“Scholar-Athlete…going – going – gone?”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS November 10, 2014 # 514 Up next…”Scholar-Athlete… going – going — gone?”

After further review…A recent altercation between two very well-known college teams caught my attention. The ritual prior to every football game is preceded by a sportsmanlike handshake and a friendly greeting; except that didn’t happen in this college game. A skirmish (kind word for “fighting/trash talking”) broke out prior to a game between two college teams in the same conference. The meeting of the captains followed with one team’s captains extending their hands only to be rebuffed by the other team’s captains, who kept their hands at their side. Where was the coach?

Seems the coach was right there on the field, but failed to recognize this or take control of his team. The coach and his school were fined a five-figure dollar amount. The captain of the offending team was suspended for one game. The school and the coach have issued apologies saying we “did not live up to the standards that we set for ourselves.” The player said he takes “full responsibility for my actions by letting my emotions get the best of me.” The question of “scholar-athlete” becomes important. Many are suggesting that colleges allow players to play for their school without the “inconvenience” of pursuing an education. Not so from this view point.

Attending college and playing on sports teams, or representing the school in any form, is a privilege – not a right! Scholar-athletes are required to maintain an established grade point average in order to compete. For this involvement they receive tuition, room and board, and a monetary stipend, not every athlete, but those who meet the qualifications of “superior talent.” If there were no class attendance and its incumbent grade-point average required, what control would a college have to ensure the athlete meets its citizenship and sportsmanship standards?

Even today with these regulations in place, there is a major concern about some athletes who commit acts misbehavior, e.g., sexual assaults, thievery, DUI’s, etc. To this writer the use of the word athlete is misplaced. The only way an individual should be able to use the title athlete is if he or she lives up to the highest levels of citizenship, scholarship and sportsmanship. The singular fact of being a talented player should not carry the title of athlete for one who breaches those values.


Will you agree: schools need to continue requiring standards of good citizenship and sportsmanship and class attendance from every athlete in their programs?


To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Jim new book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” has many stories on sportsmanship.



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