Home Opinions NCAA & universities need to better curb student-athletes’ academic dishonesty

NCAA & universities need to better curb student-athletes’ academic dishonesty

Illustration by: Maria Tahir | Staff Illustrator

My level of interest in sports is equivalent to a slam dunk that gains the team a touchdown. However, I find motivation to care when the integrity of my degree comes into question.

When universities allow coaches and student-athletes to partake in academic dishonesty, it does not only affect the perpetrators, but also regular students—especially those who couldn’t care less about sports.

Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has been cracking down on academic fraud. In 2014 alone, the NCAA uncovered 22 major violations and over 5,000 secondary infractions, the highest amount recorded at that point in time.

The NCAA is responsible for punishment of academic dishonesty in college sports, but the schools need to be held accountable for allowing such misconduct to occur in the first place. Some universities of late seem more concerned with making money than ensuring a proper education for students.

Winning the NCAA tournament will not matter if a degree from the school means nothing. Once a university allows academic misconduct to take place on campus, whether by “GPA booster classes” or coaches asking favors from faculty, the integrity of degrees from the institution is at stake.

It is not only unfair to the student-athletes, who now do not have a proper education and balanced work ethic, but the students who pay for these athletic programs with part of their tuition.

Instead of lying for athletes or covering for them when they fail, coaches and athletic administrators should hold these students accountable. If student-athletes cannot pass a general education dance class, then perhaps they do not need to be students at the university in the first place. Duh.

The NCAA is becoming stricter when it comes to academic violations, but it is not doing enough. The organization’s credibility has grown shoddy as Division I universities are consistently found guilty of partaking in corruption.

Kean University’s athletic teams were placed on probation after investigation of a former women’s basketball coach, while Syracuse’s men’s basketball coach was suspended for nine games with 12 scholarships taken and 108 wins vacated. Collegiate athletic corruption is an issue that continues to persist.

Universities should acknowledge that money is not more important than the academic wellbeing of the students attending colleges in our nation. But alas, we live in a capitalist society more concerned with the monetary value of education than the social and personal benefits of a well-educated populace.

The sad thing is, many student-athletes receive degrees in ineffective fields and will not go pro. What can you do with a general studies degree? Work at Foot Locker—and if you’re lucky, you might be a manager.

Many athletes do not have the time or resources to complete course-intensive degrees, so they end up with the short end of the stick upon graduation. This leads once again to universities hurting not only student-athletes, but also other students’ chances of success after graduation.

If it comes to light that Texas State is partaking in such devious behavior, not only will Boko the Bobcat’s name be tarnished, but so will that of every student who received a degree from our beloved institution.

Come 10 years, I don’t want the burden of explaining at the water cooler why I attended a fraudulent school. I’d much rather talk about Janice’s new haircut and Bob’s choice of sandwiches. Just saying.