By (Irish) JACK IRELAND
On Saturday night football fans throughout the country will be glued to their television sets or pouring into their favorite sports bar all around the country to watch the showdown between NO. 1 Louisiana State and second ranked Alabama. Hey, the winner will have a leg up toward one of the two berths for the BCS national championship game in January. After al, an SEC school, usually LSU or Alabama, has been winning the national stitle in Division I football for the last several years.
What could be better than that. It’s just about winning and winning big for power schools in the SEC., Big Ten, Pac-10 and Big 12.
I’m pretty sure it will be a classic college football game. Two tremendous football teams going head to head. But, I question the motives behind big-time college sports today, classic game or not.
It’s about the future for schools moving all around to different conferences to get that best national exposure and big money deals. All we hear is college football is heading for three or four Super Conferences and forget about everybody else.
I doubt you will find any fans, or even administrators and faculty a tLSU and Alabama thinking about academics and will their big-name or even backup p;layers go on to earn a college degree some day in the future. Most fans of schools like that could care less. it’s just “win baby, win.”
Well at schools like Notre Dame, Boston College, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and the Naval Acvadem to name a few , graduation is first and foremost when it comes to student athletes.
The NCAA released it’s most updated graduation rates earlier this week. It’s not a surprise that the University of Notre Dame ranked No. 1 among the 120 schools playimng in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) for the fifth straight year. This is the overall graduation rate in all Division I sports (male and female).
It’s graduation rate is 99 percent. Boston College and Duke tied for second at 97 percent. So it shows that major Division I schools can have good athletic programs and high graduation rattings for its stuent-athletes.
When you look at these GRS ratings, the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 10, except for Stanford, are nowhere to be found. Gee, that
s a big surprise.
The theme at those schools, especially in the big money making sports like football and basketball, is again” win baby win. and win big.”.
I know, the ND critics remind us all he time that the Irish are oi longer a football power. All that great tradition is something from the past.
Two weeks ago, while driving home from my own college reunion, I was listening to a sports talk show on XM radio.It was the same night Notre Dame had self destructed in the second half and lost to Southern Cal on national television.
The host of the show mentioned he was kind of surprised that ND lost to the Trojans. This astute fan, who had called infirst of all to talk about Stanford’s Andrew Luck, called Notre Dame’s fotball program garbage in response to the announcer’s comment.
Trust me pal, there is nothing garbage about ND. I can’t say the same for some of these so-called great football programs in the country.
Don’t be so sure the Irish won’t win again. However, they will have to do it with coach Brian Kelly recruting student-athletes who can play at a high level. He has several players there right now who fit that bill. ND may never win another national title because the Division I p;laying field is no longer even, but only time will tell if Kelly can bring the Irish back to consistenly being a nationally ranked program.
School with ratings of 90 and above were ND, Boston College, Duke, Northwestern, Rice and the Naval Academy.
For the third straight year Notre Dame is first in five GRS categories, all students (99 percent), males (98), female (100), black student-athletes (98) and football student athletes at 97 percent, up one point from 2010.
The federal numbers have the Irish first for all athletes, male and female students.
Plus, ND has been shining for years in sports like women’s basketball and soccer, ice hockey, baseball and now the men’s lacrosse squad is one of the best in the nation.
Last March the women’s basketball team reached the NCAA championship game before losing to Baylor. The Irish women are No. 2 in the preseason poll released this week.
And Coach Mike Brey has done an outstanding job producing solid teams each year in the rugged Big East Conference. Last year the Irish rose as high as No. 5 nationally in the final regular season poll.
Now, most of our college sports fans of today, young and not so young, don’t think any of that matters. Again it’s that. “just win baby. just win”.
Some fans and media alike think these athletes, at the big Division I level schools, should be paid some kind of of a stipend because of all the revenue they bring into the university, especially in football and basketball. That’s crazy.
The argument is many come from low income backgrounds and have no spending money like other students do. Agsin, that’s crazy.
Did anyone mention these athletes (male and female) are on a full scholarship.They are treated like kings and queens. A chance of a lifeime for a free college education. Unfortunately, many of these athletes are there to play sports with academics way in the background.
Now, lets ;lso be fair here. We know there are many good student-athletes playing football for teams like LSU, Alabama, Arkansas anf Auburn.
Another unfortunate thing that often happens is these athletes (male) find ways to hit the bars, get into fights, suspended (but usually return in time for the big games) and even have prostitutes avalable at certain schools.
I really get my ire up jhen we mentions schools like Ohio State (what a disgrace), Miami( don’t get me started), Southern Palifornia (Coach Pete Carroll escaped just in time to the NFL), and oh yes, the Cam Newton story at Auburn. It’s hard to say there was a converup of any major wrongdoings because the NCAA steered clear of that since Newton was on his way to winning the 2010 Heisman Trophy.
So many college presidents turn the other way in the recruting of certain athletes. They are willing to pay NFL type salariesto their coaches for a chance at the BCS bowls, winning a national title and oh yes, bringing in the big revenue.
Again, those ,memorable words ring out. “Just win baby, win.”
My responses is schools like Notre Dame, Boston College and Duke excel is so many Division I sports (male and female) the right way. At Notre Dame the goal of the administration and faculty is to give students (athletes and non athletes) the best education possible. And most of all, give each student-athlete a great, great chance to earn a college degree. and graduate.
How refreshing that sounds in the world we live in today.