- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2004

If Jim Harrick Jr. ever lands another teaching position in college, perhaps he is your guy.

He is undoubtedly the easiest A in the nation.

He is brain dead, is what he is, and that is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Sample question from the final exam of his “Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball” course in 2001: “How many goals are on a basketball court — one, two, three or four?”

Hmm.

Note to students: This is not a trick question.

Next test question: “How many points is a 3-pointer worth?”

Harrick Jr. is not a teacher in the traditional sense. He is a comedian. His test should have come with a laugh track.

The University of Georgia released a glut of information this week detailing the wrongdoing associated with the men’s basketball program under Harrick Sr., the father of the mentally challenged teacher who was an assistant coach.

Both are long gone, presumably done forever in college basketball, as they should be.

NCAA to Harrick Jr.: How do you spell idiot?

Extra credit: Name the father-son duo who should be made to wear a dunce cap in the corner of the classroom.

Harrick Jr. is the sort of person who awards bonus points to those who correctly spell their names.

He is too much. Stop. He is starting to kill us.

Just when you think you have heard it all in college athletics, here comes Harrick Jr. with a lesson plan that would not inspire a kindergarten class.

Put this dolt in charge of a government class and he would ask: “Who is the current president of the United States?”

When Harrick Jr. sat down to draft this test, he probably had to work at it.

You just don’t come up with this simpleton stuff in a vacuum.

Three of his students were members of the basketball team, and he is questioning them on the number of fouls a player is allowed in a game.

All three members of the team received the grade of A, incidentally, as if that is surprising.

Georgia’s administrators must have buried their heads in their hands after running across the test. Harrick Jr. did not even try to make it look marginally worthy.

The NCAA and Georgia call this academic fraud, which is probably being unfair to the average cheater who acquires an advance copy of a test. At least that cheater must memorize items of academic value.

What Harrick Jr. pieced together was obscene, an insult to anyone who ever has been a teacher and recognizes the value of knowledge.

So the subject was basketball instead of philosophy.

Harrick Jr. could have introduced the life-affirming tenets of John Wooden. He could have done anything with the course. He did that anyway and wound up going lower than low.

He made a mockery of the university, the teaching profession and himself.

Not that he cares if he is regarded as a joke.

It was his job to take care of the three players, the meal ticket for the father and son, and his commitment there was unyielding.

To the father and son, it was all about the wins and money. The academic part of college life merely was an intrusion to be handled as expeditiously as possible. It did not matter if the players ever learned a thing or came close to securing a diploma.

As long as the players met their eligibility requirements, in whatever silly courses they could find, the father and son were only too eager to feed at this trough of corruption.

As contemptible as the final exam was — the only test in the course — Harrick Jr. was refining an art that long has been in practice in college.

Too many big-time college athletic programs stuff their indentured servants in academic areas designed not to stimulate the mind. They often do so out of necessity after landing a recruit who has the academic ability of a mutt.

With the lowering of entrance requirements, more and more academically deficient athletes are landing in college. Once there, they maintain the illusion of being a college student until a school is forced to peel back the layers of deceit.

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