Things that happened during the week which a Jersey guy took note of: Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is taking four courses this summer. All in Sports Management, which is major. All of them are online.
The NCAA makes a big deal of the phrase “student-athlete”, emphasizing time after time that college athletics are only part of the college experience.
It is naïve to say that the upper tier of college athletes in the country today totally embrace that concept. But still we like to hang on to the notion that when Johnny Football is not doing the magic acts which made him the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy last fall, he was at least going through the motions of being a college student.
Maybe that is still true, although the cynic in us suggest that none of the sports management classes Manziel is taking this semester will cause him a lot of angst. And we will take morning line on odds that Manziel comes within a year of even having enough credits to get his degree from the Aggies when he leaves for life in the NFL, perhaps as soon as next spring.
But taking all of your courses online? Manziel says he did this because going to class turned into more of a “big deal than I thought”–which is the way he explained it to the San Antonio Express-News.
Meaning that autograph seekers and tweeters and bloggers made attending class a distraction. Really. Maybe that might happen the first few classes or even the first few weeks. But kids are kids. After the initial buzz of having the Heisman Trophy QB sitting next to you, the attention span would seem to shift to another direction.
Manziel and Texas A&M officials are technically doing nothing wrong here. No rules violations. But it just seems wrong. It goes against the lingering hope we had of big time college football players still being more kids than adults when they are not in uniform.
What about just mingling with your fellow students? What about being part of campus life? What about simply being a kid? Maybe Manziel can’t get that. And that is too bad, if its true.
Compare Manziel’s attitude to that of former Boston linebacker Luke Kuechly, who left BC a year early as the Butkus Award winner as the best LB in the country, as a two-time All American and the leading tackler in the history of college football.
Kuechly was drafted in the first round by the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, received a huge signing bonus and became–the NFL’s defensive Rookie of the Year.
But last month, Kuechly was back at Boston College, not only attending classes, but living in a campus dorm–because he still liked being a kid. And in a world where kids are often forced to grow up much too quickly, there is something comforting about that.
The NCAA can use the words “lack of institutional control” in describing the situation at Miami and not burst out laughing after the internal fiasco of the investigative force was revealed in the last few weeks? Please. What the NCAA must do in the case of Miami is close the case quickly, perhaps say that the two years of self-imposed post season bans the Hurricanes imposed and a small reduction of scholarships (5 a year for 3 years sounds right). And then run away from that case as quickly as possible as it attempts to erase the stains on its image….Remember when Tiger Woods and match play were locks for automatic victories? Not any more. Tiger’s one and done this week at the snow-delayed match play Championships in Tucson, Arizona was not a fluke. Tiger is just not the match play star he was as an amateur…Sign of the times. New Red Sox starting shortstop Stephen Drew will make $8.5 million this year after a season in which he hit .223 with 7 home runs and 28 RBI in 79 games for Oakland and Arizona last season. Think about that.
As much as we hate November college basketball, we love February and especially March basketball. You couldn’t ask for three better games to watch which also had meaning in the past week than Harvard’s win over Princeton, Indiana’s win over Michigan State and Northeastern’s win over James Madison. It will only get better with increasing tension as the regular season winds down and the post season begins….If I’m the Big East, I bite the bullet and take ESPN’s matching offer on the television deal in football and basketball, simply because ESPN is still the world wide leader in exposure for college football and basketball, no matter what NBC and Fox and CBS offer. The compromise for the Big East, will for ESPN to hold the primary rights and then sell off Big East games to other networks, which will increase exposure of the conference. ESPN says it “matched” NBC’s offer. No other networks can counter bids What must be settled is what the term “matching” means…If you want a sleeper as the NCAA champion, look west towards Gonzaga, which can’t really be called a “sleeper” anymore”, but has not made it to the Final Four Big Dance. A Gonzaga-Butler final, might not please the people at CBS, but it would be a great game to watch as the sequel to the regular season meeting in Indianapolis won by Butler at the buzzer.
© Copyright 2013 Mark, All rights Reserved. Written For: A Jersey Guy