Editorial: NCAA needs schooling in supporting education

CompanyMottoThe NCAA has long been a controversial organization, often seen as a group solely focused on limiting the opportunities of student-athletes. However, the organization has been able to stay in the good graces of the public eye by boasting its educational results.

To prove it, the NCAA requires teams to have at least half of its student-athletes on pace to graduate, forcing high school students to hold certain grade-point averages to qualify for a college scholarship and publishing reports grading each school’s progress.

The NCAA website states that the NCAA embraces its “role in providing student-athletes the skills for what comes next in life. It’s our commitment – and our responsibility – to give young people opportunities to learn, play and succeed.”

All this rhetoric seems to place the utmost priority on education and empowering students toward the best education possible. However, the NCAA wholly contradicted itself with its language in a recent lawsuit.

Last October, it was revealed that the University of North Carolina was running one of the biggest academic fraud programs ever uncovered. In response, several former student-athletes sued the NCAA, claiming they were robbed of an education by the scandal.

The NCAA responded by saying it has no legal responsibility “to ensure the academic integrity of the courses offered to student-athletes at its member institutions.”

The NCAA’s new position is not in the least bit surprising thanks to precedent, but it is disappointing. It seems as though this behemoth of an organization has two agendas in mind. The NCAA wants all the credit for the good work that colleges do without actually having to deal with any of the blame.

When academics are thriving, the NCAA makes sure it is marketed. When graduation rates are up, the conversation shifts to how the changes the NCAA made are to credit. But when education dips or is a sham, the organization has no comment and rather points the blame at the institution.

The NCAA claims it exists to try and ensure students the opportunity to pursue education and employ several regulations so it can allegedly happen. If it does not actually have a responsibility, what does that say about the regulations that are in place?

Nationwide, there’s a 2.3 minimum cumulative grade-point average requirement to accept a collegiate scholarship. If the NCAA does not have compelling interest in education, why should it get to employ educational guidelines? It would appear as though it does not have standing using the NCAA’s own logic.

The only way the NCAA seems to want authority is preventing young, marketable athletes from having the opportunity to profit off image. If the NCAA’s only job is to ensure all the money goes toward itself, then it needs to step back and stop trying to play a role in the education of student-athletes.