Skip to comments.CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders
Posted on 01/08/2014 6:41:06 AM PST by RightGeek
(CNN) -- Early in her career as a learning specialist, Mary Willingham was in her office when a basketball player at the University of North Carolina walked in looking for help with his classwork.
He couldn't read or write.
"And I kind of panicked. What do you do with that?" she said, recalling the meeting.
Willingham's job was to help athletes who weren't quite ready academically for the work required at UNC at Chapel Hill, one of the country's top public universities.
But she was shocked that one couldn't read. And then she found he was not an anomaly.
Soon, she'd meet a student-athlete who couldn't read multisyllabic words. She had to teach him to sound out Wis-con-sin, as kids do in elementary school.
And then another came with this request: "If I could teach him to read well enough so he could read about himself in the news, because that was something really important to him," Willingham said.
Student-athletes who can't read well, but play in the money-making collegiate sports of football and basketball, are not a new phenomenon, and they certainly aren't found only at UNC-Chapel Hill.
A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
I’m surprised anyone thinks this is news
They’re getting ready for the big leagues where the motto is, “My felon is bigger, better, and meaner than your felon.”
Being illiterate is a problem. Reading like an eighth grader? Not so much.
Yeah, it is pretty disgraceful. What happens when one of these players gets permanently injured? Then they’re a crippled illiterate. Good luck finding work in that situation, even with a worthless college degree.
If they can’t read or write, how do they pass the SAT??? /sarc
This reminded me of the interview with the Florida State Defensive Player of the Game following the BCS Championship. As soon as the guy opened his mouth you realized he was incapable of constructing a sentence in the English language (AKA: Dumb as a Rock). How some of these athletes get in college and maintain any kind of GPA is disgraceful. By the way, while on the subject, the FSU QB (Wilcox) has a lot of talents, but his potential as an NFL QB is questionable because of what is between his ears. Kind of reminds me of the Oakland Raiders 1st Draft Pick years ago of the QB from LSU which was a complete bust.
“Reading on a fifth to eighth grade level is an adult level of reading. It’s enough to read a newspaper. It’s enough to read furniture assembly instructions. It’s more than enough to become a gym teacher or coach your respective sport. Heck, it’s enough to teach fifth grade.”
How can it be enough to teach fifth grade? It’s not enough to get into college, let alone graduate with a degree! If that level of reading was enough, we could let sixth graders teach the fifth graders and dispense with the teachers.
True, but none of these types of people should be in college, for ant reason.
that’s a fair point. The article elides the difference between the two, citing specific examples of illiterates, but then giving the broader statistical context of just basically being not very smart, which you’re right, is no crime.
Although does beg the question of what they are doing occupying a seat at a university, but ok.
It’s not news, just sad. I work hard every single day, with kids in Special Education, to teach them to read. We have made great strides and I see no excuse for not helping these kids when they are in elementary school. I’m in CA for goodness sakes. Aren’t we the lowest in test scores?
I meant to type “for any reason.”
The kid can run and throw the ball.
That’s all the colleges care about.
It used to be that bright kids would go to college and compete with other bright kids. Now there is no place for a bright kid to go. In college, he would be surrounded by grade school level competition. There is no challenge to inspire effort.
Don’t expect more than a few of our potentially bright kids to excel when morons get the same rewards.
Kadence Otto, who once taught at Florida State University, recalled one situation where an academic support tutor would call every week to check up on a starting player.
"I would say, 'He's not doing well. He can't read and write.' And (the tutor) said, 'Well, we'll see what we can do,'" Otto said. That stopped with a career-ending injury. "He's worth nothing to the team, and I never once heard back from the academic support adviser. He never showed up to class again, either."
One of the "solutions" was to give these men a chit for four-year's worth of college education. I never did hear how successful it was.
It's all about money, as you know, and those lucrative T.V. deals.
My question was always, "Where were/are the parents and family of those young men?"
Or was it strictly an attempted hatchet job like the one SI tried against Oklahoma State back in the summer?
Or was it something in between, you know, like water is wet and the sun rises in the east?
(And why do they run with it now, two days after the national championship football game? )
Alright. Fourth grade teachers. And yes, I suspect there are elementary school teachers who don't read much past a fifth grade level, let alone an eighth grade one.
Sadly, I don’t think work was ever in these guys’ futures.
My cousin’s sole job at LSU is to teach some of their scholarship athletes how to read and write.
Why is it disgraceful?
He was hilarious Number 27 oh chit 72 !!!!!
Nowadays gym teachers need a B.A./B.S., and, in many states, a teacher's credential as well, just to be a "gym teacher." Personal experience.
