OT prioritizing athletics over academics

Several years ago, a football player at Cass Tech HS in Detroit was convicted of assault for bodyslamming a security guard at the school. After his release, he assaulted his girlfriend, at the school, and was, again, convicted and sentenced.

All the media could say was “how will this impact his college football career?”

The offers from tier one colleges evaporated. He ended up at Ferris State, roughly third tier in the state.

No offers from the NFL.

Was signed by a team of the IFL in Arizona a year ago. Now, he plays for Sioux Falls.

He is back in the local Detroit news tonight.

So, the question is, what has he learned in years in high school and college? Apparently, never learned to not act out every little impulse, violently. And where are Shiny-land’s “values”?


Nothing on my guy from Bristol CT. I live about twelve miles away.

Tackle football should be outlawed. Most plays are literally assault of another human. My sons play flag football and it is just as much fun as tackle.

It has been pretty conclusively shown that the violence on the field translates into real-life, whether by psychological means or by physical means (one and the same anyway because brain chemicals are physical) from repeated hits damaging the brain.


From the story, obviously nothing. There can be multiple reasons why he has impulse control issues, but the first thing I think of, was there a dad present in his home. There is a documentary series on Netflix called Last Chance U that follows several schools (different school every couple years) and the players. The stories are essentially the same, kid with sports talent, screws up, goes and plays at community college level to try and get act together, some do and some don’t. Seems many don’t have engaged fathers while at the same time some of them are struggling to be a father. They know the endpoint, just don’t know how to get there.

As far as banning football, no. I played it, loved it for the competition, friendships, physical challenge, and at a certain extent the violence. We can make it safer but not safe. As far as head injuries, etc., many sports have them. If it wasn’t for football (and other sports) that allowed a proper place to burn off energy and anger, who knows what trouble I could have found. But I was also fortunate enough to have coaches that stressed step onto the field and let all hell break loose. Step off the field and be a gentleman.

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My point is, I think kids are very poorly served by schools, and culture, that want to give kids the kid glove treatment, if they play sports, particularly football and basketball.

Campbell clearly did not learn to not act on every violent impulse. Considering two assault charges, in close succession, in high school, I wonder if he kept his nose clean over the intervening six-or so years, or were other incidents at Ferris State whitewashed, because he played football?

Has Campbell, or any other football player, been held to any academic standard, in high school, or college, or given a free pass on course work, because he played football?

I don’t know the terms of his attendance at Ferris. I would expect he had a full ride scholarship, because he played football, while someone who could have actually learned something in college, and accomplished in life, had to forego college, because he couldn’t pay, or did not want to amass a five figure debt.

The vast majority of kids that get through school by playing football never make it to the NFL, and they missed their opportunity to gain an education. So what are their prospects? And what does this say about USian “values”?


I kind of remember Campbell, he played at Cass Tech, which is ( was ? ) the preeminent hs football program in Michigan. From what I’ve read, it is also a good academic hs, at least for the students who want to make an effort. Way back when, played adult rec basketball with a guy that graduated from Cass Tech. He was an electrical engineer at the power plant in my hometown, nice guy, smart, and not good at basketball at all, lol, so much for stereotypes.

If we were all rational human beings, 99.9% of students would be much, much better served channeling all of the energy they put into athletics into academics while in high school. But that’s not the way its ever been, society dotes upon the star athlete.

Pick a sport, go to the library and look up the Free Press All State teams from 5,10,15, 20 years ago. It’s shocking how few names are familiar, how few hit the big time, and these were the very best of the best in the State. Not sure for how long they did it, but the Free Press used to do a Best of the Midwest ( Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio ) football All Star team. Same deal, look back 5,10, or whatever many years, and very few names ring a bell.

