- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2002

The NCAA suits are planning to increase the number of wannabe stick-up artists, rapists and dimwits in their employ.
Thugs have as much right to attend college as the next Bill Gates, especially if the thug is a top-notch football or basketball player, and the NCAA suits finally have come to understand this after years of careful study and protests from coaches.
The NCAA suits are ready to de-emphasize standardized test scores, if not dismiss the SAT or ACT as a tool in deciding whether an athlete can be eligible to compete as a freshman.
Alas, not every precocious athlete coming out of high school can meet the NCAA-mandated 820 minimum on the SAT, which has caused an untold amount of anxiety on coaches across the land. The coaches feel for "these kids," as they call them, just as they feel for the 5-foot-4 "kid" who is stuck behind the counter of a convenience store or who is learning to remove a pipe underneath your kitchen sink. They feel so much. My, God, they feel.
The standardized tests are culturally biased, as everyone knows, and the tests are particularly biased against dummies. This is not right, not fair. By the way, Islam is also a religion of peace.
To be fair, not all these academic lightweights want to attend college to learn about the overrated French thinkers of the last century.
As Nolan Richardson explained it, many of the basketball players he came to know at his former university were there only to hone their skills for the NBA. Richardson knows of what he speaks. He had the best zero-graduation rate in America, while he was the basketball coach at Arkansas.
There was nothing wrong with a zero-graduation rate. You don't understand. It was all about providing opportunity and giving back to the community and showing America that you can't judge an institution by the zero-graduation rate of its basketball program.
Even if a "kid" limits his academic pursuits to a school's P.E. building and never makes real headway toward leaving with a diploma, hasn't his life been enriched by the experience? Haven't his horizons been expanded? Aren't we as a people enhanced?
The way the NCAA suits calculate it, if a culturally oppressed "kid" is able to sign his name to the SAT and score a 400, he still could compete in his first year of college if he has a 3.55 grade-point average from high school.
Being able to sign your name is no small indicator of future academic success. You have to start somewhere, and the NCAA suits have decided that being able to sign your name is not culturally biased. Hallelujah. We all can agree on something.
We also can agree that the NCAA's new religion is bound to result in full-body massages on grade-point averages at certain high schools. Which high school educator wants to be the one to deny the dreams of a pseudo-celebrity athlete? Some "kids" are just not good test-takers anyway, and tests are awfully arbitrary as it is, fraught with bias.
You can play the bias game until one day the NCAA suits are pondering whether to eliminate the grade-point average from the admissions process.
As long as a "kid" can sign his name and has an interest in attending college, that should satisfy the admission directors of those universities chasing the big dollars of football and basketball.
The corollary to the de facto open-admissions policy is an inevitable increase in incidents involving the NCAA's moneymaking serfs.
Not that anyone really objects in a meaningful manner.
All too many athletic departments employ their well-rehearsed "second-chance spiel" on these occasions. The "second chance" is sometimes a third or fourth chance, but why quibble when the outcome of the next game is at stake?
The spin doctoring pays well, and the embarrassment is momentary. Keep those turnstiles humming.
At least the NCAA is running out of space to dumb down.
This latest proposal to reform the unreformable seemingly opens the college door to 7-0 vegetables, so long as the vegetable can sign his name.
If not, maybe an academic advisor can help him with it.

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