Florida State released NCAA transcripts today, relating to the situation in 2006 and 2007 where players were caught cheating on online classwork.
None of the information in the release was new or shocking with the exception of this, some Florida State players read at a second grade level.
I am an educator and work at an inner-city high school. I understand the challenges of education today. I am familiar with and work with students who have challenging learning disabilities every day. One thing I know for sure, given my experience is:
There is no excuse for any college student to not be able to read.
Florida State needs to seriously look into how players with that low of a reading level were able to graduate high school, get minimum passing scores on standardized test, and most damningly get accepted into a four-year "prestigious" academic university like Florida State.
This undoes any positive press the school may have gotten for Myron Rolle being named a Rhode Scholar. This is embarrassing. Not only for the football program, but for the school.
FSU, however, is not be the only institution that should be looking in the mirror here. How are players with that low of a reading level graduating high school?
Learning disability or not, there still must be minimum requirements met for tests and grades that could not possibly be met with a second-grade reading level!
The truth is student athletes at the high school level are getting treated differently than other students. We wonder why professional athletes seem so arrogant and removed from the real world, it is because they are treated as heroes at such a young age.
The "star" athletes are being targeted and getting press at younger and younger ages. Basketball magazines are routinely ranking the top athletes from the class of 2018!
They act irresponsibly because they are not held accountable in grade school. We keep passing kids along through school and wonder why they are not better people, students, and employees.
The truth is our standards have gotten embarrassingly low.
I am upset to read stories like this as an educator. I am humiliated, however, to read stories like this as a coach. Our number one responsibility is to train young leaders and men. We are failing miserably.
Society says that education reform starts with the general student population. The truth is that if the athletic programs, coaches, and athletes took the lead in holding themselves and each other responsible for their actions, everyone else will follow suit.
Because the sad truth is that many people hold athletics in too high regard. They idolize coaches and athletes, even at the high school level. If athletes started to take their education seriously, other students and families would follow.
It is time for us in athletics, to take that as a challenge and take the lead role in reforming our education and raising our standards.