If you've been paying attention at all lately, the much anticipated segment on academics in major college athletics that aired Tuesday night on HBO's Real Sports shouldn't have knocked your socks off.
In a nutshell, the report, which briefly touched on life in the classroom for the Oklahoma football team, examined the effects of the NCAA's campaign to boost graduation rates and academic performance among athletes. Not surprisingly, HBO's investigative team found out that when you impose arbitrary academic mandates on institutions, it promotes fraud and steering athletes into bullshit majors. Numerous athletes essentially end up majoring in "staying eligible," which leaves them with few marketable skills once they leave school.
In other words, those stats on APR and graduation rates are worth about as much as the paper that many athletes' diplomas are printed on.
I did notice the response from Bob Stoops to the segment drawing praise from the punditry. Much of what OU's head coach had to say about accountability and what happens when players get to college has merit.
However, you never hear coaches address what I view as a far thornier question: Are athletes who don't have the academic background for legit college coursework being exploited? Throw in the time commitments of playing football with starting from behind in the classroom and it seems unreasonable to expect that these players will receive an education of much consequence.