This is for public schools as private schools can do what they want.
To coach at the college level an M.A./M.S is SUPPOSED to be an eventuality. The coaching jobs are just too visible and desirable to be anything less.
Things didn't USED to be that way.
The desirability of the public schools comes into play when PENSIONS do. No one cares before that time. In theory, the public schools will always have state funds, as private schools won't.
You do know that there are still some colleges out there that place academics above sports and do not have sports scholarships?
Nothing new. I once tutored a guy in one of my college classes; he was at about that same level. Nice guy, but didn’t belong in college. He was only there because of football.
I would bet lots of public university students read at a fifth to eighth grade level. And I'm not just talking about the athletes. I'm talking about the elementary education majors, the communications majors, the Womyn's Studies majors, etc. And there are probably quite a few brilliant engineering and Math majors who only read at an eighth grade level.
If they want to write a real article about the illiterate athletes, then I'll pay attention. But if they're going to lump together illiterates with functional readers, they're going for the shock value and not a real story.
That says it all.
That athlete was failed by his parents, extended family, counselors, teachers and COACHES. The failure started BEFORE he was two years old.
It's a good thing he can learn to read. After that he can read to learn.
It is not a problem if you don't finish high school. It is a problem if a high school gives diplomas to those who only read at grade school level. It is a problem if colleges are accepting 18 year-old 8th graders for their students.
What is the purpose of secondary and tertiary education if the kids still perform at the primary level?
The NCAA is a joke. This org needs disbanded. Nobody believes it’s about the student-athlete anymore. AJ McCarran’s Tweet was correct about Jameis Winston. He should never have received a high school diploma.
Which these athletes who read on a fifth to eighth grade level should be able to get. So long as they show up when they're supposed to and they finish out all four years.
For me, it's to get a skill or proper certification that will allow access to a money making career. If I just wanted my kids to have an education, I wouldn't have spent the money for them to go to college. Google could have given us that for free.
Is there a demographic breakdown on which college athletes suffer from this problem?
See the article. They asked UNC, other schools, and the NCAA.
I helped put myself through college by working in a Learning Resource Center, and some of the football players I tutored needed to go back to first grade readers to find something they could struggle through. I used a homeschooling philosophy. Find out where they were at. Start there, and move them forward as fast as they could go. I figured the university was going to use them as long as it could, and the only education they would ever have was in the LRC.
We had a girl working in there, intelligent, and a world class beauty with class. When guys would come in too stubborn to try an learn I would pass them onto her. In no time they would be trying to read and do basic math.
So am I. This has been common knowledge for many years. Then again, this a CNN “journalist” point of view and I know that 40 years ago when I went back to school, the student athletes at that time at my football fanatic school rated at least as high in reading, writing, and academics as the journalism students.
By the way, I don't mean to say that the educational system in our country isn't a mess. It is. I just don't think athletes reading on a fifth to eighth grade level are the problem. Actual illiterates going to college? Big problem. But the article has lumped actual functionally literate adults together with adults who can't read at all. It's the old bait and switch. And people are falling for it.
You must have missed the unintelligible post game interview with the winning quarterback...
Getting a four-year college degree also means being able to WRITE well, as in term papers, which require research of some kind.
I actually got my B.A. in four years because my parents let me go to school without working. I did work summers and Christmas but those jobs didn't even pay for my books.
Those who cheat on that may get a job, but without the skills of being able to write well, at a college level, they won't KEEP those jobs.
One doesn't need to read to sell/cook burgers--the company uses PICTURES. Nothing wrong with those jobs, as they are decent work, but the athlete HAS to go beyond the 5th grade reading/writing level to EVER get his four-year (120 units of real classes) degree...and thus become a head coach.
Is anyone surprised by this?
Haven’t we known for ages that many athletes are promoted for their ability to win on the field?
But that can’t be the blame. No, and we can’t blame any of the dumbing-down PC issues brought to us by leftist policies.
So the answer must be that we just don’t care enough about the poor.
This is looking like a branch of the inequality tree leftists are nurturing.
During the O.J. trial, O.J. had to read something aloud. He was barely able.
Is that Winston? FSU? I’d like to see that.
Maybe you’re referring to “reading ar an eighth grade level” of the 60’s. Besides, the article is actually referencing athelets that “read”at a FIRST grade level,
Using gender to get these men to read and write sounds like a good idea. What WOULD those feminists say? :o)
Did you work with the illiterate female athletes too?
You have the fsu QB name wrong. Terribly wrong.
LOL...there are college athletes who graduate with a BA or BS who have never set foot in a classroom, never read a book or written a paper.