Opportunities are there for college athletes to learn
Posted July 18, 2014
Seated across the front of the room were four Division 1 athletic directors from the Triangle.
Ingrid Wicker-McCree from N.C. Central, Kevin White of Duke, Debbie Yow from N.C. State and Bubba Cunningham of North Carolina. They were a part of our Capitol Broadcasting Fan Town Hall, where they fielded questions for an hour and a half.
One of my questions pointed directly to academics and athletes: "Why do colleges and universities continue to admit athletes who academically have no reason to be there?"
Debbie Yow's quick response began with three words. "It's called opportunity," she said. Yow continued to explain "Not everyone was born in a middle-class environment and had a two parent home and everything they ever needed or wanted. This is one of the most amazing opportunities for individuals that wouldn't otherwise have that opportunity."
After our Town Hall meeting was over, one of the people in attendance shared a story with me that illustrates collegiate opportunity. Her spouse grew up in a single-parent home with very limited income. He was being recruited to play college football, which was probably his only avenue to college.
When one football coach came to visit their home, which was a small trailer, the power was out and the aluminum home was like an ice box. She continued to tell me that her husband did earn a scholarship to play football, used the opportunity to grow academically and is now an athletic administrator.
He took advantage of what was offered and grew through the experiences of college athletics. Had he been denied that opportunity, there would be one less athletic leader.
The focus can be on those athletes who don't care about academics, but there are plenty more who do.