Just because Penn State wound up in a minor bowl this year, many fans are using the F-word (that’s “failure”) to describe the program. It’s nice to aspire to a BCS bowl every year and it’s even nicer when Penn State actually makes it to one. However, we have something else to cheer about and that’s Penn State’s academic success rate, which based on certain measures would have put the Nittany Lions in the mythical Academic BCS title game this year. Their opponents would have been Boston College. These are two excellent football programs with the distinction of being better than everyone else in the way their players perform academically. So says Lindsey Luebchow in the Patriot-News this morning:
Unless we are prepared to adopt a purely mercenary approach to college sports — and perhaps pay players rather than perpetuate the charade of the student-athlete — we should recognize that the future of most college football players depends on getting a college degree, not on securing an NFL contract.
We should care [that] only 32 percent of Texas football players leave campus after four or five years of playing football with a degree. And we should applaud the 72 percent of Penn State players who leave with a degree. Even more important though, we should care about ensuring that Penn State and all colleges and universities provide all of their students with the skills needed to get a good job. A college’s job is not simply to graduate students; it is to educate them.
Read this excellent piece here.
Let’s not forget what the university’s true mission is. Let’s not forget college football the way it was before television and corporate sponsorship. I’m fortunate (in a way) that I’m old enough to remember those things. I recognize that I’m an anachronism. However, I hope I don’t stand alone when I say that I would prefer to think of Penn State as a distinguished institution of higher learning first, and as a football team second.
A good point but rather antiqued. College football is big business and this is what it has become. Do I prefer local business rather than Wal*Mart… damn straight, but this is what business has become. The cash flow of an athletic department depends on it’s football program, can you afford to do ’60’s business in the ’00’s? If your players want an education , it’s there to be had, if it’s just a farm system for the NFL, then so be it. ( Hard to think that you would support the liberal view and me the Con’….is the moon full or something???? ) Anyway, as for my time at PSU, what I learned wasn’t in the classroom…..I think you’ll find that Happy Valley is named that for a reason and it’s not academics. However , academics is always a great talking point when putting down Pitt fans! I can argue both sides of this one.
The Nittany Turkey says
So then, Jed, would you be in favor of paying college players? End the student-athlete charade and call a spade a spade? Is that what you really want? If so, I believe that you and Paterno share some radical ideas.
On the other hand, if you’re saying that the current degenerate, mercenary nature of big-time college football is not fixable, I’m inclined to agree. This morass is a reflection of the skewed values of the era and the society in which we live. We regularly overpay for simple entertainment, blowing big money on simple-ass pleasures while allowing the foundations of our society to crumble. That sucks the big one. Alas, the downward spiral that will lead us to ruin has begun and it will inexorably end us up in the trash heap of history along with the other great societies that became too full of themselves, not the least of which was the Roman Empire. But I digress. Should we just give in to these pressures and admit that big-time universities are not there for education, but rather as a farm system for the NFL?
In another blog, the chief bloggist, in a glowing tribute to Joe Paterno, stated that Paterno and the football program had elevated Penn State from “an advanced school for farmers’ kids” to an elite research university. I wasn’t a farmer’s kid when I matriculated in 1964 and neither was my uncle when he entered Penn State as a chemical engineering major in 1940. Football was not a necessary ingredient for the success of an academic institution back then and Penn State was on the academic map a long time before Paterno took over the program. While he’s done a lot for the school, the suggestion that PSU would not be a premier research institution without its football program is preposterous hyperbole. Yet as long as Penn State is going to have a football program, it is good to know that Paterno is still trying to uphold some semblance of academic standards for his players (even Morelli, the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism major).
Ahhh, our values are really screwed up! Football Ã¼ber alles! Fuck the graduation rate! Let’s just hire mercenaries!
There. I got that out of my system.
If you consider mine a liberal standpoint, Jed, I’d hate to meet the true conservative of your definition!
Yeah, that’s really Morelli’s major. I guess it’s the Pennsylvania equivalent of Miami’s Underwater Basket Weaving.
Good rant…..can’t say that I don’t agree with you. But we’re not in Kansas anymore and I don’t know if the yellow brick road can be found. I remember a player in the late ’60 ( the name escapes me) who passed up the NFL for med school. imagine that today?. Having my last kid enrolled in PSU, I find the even the concept of a college degree is bastardized. Perhaps we’re just geezers holding on to old school ideas and anyway , I couldn’t pass up the chance to call you a liberal. So the concept of paying players will be left to an other time and an other rant, but may well end up the future of college football. Let the downhill spiral begin, it seems to be a landslide.
The Nittany Turkey says
Having spent a good portion of my working life behind the ivy covered walls, I can’t disagree that the value of a baccalaureate degree is not what it used to be. People now must pursue advanced degrees to be competitive. Some attribute this slide directly to the grade inflation brought upon us by anti-war liberal professors who were sympathetic to students wanting to avoid service in Vietnam—institutionalized draft dodging, as it were. However, I think that was but one component of a major problem with the way we approach education as a whole in this country. We’re too inclusive—everybody has a “right” to a college degree. We’re forced to graduate the chaff with the wheat by the dictates of political correctness in our pseudo-egalitarian society. Don’t stop me now—I’m on a roll!
Sorry to break your rant , but Dave Joyner was the players name. Now rant on, as you were just getting started…..
The Nittany Turkey says
Dave Joyner—farmer’s kid makes good. Thanks for bridging that gap.
It’s a brand new day and I’m out of Professor Irwin Corey mode.
Dave Joyner was a bit of a farmer as his family owned the farm with the round barn on rt.45 going from Boalsburg to Centre Hall…..a gentleman framer ,as his father was a doctor (MD type), but had a bit of livestock.
The Nittany Turkey says
So, he actually attended Penn State in hopes of learning how to design barns with rectangular footprints?