By Christopher B. Daly
If you were a big, strong, aggressive young guy, already drafted by a pro sports team, and you were turned loose on a college campus where some number of your fellow students treated you like a demigod . . . how would you behave?
At my school, Boston University, it turns out that some members of our nationally ranked men’s hockey team behave poorly, at least some of the time. And naturally, some of them perform poorly in class, at least some of the time.
All of this is laid out in a new report from a campus-wide task force and covered in today’s Globe (and elsewhere).
Of course, we should make the changes recommended by the task force, right away. But even then, we will still be in the educationally absurd position of housing a couple of dozen young men who are essentially professional athletes, laboring in the NHL’s farm system. There is no obvious reason that they should be on a university campus. Can anyone offer one?
2 responses to “Abolish the NCAA — B.U. Hockey edition”
Professor Daly: While some student-athletes (not just hockey players, and certainly not just at BU) attend prestigious universities with prominent athletic programs like BU simply to sharpen their skills before going pro, that assumption cannot be fairly applied to every student athlete and it would be unfair to penalize the student-athletes who are contributing members of the university. Take for instance, Ryan Ruikka.
Ruikka was named a “Distinguished Scholar” by Hockey East for having a minimum 3.0 GPA every semester for four years ( his GPA is in reality a much higher 3.89). He graduated with a dual major in economics and mathematics and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in economics at BU. All of this while still being a productive member of a Division I hockey team.
Also, Kevin Gilroy (2012) co-founded Athletes 4 Autism- a charity that raises money for autism research and awareness.
While all of the players certainly don’t reach this level of academic achievement or are as involved in charitable endeavors, I think it would be fair to say that many of them are still committed to fulfilling the first part of their title as “student-athletes.”
Some actually want an education. BU Defenseman Ryan Ruikka case and point. 4.0 student and NCAA athlete.
College athletics allow student athletes to pursue an education, something they would not have the opportunity to receive if they went straight to the professionals. Your call to end the NCAA would do a disservice to those students. In addition, there are certainly many NCAA athletes who go on to work in non-athletic professions and use their degrees.