When you are invited to go to school, all expenses paid, including your wardrobe, just because you’re an athlete, you would believe the message is pretty clear.
The NCAA has threatened to take away scholarships of several of it’s athletics teams, including Maryland’s Men’s Basketball team. Now, before you point the fingure at Gary Williams, examine this. Gary is paid more than everyone else at Maryland because of his revitalization project with the basketball team. While that project was in progress, no one talked about the academic progress of the players. The talk was how Maryland was becoming Garyland because of what was going on in the gym.
Now, Gary is being reminded that these young men are student-athletes. The message is that players are sent to school to graduate and not just be athletes. Forget about the fact that the millions of dollars that are invested in football and basketball. The student-athletes ought to have “tunnel vision” and not look at that. Just play and don’t look around you.
The problem that the NCAA is facing is bigger than the solutions that are being offered. We’ve created an environment that suggests that in big time Division I sports, it is all about winning and losing. If Gary’s kids graduate at a rate that is second to none, that doesn’t fill the Comcast Center. That will get Williams fired. So, my question is, what is Williams and coaches like Williams suppose to do? A coach doesn’t get millions of dollars because his team is 15-14 with a great graduation rate. Not in big time Division I sports.