Student athlete standards

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April 6, 2007

12:06 AM

Following Georgetown University’s noteworthy run to the Final Four in the recent NCAA men’s basketball tournament, The New York Times reported some questionable information surrounding a former player in the Georgetown lineup.

p. As reported in Tuesday’s Beyond the Burg, Marc Egerson, a former freshman at the university, failed 12 courses throughout high school, earning a 1.33 grade point average in his core courses. He even managed to fail physical education his freshman year. His SAT scores were nothing to brag about either, somewhere in the 600s out of a 1600 scale.

p. Egerson, like many other college athletes, was able to improve his poor academic standing by entering a prep school. The school provided him with a high school diploma, while requiring little to no school work.

p. The concept of athletes being held to lower standards in the admissions process is nothing new to universities in the United States. Most of us have at least one friend who would not have gotten in to his or her college of choice without athletic abilities. While I believe the choice should ultimately be left up to the school, in the end, by lowering standards, every party involved ends up worse off.

p. The coaches are forced to deal with players who, most often, are unable to handle the academics as well as the intense discipline required from a competitive team. Other athletes also lose out. In spite of athletes like Egerson, who don’t deserve to be admitted based on their academics, many athletes do meet the requirements — yet they are all held to the same stereotype. Most people assume that the majority of athletes get into better schools based on their athletic talents, rather than their academic abilities.

p. Of all parties involved, the admitted player is worst off. Acceptance to such a prestigious school provides a false reality, a hope that he or she will be able to get away with doing no work. If the player manages to graduate from the university, what happens next? If he doesn’t get the opportunity to play professionally, he will finally be forced to find a job that actually requires him to meet a common standard. And no boss is going to care if he used to be some basketball star.

p. Georgetown University is currently ranked number 23 in the U.S. News and World Report’s academic rankings. Its student body earned an average SAT score of 1400. So it seems pretty pathetic that they couldn’t find enough students to fill a basketball team without dramatically lowering their standards.

p. While the current report may have tarnished Georgetown’s academic standing, this is also the first year since 1985 that its men’s basketball team has made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. The question becomes: how important is winning?

p. The College prides itself on the impressive efforts of its athletes in the classroom, graduating 89 percent of its student athletes who were awarded an athletic scholarship. However, it’s fair to say that our College is not known as a top athletic school, and there is nothing wrong with that. Our choice to put academics above athletics provides our student body with much better opportunities after college, even if our football team did have a losing record. But, obviously, not every school feels that way. As reported in The Times, Nick Murchison, a junior at Georgetown, said, “To be honest with you, I think as long as they win, that’s the most important thing for people.”

p. __Rachael Siemon-Carome, a freshman at the College, is a staff columnist. Her columns appear on Fridays.__

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