Sports are real good for developing your body, competitiveness, and teamwork, but definitely not at the expense of all other interests. Schools should have teams, just like they should have woodshop and machine shop, and auto shop. But at least around here, individual schools have eliminated shop classes, but still have football teams. ( centralized skill centers do teach some of the shop classes, usually 1 tech center shared by 3 counties, from what I see )


When I was going to Whatsa Matta U, in the mid 70s, their football team was terrible. Almost drew the collar one year, until they managed to beat Central in the last game of the season. The student newspaper ran a series on the corruption in the program. Counselors would set the incoming freshmen football recruits up with some “general ed” classes that everyone was required to take, and counted toward a degree, and you could nearly snooze to an A. Then an assistant AD would take the kids aside, cancel registration in those classes, and sign them up for remedial reading or some such. The presumption was the remedial reading classes were for football players only, and the teachers could be counted on to give a passing grade, to maintain “NCAA academic qualification”, whether the kids did any coursework or not. I bet every one of those kids was told all sorts of fantasies about big money in the NFL, and none made it, but they were cheated out of an education in the process.

Yes, your memory is correct. Campbell went to Cass Tech. So did former Detroit PD Chief James Craig, John DeLorean, and actress Ellen Burstyn. Cass, supposedly, has high academic entrance requirements. I somehow suspect standards for football players are different.

Cass’ track and field team were national champions in 1926.
Cass’ basketball team won state championships in 1956 and 1975.

Cass’s football team won the state championship in 2011, 2012, 2016. No doubt in my mind what Cass is focused on now.


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"Counselors would set the incoming freshmen football recruits up with some “general ed” classes that everyone was required to take, and counted toward a degree, and you could nearly snooze to an A. Then an assistant AD would take the kids aside, cancel registration in those classes, and sign them up for remedial reading or some such. "

that is a huge disservice to the “student athlete”, and I’d bet money that it is an ongoing problem. There are definitely some college athletes that can manage practice, film study, games, and the academic load and graduate with a meaningful degree. It has to be tough, as being a D1 football player is a full time job. But there are the non athletes that work full time and get meaningful degrees,too. They must be masterful at time management, with real good self discipline. And these achievers are very likely to be coming into college very well prepared academically, they probably did not take the easy, star athlete “pass” thru high school. Parents are probably playing a huge role in this too.

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Over that past year, there has been an NCAA “commercial” run during games that show former players (none that you would know) in their sport and what they are doing now. Of course they choose bankers, lawyers, accountants, etc. to profile. They end the commercial by saying only 2% of all college athletes go on to play professional sports. Unfortunately they don’t break it down by sport. Not really sure of the purpose of the ad.

As far as being let down by school, culture, etc., I lay the blame more on the family (or lack of family). A few years ago read a study on management of elephants in African reserves. The area could handle only so many animals so every few years they had to cull the herd. At first they would go in and take out the old bulls figuring they have done their duty by siring the next generation, time to let others take their place, yadda, yadda, yadda. After a few years, they noticed that the herds, particularly the young males, were becoming more aggressive and destructive. To the point of having to take out the young males. Go back to the pattern of leaving a few old bulls, things returned to a more calmer normal. The theory, the old bulls kept their society on order and taught the younger how to act. Draw what ever parallel you want from that.

Went to high school with several kids that if it wasn’t for sports, they would’ve dropped out. They didn’t have college talent. One is now a doctor after serving time in the Army. Also played with a few kids that had college (and beyond talent), one heavily recruited by Bear Bryant. None made it. One became a drug addict and one became a brick layer.


I’m sure it’s pushback to people like me that point out how corrupt college athletics is. I lay the problem to money. Baseball and hockey have their own developmental leagues. The NFL and NBA do not have developmental leagues.

The NFL and NBA use the colleges as their farm system. Which makes the high schools the college’s farm system. That leaves the schools working with conflicted priorities: try to education the kids, or put all their time and energy into athletics, because that is where the money is.

The high school I graduated from, 51 years ago, was built in 1924. It didn’t even have a football field. I don’t know where the guys played. But the school had a magnificent auditorium. When the new high school was built, in 72, the school district had money for a football field, or an auditorium, but not both. They built the football field, and did without an auditorium for several decades. Priorities.


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