Devaluing a college education

By Doug Gorman

I have always tried to defend the "dumb jock" theory.

Once I nearly came to blows with a co-worker at another paper because of his biased idea that athletes' brains are made out of sweat socks.

He even had the same belief about sports writers, thinking we were frustrated athletes, trying to relive our glory days from the baseball field, gridiron or basketball court instead of college graduates with degrees in journalism.

He didn't believe me when I explained men such as former Senators and Presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Jack Kemp were once professional athletes.

Not all athletes are Rhodes scholars or are studying to be brain surgeons, and I realize college athletes do get breaks at some schools when it comes to enrollment practices.

Still, I would like to believe that most college athletes are real students and go to class, study hard and make an effort to leave with a degree from their school.

However, there is no excuse for what apparently happened at the University of Georgia during former men's basketball coach Jim Harrick's era.

Members of the University of Georgia men's basketball team were allowed to take a course entitled Coaching Principals and Strategies of Basketball in the fall of 2001.

Jim Harrick, Jr., an assistant on daddy's staff, served as the teacher (I won't stoop low enough to call him the professor) for the course.

The Harricks were run out of Athens last year for violating many NCAA rules. Things are about to get really nasty as the Harricks are suing several high-ranking officials at the University of Georgia, claiming their reputations have been damaged.

I wonder if residents of Georgia can file a class action suit against Jr. for insulting our intelligence?

Wednesday afternoon the Associated Press obtained a copy of the 20-question multiple choice final exam giving by the youngest member of the Harrick coaching family. (The full test appeared on the second sports page of Thursday's Daily).

Talk about a joke.

Here is a sample of some of the questions:

How many goals are on a basketball court? The answer of course is two.

2. What is the name of the coliseum where the Georgia Bulldogs play? Gee, let's try Stegeman Coliseum. (I wonder if players in this class knew the name of the library or even where it is located on campus?).

My two favorites questions off the final are what basic color are the uniforms at Georgia home games and what conference is the University of Georgia a member of?

If I were a University of Georgia graduate I would be furious.

Athletics will always be an important part of the landscape at Georgia, but this crosses the line.

It blackens the school's academic reputation, which is outstanding and devalues the education from the institution.

All of us who have been to college know some courses are naturally easier than others, but to give a test, especially a final exam like that, is degrading to true college students, who know the pressures of final exam week.

Nothing will change my love for college athletics. The upcoming NCAA basketball tournament is my favorite sports event period.

However, it might help if we remember the real reason colleges are in business it to educated people, not to win basketball and football games.

(Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Daily. E-mail at dgorman@news-daily.com)