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April 15, 1971 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-04-15

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Thursday, April 15,

1971 4


4 '

Athletics and school: Are they com patible?


Ann Arbor


Daily Sports Analysis
Last of a series
The athlete in the athletic world
is expected to be at the top of the
heap. The majority of students
think this supremacy carries over
into the classroom and most social
situations in the non-athletic spec-
trum; making life at the university
relatively easy for any athlete.
Michigan athletes disagree with
this illusion. The prevailing opin-
ion among athletes is that, if any-
thing, the attitude of the majority
of people on the Michigan campus
makes it harder to be accepted
as a person if one is also saddled
with the brand of "jock".
A junior hockey player gives an
example of preferential treatment,
supposedly so widespread, unfor-
tunately not in Ann Arbor. "When
we took a trip to Denver the guys
on their team were amazed that
we worried about studying. They
said that when they started the
coach told them, "Just go to class-
es. Don't worry about the work,
it'll be taken care of and you'll
get through."
The case of a former basketball
player is unusual only because of
the fact that he was in engineering.
He observes, "It seemed like the
people in the department were
proud to have a varsity athlete in


in a performance that
will undoubtedly shake
America's breweries at
their foundations.

their program." His next comments
describe the normal situation most
athletes, and most students for
that matter, encounter in classes.
"I got some breaks and I always
used them to my advantage."
If any different sort of treat-
ment is accorded athletes, it seems
more have met the sentiments de-
scribed by a junior football player.
"You go into some classes and
you sense that the teachers are out
to screw you. They want to prove
to you that you can't play football
and go to school."
A senior baseball player offers
an example of finding such a
teacher. "The first day of English
123 the teacher said to put down
what we wanted to do and I said
I wanted to make the freshman
baseball team. He wanted to knew
if I was a baseball player and said
he didn't like athletes. I couldn't
get out of the course and ended
up with a D."
Most teachers aren't quite so
obvious in their dislike. As a senior
hockey player states from personal
experience, they don't bend over
backwards to show the athletes
favoritism. It's usually the other
way around. "I got this paper back
in an English class. The first com-
ments were 'Great game. Congrat-
ulations on the two goals. D."'.
Another former basketball player
attempts to put the athletes' class-
room experiences in the proper
perspective and to present the
facts to disbelievers. "It's a fal-
lacy that athletes have an easy
ride through every class. The
teachers expect the same results
from them as from other students.
Also most people don't realize
that a phys ed major is one set
of courses (the chemistry require-
ments) from being a pre-med ma-
Two juniors express the fact
most athletes take in trying to get
the degree without too much hassle.
Their methods strongly resemble

141 ill sTRET

those used by normal students to
make life easier. The football play-
er says, "You meet both attitudes
in teachers. Some have precon-
ceived idea, 'He's a jock, he'll ex-
pect things. I'm going. to be hard
so he won't think he's special.'
Others take the opposite view. A
guy who's smart . will use these
things. You look for who's going to
help you. You haven't got the time
to be fighting with teachers."
The hockey player comments,
"If I know a teacher gives athletes
preferential treatment, then I'd
rather get out and do it on my
own. Part of the system is using
connections, but I'd just as soon
find and earn them myself, then
go into a class knowing the guy's
going to give you a break."
Summer jobs and help after grad-
uation are what the majority of
people thik come as part of the
deal when an athlete is on scholar-
ship. A former basketball player
clarifies the situation. "Concern-
ing jobs, it's a case of if a Michi-
gan man is in the position to hire
someone, if he can hire a Michi-
gan athlete, he will.
A senior hockey player gives an
example of this, "There's a Michi-
gan man in personnel at the GM
plant in Ypsi and he's gotten a lot
of summer jobs for athlete:."
Job' for athletes are not solely
dependent on the pull of well-
placed Michigan men within cor-
porate structures. The Athletic De-
partment does give athletes leads
on jobs available. Another senior
hockey player describes the pro-
cedure. "They just tell us where the
job is, but we have to go and get
it ourselves."
This aversion towards using the
fact that one is an athletes is nur-
tured by the perception of being
categorized immediately when the
secret is out. A junior football
player, who, like most, doesn't do
anything outside of wearirg the
varsity jacket to advertise that he
is an athlete reveals the attitude
most athletes hold toward notor-
iety. "Some don't know who you
are and I'd rather have it that
These feelings are echoed by a
junior trackman. "I don't usually
tell my teachers. Around this place
I don't feel like advertising I'm a
The main complaint of athletes
concerning contacts with non-ath-
letes involves being seen as only
an athlete, not a person. Express-
ing the grievances. of all athletes
is a senior football player. "Peo-
ple can really get on your nerves


