Tuesday, July 08, 2008

APR Working It's Way Into Contracts

Although West Virginia hasn't had a problem in Football or Basketball with the APR, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about it. UAB and Washington St. lost football scholarships this year because of poor academic performance. Since the APR probably won't go away, what do you do about it? Who should be held accountable? In Sylvester Croom's new contract, there's language pertaining to APR.

"Byrne wouldn't say exactly what the contract language entails. But it would
likely protect the school in case of a doomsday APR scenario: a program incurs
significant scholarship losses or, worse, the dreaded death penalty. "

To my knowledge, and the knowledge of the writer of that piece, this is the first time a contract has had language regarding APR in it for a coach. And what is unclear to me in this case, or at any university, is what are the schools doing to assist. Although it doesn't seem like Croom is on the hook for anything but, as they say, a doomsday scenario. I think if you're going to hold someone accountable, you also need to give them the tools to succeed. I know I'm not leading the pack with that statement, but it is the one aspect of APR that seems to be talked about the least.

Hate them or not, Beilein and Rodriguez both pushed for updated academic facilities for their teams. Something that should benefit West Virginia in the near future. But not everyone in the country is an up and coming program like West Virginia. They mostly don't have the facilities to compete at the highest level. They don't have the money for top flight academic facilities. They aren't choosing from the cream of the crop as far as student athletes go, either. What I'm really working toward here is what are the conferences doing to assist schools in meeting APR requirements? A quick search netted zero results for what the Big East does to assist it's member schools. I should emphasize quick search, since that's all I have time for right now. But it's in the conferences best interests to assist it's member schools. I think it's also in the best interests of society for the schools, conferences, and the NCAA to expend resources toward this goal. I mean, if it's important enough to take away scholarships, shouldn't it also be important enough to make every effort to ensure that these kids are getting the kind of education they need to succeed in life?

I know Orson wasn't really going in the same direction I am with this in his beautiful piece yesterday, but his words have meaning to me with regards to these kids we cheer for. These kids we judge. These kids we throw away too easily, sometimes.

"I know some college football players come from similar neighborhoods, black
and white. Those of you blessed with impulse control, discipline, and a solid
ethical foundation didn’t pull it from the aether; it came to you via a series
of benefactors, witting or unwitting, who helped you become the person you

There are places, though, where these benefactors do not exist. In some
cases sport and coaching provides it for them. I don’t think every coach is
sincere when he says he loves his kids; there are liars, charlatans, and
lizard-brained reptiles in coaching, just as there are in every profession.
Above all, the M.O. remains winning, winning, and winning, especially the higher
up you go in college football’s hierarchy.

Yet I think there are some who genuinely, above all else, care deeply
about helping kids–and deny it or not, but at 18 you remain an infant in an
adult’s body."

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