The 2-credit senior

Basketball stars who don’t have the grades for college can try the NBA’s Development League. In a New York Times’ story on D-Leaguers with a shot at the pros, we meet Latavious Williams, who spent four years in high school in Starkville, Mississippi. As a senior, he’d passed only two of 16 core courses required by the NCAA for an athletic scholarship. “I didn’t go to school a lot,” Williams told the Times.

When asked how he got to be a senior in high school with only two core courses, Williams said: “You know when you’re at a school and you’re the best player, they’re going to work something out. It was just like that.”

He earned 14 credits in one year at Christian Life Center, a private school in Texas, but the NCAA wasn’t likely to accept those credits, so Williams went to the D-League, skipping the college-student pretense.

Via Eduwonk.

The athlete’s way through college

Most Division I basketball players leave college without a degree, reports the annual Academic March Madness report. At University of Connecticut, one of the Final Four teams, the graduation rate is 25 percent.

While a select handful of these players will move on the NBA, the vast majority of those that do not graduate will be left with little academic training, minimal career options, and only the fading glory of college hoops as compensation. And the schools these players “studied” at won’t shed any tears — having already made millions of dollars off their talents.  

But non-athletes do even worse, writes Andrew Rotherham on USA Today.

At the typical four-year college or university, according to federal data, fewer than 40% of students graduate in four years, and only 63% finish within six. Minority and low-income students are much less likely to graduate.

As long as athletes are eligible to play, writes Rotherham, their universities provide the support they need to meet minimal academic requirements.

The problem isn’t preferential treatment for athletes. It’s the conspicuous absence of such support for poor and minority students who would benefit from tutoring, special study halls and other programs to help them adjust to college life.

I’m not sure poor and minority students would benefit from taking easy classes, getting special privileges from instructors and letting their tutors write their papers and take their finals. When athletes lose their support systems, many are unable to pass enough classes to earn a degree. That doesn’t seem like a system to emulate.

Via Eduwonk.