Friday, February 7, 2014

Athletic and Un academic
     The issue of academics and athletics will go on for a long time. In the essay “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff has talked majorly about the parallels of sports and academic worlds. He has used himself as an example, where he says he hated books and cared only for sports. The only reading he cared to do or could do was sports magazines, on which he became hooked (199). One of his claims is that “street smarts beat out book smarts in our culture not because street smarts are nonintellectual, as we generally suppose…” (202).
     With this in mind, I have read the article on “Academic Integrity and College Athletics,” by Edward G. Lawry who is a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University. This article has dug into the lives of the street smarts and the point at which they are integrating into the academic world. Lawry says there have been ways beyond encouraging study to enable academically unmotivated star athletes to pass their courses. This is because academic integrity has been compromised with the increased admission of African American students into Universities and other institutions of higher learning (20).
     Fans and tutors have written papers for athletes or fraternity buddies have stolen tests for them. The athletes departments are now building “academic services” to systemize and control crucial eligibility problems (21). The athletes programs of study are highly manipulated, where the advisors know which academic programs are easiest to major in, which courses to avoid and which professors are sympathetic or not to the athletes.
 A corollary phenomenon that has arisen on campuses is the faculty member who prejudges athletes as “dumb jocks” and/or unmotivated and often makes course completion and grade achievement unfairly difficult for athletes (21).
     Another problem that Lawry states is the separation of athletes from the life of “regular” students. This is famous in the recent abolition of the athletes department at Vanderbilt University to remove “Athletic culture’ which they agree works against academic achievement. At the center of it all is the NCAA.
     Lawry quotes John Thomson, a former coach of Georgetown University men’s basketball team whom he says, “Was outspoken about the idea that benefits of the athletic life at college should not be restricted by a too-austere adherence to so-called “academic standards” (22). He insisted that using SAT scores as a standard for prohibiting a freshman from competing discriminated against African Americans. A more powerful argument of Thomson is “value added” to educational assessment. He says,   
Even if athletes do not manage to graduate with rigorously academic degrees, it is still    possible to agree that they have benefited from time spent at the institution and activities undertaken there, including athletics….they gain poise and confidence and a sense of the power of organizations by submitting to the rules and adapting to the habits of the team” (22).
     This article will be helpful in pointing out some evidence that will show Lawry disagrees with Graff’s claims that street smarts are indeed intellectual. There are many other street smart ways but Graff has focused on the sports and that is why this article comes in handy. It is just as important to be street smart as well as book smart because when the street smarts want to join the intellectual world, academic integrity has been put in jeopardy. I'll use these quotes as evidence.
Works Cited.

Lawry, Edward G. “Academic Integrity and College Athletics.” Phi Kappa Phi Forum/Vol.85, No.3
Graff, Gerald. “Hidden Intellectualism.” They Say, I Say. The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd Ed. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein. W.W. Norton & Company. New York 2010. 198-205. Print.


  1. Wow. This looks like a complicated issue. In the one side, it looks like the increase of African American athletes is connected to decreased academic integrity; but on the other, standardized tests definitely don't favor minorities and lower classes? Yeesh!

    Good post! I think you're missing info. on Lawry's citation, though. Where's you find it and what medium is it?

  2. i was waiting for more posts because your idea is great and i have nothing to comment about but i guess were the only ones to post this blog so i have no choice but to comment on yours :) .. so what i think about this is that you choose a very intresting topic you just have to look for one more sourceand there is so much to write about academics and sports