The Greatest Story Ever Told

By Dr. Boyce Watkins, BASN Contributor
Updated: December 21, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — According to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” the Florida State Seminoles appear to be about everything except education.

In order to win games and make millions, football players are having their majors chosen for them, and many athletes are being conveniently misdiagnosed as learning disabled.

One recent episode stated that one-half of all Florida State University football players and three-fourths of their African-American athletes are Social Science majors (indicative of major clustering).

One of the academic counselors said that when she started her tenure, there were 15 football players tagged as learning disabled. That number has since spiked to 65.

When the allegations were released, Florida State University started backpedaling faster than an NFL defensive back. The NCAA has done its usual grandstanding, detaching itself from the Seminoles, as if this doesn’t also happen at nearly every other campus under its domain.

But the truth is that this behavior is not uncommon. If you think that Florida State University is the only NCAA school to engage in such destructive and irresponsible behavior, then you need to be educated on how many campuses now do business.

College athletes, many of them African-American, are brought to college as hired guns, under the guise of getting an education. The entire charade is sustained for the sake of helping the NCAA maintain its multi-billion dollar professional sports league.

Yes, I said professional, not amateur.

Any league that earns money on par with the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB is a professional sports league. NCAA coaches, commentators and administrators – mostly white – earn six and seven figure salaries while simultaneously robbing athletes of their educations, their futures, and the money that they and their families have earned.

In order to avoid paying taxes on their revenue, the NCAA spends millions on marketing to convince us that their multi-million dollar corporate extravaganzas are polite little weekend activities that students barely remember to keep on their schedules.

All the while, players attend four years of college and barely learn how to read.

For the NCAA, the educational mission of their professional sports league is one of the great scams of the 20th and 21st centuries, no different from the Ponzi schemes of Bernie Madoff. It is a convenient illusion, like Tiger’s wife using the golf club to “save him from a car accident.”

I’ve worked on college campuses for 16 years and it’s unfathomable to me that young men and women are being dragged into long hours of practice and weeknight games across the country, while then being expected to stay on top of the course work of normal college students.

Upon arrival to campus, athletes are immediately sequestered by the university, mainly to control the athlete’s thinking. Exhaustive practice and brainwashing sessions keep the player mentally and physically numb, like a KFC chicken waiting to be taken to the market.

Nowhere is the damage more pervasive than in the African-American community, where those responsible for educating young black men are feeding them daily helpings of NFL dreams that either never come to fruition, or turn into nightmares of 26-year-old retirement, concussions and busted knee caps.

Dave Pear, a former all-pro defensive lineman for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, says that after his body was destroyed by professional sports, he wishes he had never played.

The NCAA needs independent oversight.

The federal government should take the lead and give meaningful disciplinary power to individuals who care more about education than winning percentages.

When schools like The University of Kentucky choose to pay millions to coaches like John Calipari — who has consistently violated NCAA rules and carries a horrific graduation record — they are making their intentions as clear as the red on the devil’s skin: Educating the athlete is not the university’s top priority.

With every young student being misled by this corrupt system, there is a lifetime of pain and turmoil being created by the selfish choices of greedy and unethical individuals.

Many American universities have lost their academic souls, and it’s all due to the drug of money.