After Further Review ... A headline in a recent publication caught my eye: "WHY WORRY ABOUT WHO'S NO. 1, WHEN EDUCATION IS NO. 2?" was a reference to high school football recruits in choosing a college. As a lifelong educator, it certainly seems that "education" has taken a back seat for high school football stars enrolling in colleges and universities. "You go to school to learn" we were told when we were young. Guess that's changed when it comes to athletic pursuits.
The month of February is when graduating high school football players are able to "commit" to a college/university. Some of these players have been recruited or at least tracked throughout their high school career. They are labeled "blue chippers."
So what criteria do those blue chippers use to decide which college/university to attend? Well, try this: 1) Is my ability good enough to make the T.E.A.M. or will I sit on the bench? 2) How is the school ranked in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series)? 3) Does the school have a course of study to match my interests? Please note that while education is listed here as #3, there may be other factors that precede it; for example: Who's the coach? Is the school located in the type of climate I want? What is the school's offer in terms of my "free ride" (scholarship, et al) + fringe benefits?
It is apparent that some football players go to college only to move on to the NFL, so then the question becomes: who cares what the education/academic level is? May I remind athletes who think in those terms , that of all the hundreds of college football players eligible (one does not have to graduate), the NFL drafts about 350 each year; and of those drafted, less than 100 "make it" in the NFL.
So if one "goes to school to learn" and his chances of getting a set-for-life salary are minimal, what criteria should be used in choosing a school of higher education? Graduation from college seems to be irrelevant.
When you review the F.G.R. (Federal Graduation rate) of teams playing in the BCS, one finds that the two teams that played for the 2008 championship - Florida and Oklahoma - graduate only 36% of their football players. Other schools in the top BCS teams in 2008 had graduation rates 30% below those of other students in their schools.
Will you keep education as a priority, along with sports, in selecting a college?
For more information about Jim Tunney, please visit his website: www.JimTunney.com, or if you would like to respond to this message, please send your email to Jim@JimTunney.com