Just The Facts

f a college basketball coach is interested in a hot high school prospect this is a checklist of the kind of information that is made available to him about the student:

# of points for season yes (made available)
% of goals per game yes
# of three-pointers yes
% of three-pointers yes
# of free throws yes
% of free throws yes
# of blocked shots yes
# of rebounds yes
# of takeaways/steals yes
Average points per game yes
# of minutes per game yes
# of assists yes
# of fouls per game yes
# of suspensions yes
Height/Weight yes
Coach’s rec. yes
etc. yes

If a college history professor were interested in a hot high school prospect for the history department (there is no such interest), he could not find out:

# of history books read (no)
# of book reports written (no)
# of 2,000-word history research papers written (no)
# of 3,000-word history research papers written (no)
# of 5,000-word history research papers written (no)

This information would not be available to the history professor because he/she doesn’t ask for it and doesn’t care about it, it is not “tracked” as the basketball (and hockey and football and baseball and soccer and swimming and tennis, etc., etc.) information is, and it is not regarded as important enough to know about.
In addition, college admissions officers do not have information on the actual academic work done by students, so they rely on course grades (simple “grades” in basketball are far too little information for a college coach), and test scores, after school activities, teacher recommendations, and so on.
From this it should be clear that we take the actual work of our high school athletes far more seriously than we do the work of our high school scholars. We keep track of it in some detail and that information is shared with college coaches who need it to make good decisions on whom to admit.
College coaches deliver lists to the Admissions Office with the names and schools of those students (athletes) they need to have admitted. College professors do nothing of the sort.
As far as I know, there are no college history professors observing high school history classes which have hot prospects in them, as college coaches will often visit high school games to see the actual performances of hot prospects for college teams.
We keep track of what is important, and in our approach to high school sports and high school academics we send a clear message to teachers and students that sports matter and academics do not.
Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review
Columnist EdNews.org

One thought on “Just The Facts”

  1. I’ve always liked this comparison. Athletics versus academics. Makes it clear what we really care about in our society, in our school district. No wonder we’re falling behind so many other countries.
    I mean, imagine a hot shot basketball player enters one of our high schools. Would we make him play on the 9th grade team as a 9th grader, the junior varsity team as a 10th grader, etc.? Of course not. We’d put him right on the varsity squad — even let him start, if he were that good — and eagerly look forward to four years of star play and undefeated seasons. And we’d do it all without giving a moment’s thought to the feelings or self-esteem of lesser players.
    Now think about what we do to our academically advanced students.
    Someone else has put it this way. (I’m sure many of you have already seen it.)
    1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.
    2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL.
    3. When players arrive at any game with remedial skills in football for any reason, their coaches will be penalized for their performance, regardless of how long the players have been on the team.
    4. If remedial players do not achieve proficiency by the next statistically recorded game, their coaches and athletic directors will be put on probation. After several games of probation, coaches and athletic directors may be released. Coach and athletic director probation and release will not be conditional on the size of gains in the remedial players football skills; players must reach proficiency.
    5. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. Coaches will use all their instructional time with the athletes who aren’t interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don’t like football.
    6. All coaches will be proficient in all aspects of football, or they will be released.
    7. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th and 11th games.
    8. This will create a New Age of sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.

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