president of Athletes For Better Education, wrote the following evaluation of
Madison's academic prospects in a profile book that AFBE sends out annually to
college recruiters: "Bernard [is qualified], but his program of studies
over the last two high school years has not been the most solid college
preparatory. This is his second year in the AFBE program and we have been
impressed consistently with his uprightness, courtesy and classroom
cooperation. He may never set the academic world on fire, but his lamp of
learning will burn with a steady, carefully-tended light."
These are the
courses Montana State arranged for Madison to take to keep his lamp burning
through the first half of his first basketball season—Basketball Fundamentals
and Techniques, Basketball Philosophy, Physical Conditioning, Wrestling Theory,
General Biology (health) and Safety With Hand Power Tools. Madison earned a B
semester was up, Madison called Sherrer, almost in tears. He said he realized
he wasn't going to make a million dollars playing for the Celtics, but at this
rate he wouldn't even be able to get a decent job after his
"education." He said he had arranged to switch some classes for the
next semester, working into his schedule some English, some math, some general
economics. But by this time, Madison says, Montana State had "destroyed my
motivation." He stayed on through most of the second semester, withdrawing
just before finals. He has since enrolled at Chicago State University, where he
is taking the courses necessary for him to begin his sophomore year there next
autumn as a history major.
Cincinnati President Henry R. Winkler was equally unhappy upon discovering what
"normal progress" can mean. When he addressed his school's faculty
senate about an NCAA probe of recruiting violations that had led to sanctions
against Cincinnati, he said he had decided to go beyond the NCAA's
investigation to see what kind of academic performance was passing for
"progress" by athletes in his school.
findings was the case of a basketball player, a member of the Bearcats'
1,000-point club, who had spent four years at Cincinnati and had accumulated
approximately 50 credits, barely 25% of the number that is required for
stunned. "When I looked through [the] transcript, I realized there was no
way in which anyone could argue that this person was making reasonable progress
toward a degree—even an Associate of Arts, which is a two-year degree. He had
played four years of basketball."
said, "I think I need to assure the faculty that I am a believer in
intercollegiate athletics. I also will be damned if I am going to be president
of a university in which substantial corruption in athletics is the
Winkler then told
his faculty that "slovenliness and the lack of concern on the part of
administrators and athletic personnel" was over. Cincinnati, he said, would
no longer allow "a mockery of the educational system."
One other fact
bothered Winkler. He said he thought the two-year probation imposed by the NCAA
for the recruiting violations was "appropriate," but "nowhere in
that report did the NCAA show any interest whatsoever in the question of the
academic performance of athletes. In effect, they were saying, 'We don't give a
damn whether your people are academically eligible, whether they go to school
or not.' That may be a harsh reading, but it is the only conclusion I can draw
from the evidence I have before me."
"normal progress," Mr. President.