Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In the old days we had to get ourselves out of bed and get to class

His players also have the academic advisers' screen names for instant messaging and their cell phone numbers. There are "class checkers" who report to the coaches if someone is missing, and Friedgen said he hired tutors at about $12 an hour.

There are two ways to look at this:

1. The University of Maryland (and many other top tier sports programs) are helping student-athletes balance the demands put on them by needing to in the classroom and on the field. It is a win for the program keeping the student eligible and for the student they are pushed to keeping up with their studies.

2. These young people are being given so much “support” that they may not have to struggle, fail, and take stock in how they need to mature and grow to avoid future failure. In short personal responsibility growth skills atrophy because the lack of stress put upon them—much like building any other muscle.

There may be a connection in the poor personal conduct decisions made by players in football at both the college and professional levels with the lack of personal management skills. Think about how many times that the cannot miss blue chip recruit washes out at college. Could it be that he was never challenge enough in a high school game to deal with setbacks? When that player misbehaves and the issue is smoothed over, have key learning opportunities been missed (because he’s a great talent on the field)?

“Pain is weakness leaving the body,” the poster on the weight room wall tells us. The pain that goes with being called to account for personal behavior is another form of weakness that the student athelete needs to exercise.

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