Jerry Evans, 22, is walking across the University of Toledo campus on a day in early March, chewing gum and blowing bubbles. "The truth is," he says, "I came to college for one reason, to become eligible to play football. Personally, I just don't enjoy school. I know I should, but I don't. If they didn't have football here, I wouldn't have come. I'd say I've spent about 70 percent of my time on football, 30 percent on academics."
The Toledo athletic department's academic adviser, Shelley Appelbaum, chooses her words carefully when asked about Evans. "He invested a lot in football, and he has achieved to some extent in the classroom," she says, noting that he is taking a full course load this spring. Appelbaum says that Evans's grade point average is 2.3. He is completing his fifth year on campus, including one summer school session, and he is still some 15 hours, or one quarter, away from graduation.
Evans blows a particularly large bubble, pops it and says, "I'm far from being Einstein. I am also far from being dumb." He's twice right. Henry E. Moon Jr., assistant professor in the department of geography and planning ("a real friend of the athletic department," says Appelbaum), works closely with Evans. So, Professor, is Evans a student?
"He is very direct, hardworking and has a great attitude," says Moon.
But is he a student?
"There are givers and takers. He is a giver."
But is he a student?
"Well, he's a student-athlete. It's hard for the two to go together."
During the winter quarter, Evans took a four-hour independent-study course under Moon. It was the only course he took; a normal load is 12 to 16 hours. Evans was to read a 272-page book, Selected Readings in the Geography of Soils, and other articles, then discuss them with Moon. Moon says Evans should have spent about 12 hours a week in study; Evans confesses he might—might-have spent five hours. Moon gave Evans an incomplete for the course, with the understanding that Evans would complete his assignments this spring.