According to the fall academic data recently released, the University of Cincinnati had 60% of its athletes sporting a 3.0 or better and more impressive was the fact that 18 student athletes had a 4.0 GPA. While this won't lead the headlines at ESPN or make an imprint on your daily paper it does deserve a spotlight somewhere, thus I write about here.
While everyone argues and whines about what conference UC should sell out to, and what coach spurned them for greener pastures we lose sight of the fact that this is an institution of higher learning. The term student-athlete is such a shallow term based on how the NCAA allows conferences and schools to just chase broadcast dollars without any governance while telling students not to focus on money but education. Kids only mirror what they see and they clearly see the grown folks chasing paper.
Sadly lost in all of this are the kids that are true student athletes. Going to class everyday, studying, practicing, excelling at test time and in the competitive arena. They quietly go unnoticed for the student part until graduation and the real world beckons. Their work ethic, ability to multi-task and achieve make them very employable and vital to the future growth of an organization. I know some of them are being honored at the UC-Villanova game but in reality why aren't they given some kind of superstar status? Free parking spots or a week off early at the end of school? There is never a tangible reward that I'm aware that rewards the high achieving student athlete that makes it cool to be in the 4.0 arena, which is rare air indeed.
It would be nice one day if the NCAA would stop chasing dollars and start chasing student athletes to find out what drives them, what makes them tick and bottle it up for the incoming freshman. Retire their textbooks and ink pens or just give them lifetime complimentary tickets to the sport they played in between going to class while they were being a true student athlete. It would be nice to hear a kid say I'm going to college and i'm going to get a 4.0 and make an impact on the field. You have to admit it sounds absolutely perfect. Kind of like the grades of the 18 student athletes at UC sporting a 4.0. Job well done student athletes, job well done.
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat.