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Fewer Is Finer Except for Some Flaws
John Underwood
September 05, 1977
The mythical coach is back, and now he likes the new scholarship cutdown. What bothers him are the non-scholars
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September 05, 1977

Fewer Is Finer Except For Some Flaws

The mythical coach is back, and now he likes the new scholarship cutdown. What bothers him are the non-scholars

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"You can't trust transcripts anymore. You have to accept them, what choice do you have? But some of them make better fiction than Gone With the Wind. The NCAA has a case on file of a New York athlete who showed three different transcripts—three different sets of grades. High schools recognize the miserable job they're doing so they 'help a kid out' by shoving him into college. Let Woody and Bo teach him to read."

"Why doesn't the NCAA do something about it?" I asked, exercised by the Coach's word picture.

"They can't. For one thing, it's a matter of jurisdiction. They can't police the colleges and the high schools and the junior colleges. They're not the CIA. As it stands, the NCAA doesn't even have labels to cover most of the problems, much less statutes. The junior-college program grew like Topsy and was left to its own standards and admission policies—and its own integrity. It thus became a Garden of Eden for system-breakers and scholarship goons. Some JCs are no more than barber colleges."

"But they're supposed to help a slow starter on the way, or the kid who can't afford a major college," I said. "What do you expect, Yale?"

"No, but I expect some fidelity in scholastic mission and standards. Listen, where do you suppose the biggest and best JC system is in this country? Where does a keen-eyed football coach go if he wants to round up six or eight prospects in a hurry?"

" California."

"Right. And do you know what is required to enroll in a California junior college? Start with the ability to tie your shoes, and you don't have to go much further. A boy doesn't even have to be a high school graduate.

"Now, once in, a boy has to maintain certain grade points. But the NCAA does not monitor these standards or check a boy's progress; they don't have the funds. They rely on the integrity of the JCs."

"But where does the NCAA...?"

The Coach held up his putter in a restraining (if not menacing) position.

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