Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Academic headaches may cause concussions

                Probably you all know this (I, like all lovers (of Cal), am usually the last to know) but the Knight Commission published the rankings of 122 schools based on Graduation Success Rates (GSR’s).

                The Knight Commission has an interesting idea that shared media revenues that come from BCS Bowls (or whatever they’re being called this week) should be distributed based in part on academic Merit (GSR’s)-- thus incentivizing schools to graduate their kids.  

Here’s their memo:

Cal unfortunately didn’t make the top 10.  Note Dame, Northwestern, Boston College, Duke, Rice—the usual suspects were in that group.  The Stanford State Indians came in 11th.  Alas, we didn’t make the top 25— Washington was 29th

In fact, we just missed out on the top 100!

                The greatest public University in the world came in 112 out of 122 schools!   (And the Chancellor wanted to make Rugby a club sport?)  

Our ranking was so low (11th out of 12 Pac 12 teams) that the SEC called to see if we wanted to leave the Pac 12 and join them.

                At last we have something in common with SEC schools.

                Still.   Don’t hang your heads.  We edged out University of Mississippi and three Florida Schools.   
                (College of Presbyterian and this year’s thriller, Southern Utah, were not ranked as they’re not FBS schools).  

                Now we know why that Cal degree is so cherished!   So few actually get them!

                These rankings bring into question the theory that our record the past few years was partially due to too much time spent in the library and not enough time spent on grass drills.

                Under the model developed by the Knight Commission (it’s non-binding so we can vote it down) Cal would get 0 (Zero) dollars.  Clearly, that reflects a West Coast Bias.  Why else would we be denied?  Doesn’t everyone (even 112th) get a trophy?

                No doubt the President will speak up regarding this outrage because it’s his job to see that everyone is treated fairly.

                Oh well.  We sent more kids to the pros than any other team in the Pac 12, so TAKE THAT, you academic  wonks! 

                Actually, over the years we’ve had opportunities to meet many of the players.  And almost all are really wonderful young men.  I just can’t fathom what is going on with this lack of emphasis on academics. I repeat.  Each kid we've gotten to know, even casually, has been outstanding.

 I truly thought (with the academic counseling, the academic study Center, the “Red, Yellow, Green target that Coach Tedford touted (red means definitely not on track, yellow means, work to do, and Green means on track to graduate) that we had a handle on this.  We were promised that the horrible GSR’s from the previous administration were a thing of the past.

                Someone is not being forthcoming here.  Have we been misled or are we just stupid.  Don’t answer that!

                Curmudgeons like me may bitch about a lot of petty things, but not graduating kids is unforgivable.  That is true exploitation and heads should roll.  

                To top it off, I received this e-mail a while back: 

1)   There will be piped in music and rooting scoreboards at Memorial this fall.

2) Sam Bishop-Green (a great young man) will determine if there will be piped in music before every kickoff.

3) He will determine if there will be piped in music during time-outs when there is no commercial on the scoreboards.

4) There will be loud rock type music every time our opponent has a third down and a message on the scoreboard encouraging fans to get louder and to hinder the other team in calling and executing a play.

5) All of this is being done to create a distinct “home field advantage.”

I called Sam Bishop-Green (the producer who is in charge of all this) and he was very sensitive to our concerns.  He sounded like a great young man—just the kind you’d want in this job.

A long time fan, he promised that the piped in music would never interfere with the Band or Rally committee activities.  The Scoreboard will write out directions:  “Cheer” , “Yell”, “Make noise” (Things none of us fans can figure out on our own), but he added  said, “It was not his goal” to play piped in music on third downs or to try to disrupt the other team’s offense in anyway.  (I know a lot of you think that’s nifty, but those of us who stand on street corners yelling “Slow down” think it reeks of bad sportsmanship and has no place at The University of California.  I realize many disagree with that, but you must understand some of us are old enough to remember when all an opposing quarterback had to do was to raise his hands a few times, and crowds would quite down (so his team could hear the signals), or else the ref would through a five yard unsportsman like penalty on the home team.  They’d do it two or three times in a row until the crowd quieted. 

So young Sam wouldn’t “rule it out” but he promised that it was not his intention to let technology dominate.  You might want to let your thoughts known.  You also might want to drop Sandy a line and let her know how wrong I am about wanting to win on the field, rather than being able to say “Our DJ is Better than Your DJ.”

Cal.  Never a dull moment.  Was it Blanche Dubois who said, “But some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable!?”

Bringing a kid to campus and not insuring he graduates (or giving him every opportunity to do so) is cruel and unusual .   It’s exploitation of the worst kind.  It is unforgivable.  Someone should be held accountable.