Dreamer's World February 20 2015 - BIG Ten with an awful idea regarding freshman athletes
The BIG Ten conference is reportedly considering a proposal that would require that freshment athletes sit out for a year before competing in their sports. This is not an old idea, in fact, freshmen were ineligible to play intil apprxomately 1972 at all NCAA schools. I know several people who are instantly onboard with this idea, but I see some flaws that will doom it to failure.
The first problem. The proposal seems to limit the rule to men's basketball and football. This immediately brings up the question of discrimination against those particular athletes. If this proposal applied to all athletes, male and female at all sports in the BIG Ten, then this issue would be eliminated. The link doesn't indicate that this is the ultimate goal, it focuses on men's basketball and football only.
The second problem. The BIG Ten is the only conference that is currently taking this under serious consideration. While other conferences might be interested, I seriously doubt that the BIG Ten would take such a step knowing that their recruiting efforts would be severely damaged as a result. If this is a trial balloon to gague interest from the other major conferences, then it bears further consideration, but as a singular gesture, it would cause damage to the BIG Ten. WIthout participation from ALL NCAA members, this will go nowhere.
The third problem. Would such a policy hold up in court? The NCAA has nothing but a bad image when it comes to enforcing the rules that they have, let alone trying to implement this new one. The NCAA hides behind the old argument that athletes are students first, and atheletes second. This is completely absurd to argue whern it comes to men's basketball and football. Coincidentally, these two sports are the primary revenue-generating sports at all NCAA colleges and universities. The hyprocrisy is staggering. These athletes earn millions of dollars annually for their universities, and yet the NCAA insists that they are no different than any other student. This goes beyond considering that athletes are simply employees og the university, they are in effect promoters and wage-earners forn the universities who receive no fair compensation for their efforts.
The fourth problem. Is a freshman still on athletic scholarship during this year? One would certainly hope so. And one would also hope that the scholarship is automatically extended to cover the sophomore year, which would be the first year of athletic eligibility. Is the kid allowed to practice or interact with the team? If not, this will preclude many potential student athletes from attending in the first place. Like it or not, most prized athletes have sacrificed a great deal to reach the point they are at when they graduate high school. To take that away from them "for their own good" is a failure from the start.
I can see the reasons why this is a serious effort in the first place. Kids go to college and if they are athletes, they have an added burden of responsibility placed on them from day one. They have to go through the adjsutments of being away from home, of learning to budget their time, of recognizing that they are no longer the masters of their destiny but are instead at the mercy of others in order to succeed. All of these are lessons that college teaches us. Getting yourself up and to class on time or facing the consequences is one of the most valuable lessons that can be learned. A year in which kids adjust to being students is not in itself a bad idea, but the proposed rule being discussed is a wrong approach to take, and one that cannot be implemented overnight without careful consideration of the pros and cons.