basketball continues to play their regular season with no ambitions of getting a championship this year. Player recruitment no longer looks at a player’s education, but rather their talents on the court. With this type of investigation happening, it is clear that other programs must take notice of this example and recruit players with the highest principles and standards.

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