Logan Zone

Coaches, schools see the athlete before the student

Posted September 24, 2013
Updated September 25, 2013

When I was hired as the football coach at East Carolina, I was on a mission to make the admissions director my best friend. Why? Because he and I can make each other's job easier.

If the football team wins games, more students apply to the school, and he gets a better pool to choose from. That makes admissions happy.

If admissions is happy, that means when I have to ask for an exception to admit a player who might be a bit short of those standards, I am more likely to get that. #MissionorMoney  thumbnail Watch, interact: College $ports: #missionormoney

The WRAL Documentary team is taking a look at the relationship between academics and athletics and money and winning in College $ports: #MissionorMoney.

Is it cheating to bring a player to campus who has no chance at a degree? What if he's the guy who will win you the national championship?

Some of these guys are so ill-equipped to even come to college, it's like landing on the moon for them.

When I coached, you had to have 12 hours of classes to stay eligible and a certain GPA in each class.

I would sit down with my academic counselor and we'd look through that course catalog and find something that could get my players the grade they needed.

Every student on campus knows those courses. So do those academic counselors who work specifically with the athletes.

UNC just took it to the next step: Find a professor and offer him season tickets.

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  • Ken D. Sep 24, 1:50 p.m.

    I see that you've accepted that you aren't going to coach college football again. Chancellors just aren't going to hire somebody who not only knows where the bodies are buried, but is prepared to give us a map to find them. I appreciate your candor, and hope to live long enough to see administrators do away with the hypocrisy that makes it so rare.

  • DML Sep 24, 1:54 p.m.

    You do realize that you coached at ECU, right Steve? The same school that has become a hotbed for talented players UNC couldn't accept.

  • BH38 Sep 24, 2:02 p.m.

    Really , show me a college that gets millions of dollars a year for being smart. in todays world more that eve,its all about the money $$$$$$$$

  • NCSU84 Sep 24, 2:03 p.m.

    I'm sure there will be numerous folks on from UNC Chapel Hill talking about their situation, which has been the only local Univ in the news for the past 2+ years? Of course everyone does it, so this show will bring in all universities. This will make what UNC did seem like "ok all do it, so let's not get all wound up on nust UNC."

  • lec02572 Sep 24, 2:06 p.m.

    Do you not think this has been going on since there have been football national rankings? Its just always been about the dollars. It cost a lot of money to run a college athletic department. If you don't win, then you run into the problem of not being able to pay the bills, have to cut sports, or move to a better paying conference due to tv revenue (See: Maryland).

  • 4tarheels Sep 24, 2:49 p.m.

    Of course this is going on everywhere to varying degrees. Some universities obviously push the envelope further than others, but if you were to put most any division I school under the microscope, you would find academic misconduct to keep athletes eligible.

  • Objective Scientist Sep 24, 3:03 p.m.

    There are many "facets" to intercollegiate sport issues. I do not believe that higher education can be properly and legitimately assessed by looking at the bottom line in dollars alone... including athletic programs, which - believe it or not - are only PART of our universities. There is a premise, and some research that will support it, that universities with winning athletic teams - primarily men's basketball and football - receive a great number of applications than those without "winning teams". Is that "automatically" good? Not necessarily from my viewpoint. Some "rough" numbers... most recently UNC-Chapel Hill had ~29,500 applications, offered admission to ~7,500 with the expectation and knowledge that only about 4,000 or slightly less would accept the offer and actually matriculate as a student. UNC is clearly NOT "hurting" for applications. With regard to SAT scores... mean scores are ~685 for math, 663 for writing, and 671 for critical reading. Those are MEAN/AVERAGE scores with ~half higher! Those same applicants also have great high school GPAs, high class ranks, often with a transcript filled with AP, Honors, etc. courses! The UNC director of admissions says, more or less, every year... "We had some very tough decisions to make this year. We regret that we have to turn away so many strong students who we know would be successful at Carolina." It is apparently true that many schools have seen their applications increase in number following a successful year in athletics... especially national championships in football and men's basketball... does that increase result in MORE STUDENTS BEING ADMITTED? I do not believe that is the case. Does the increase in applications produce a significant change in the number of "higher quality" applicants and a higher quality cohort matriculating? Likely not! IMO - too much is made of the impact of athletics on the broader university. Athletics are important, but not THAT important!

  • Hammerhead Sep 24, 3:35 p.m.

    You do realize that you coached at ECU, right Steve? The same school that has become a hotbed... View More

    — Posted by DML

    I dont' care much for Logan's rants. A couple of weeks ago, regarding the OK ST situation, he was ranting about "pencilnecks" and "disgruntled" former players. He is the dictionary definition of "disgruntled former coach". I was waiting for Joe and Adam to ask him some legitimate questions but, of course, it never happened.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again03 Sep 24, 3:35 p.m.

    At Carolina, they don't see the student at all. Maybe if they made them attend real classes...

  • myrtlebeachrock Sep 24, 3:38 p.m.

    You are right DML, ECU accepted players who actually were able to attend class and did the work. I was a student at ECU and had several football players who were business majors in my classes as they went to class just like the rest of us.

    DML, when you were at UNC how many football players were in your class and did they do the work?

    BTW: ECU just performed an investigation in response to the UNC problem two years ago and there was no cheating or misconduct at ECU within the school to be found. They even encouraged the NCAA to look at it if they wished to.

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