by relating to you only as a foot-
ball player."
A junior offers his method for
changing people's minds. "I go out
of my way to say things in class so
they know that I've got something
other than the 'M' jacket. I think
the stereotype is fading and I'm do-
ing all I can to make sure it does.",
The stereotype which athletes1
are put into is, as a junior foot-
ball player describes it, "One
where people look at you in one of
two ways. Either as a superhuman
and then it's all admiration or else
as a dumb jock-'He causes tui-
tion hikes.' "
A senior hockey player details
his problems with the stereotype
and how the majority of athletes
have taken to handling it. "When
you come down here from Canada,
you have the opinion that a degree
in physical education from an
American university is really
great. Then when you get here a
lot of people look down on you be-
cause of being in it. It gets to the
point that you try not to say you're
in P.E. because you can feel that
everybody has such a cold atti-
tude toward P. E. majors."
Not only the physical education
majors, but all athletes find that
there is a certain amount of stigma
attached to that block 'M'. The rea-
son for this is perhaps in these
observations of a former basket-
ball player. "A lot of athletes per-
petuate the image of a 'dumb
jock' because that's all they're ex-
pected to be. It's hard to break
out of it, once you've been stereo-
typed. If I thought someone was
dumb, I could convince myself
that they were, no matter what
they did."
Encountering this static tends to
make the athletes stick together
as a senior football player notes.
He also gives some reasons why
this may be enforced togetherness.
"We are clannish. However, peo-
ple don't approach you on a one-
to-one level. You 'can't get to real-
ly know others."
Concerning that most important
segment of the non-athletic pupua-
tion, two junior hockey players air
some complaints regarding the
fairer sex and its response to them.
A junior football player perhaps
offers a solution to the interactions
with females.
The first hockey player says,
"Being an athlete limits contacts
with non-athletes, especially with
girls. A lot of them take the 'dumb
jock' attitude."
His teammate agrees, "You turn
off more girls than guys up here

I ,

Table Tennis

Michigan Union
Open Regular Hours
During Exams
and Break

when you tell them you're in P.E.
and a jock."
Their classmate has this sug-
gestion, while also warning of its
drawbacks. "An athlete can play
on hero-worship. The shortcut is
to see it and use it. However, he
shouldn't make this his mainstay,
because the girl was attracted to
him as a jock, not as a person."
Along with the stereotype goes
the fact that when an athlete
speaks, his ideas are taken to be
those of the whole athletic depart-
ment. The press has helped to fos-
ter this opinion and most athletes
show some wariness to talking on
all subjects with a reporter.
A junior football player expresses
how the coaches feel about this is-
sue. "Bo says we have to watch
what we say because we don't want
to say anything that might reflect
badly on the squad."
One of his junior teammates ex-
pands on this, "The coaches feel
the same way as the players do
about our speaking out on certain
topics. They see the players as
individuals with individual opin-
ions, but they know there's a prob-
lem with the press. So they tell us
to make sure people know it's our
view, not to be construed as that
of the athletic department."
Another junior states the nature
of the problem with the press. "The
coaches tell us to stay clear of
trouble, demonstrations, protests,
etc~, because they might try to
make a story of our being there."
Contrary to popular belief, as a
junior trackman attests to, most
coaches don't take the "close your
mouth" attitude because it might
make people think they hold the
views of their athletes. "I never
saw a coach who was worried about
his players' views being taken as
a reflection of him."
Two seniors propose the attitude
they would like to see the non-ath-
letic world to take regarding ath-
letes and their opinions.
A football player suggests, "You
can't open your mouth unless
you're speaking for the whole
team. People are individuals, even
athletes; and when they speak on
something, they're not represent-
ing everyone else. However, peo-
ple often relate what an athlete
says back to the entire team."
A basketball player wishes the
same deference. "People should
realize that an athlete is an indi-
vidual. A lot have the idea that
his sport is the only thing he does.
He has his own views like anyone
of the fans."
Exerting on the fields of compe-
tition, practicing to be prepared
for these battles, putting forth a
little effort in the classroom and
maintaining at least a semblance
of a social life are the elements
of an athlete's life contending for
a share of his waking hours. Te
main problem is one of time, as
stated earlier in this series. The
academic and athletic divisions are
for the majority the two prime as-
pects and deciding how to juggle
them so both receive the proper at-
tention is process every athlete
goes through. The conclusion ar-
rived at reflects his own ideas and
Which aspect takes precedence
in a junior swimmer's life is de-
tailed in his words. "The education
is paramount; the sport is second."
Making the education para-
mount is completely up to the
individual, coaches' platitudes and


press releases notwithstanding. A
junior football player tells why.
"In the back of each coach's mind,
football is before academics. If a
guy wants a degree he has to look
out for himself. They (the coach-
es) have a job; they have to
win; and they know what they
have to have to win."
Contrary to popular opinion,
every athlete who signs a tender,
is not a candidate for a degree
in physical education and the de-,
partment doesn't press indecisive
students to take the "easy" way
out. "They don't push us into P.E.",
a junior football player observes.
A junior teammate agrees, "They
give us a free hand in the courses
and major we want to take."
A junior trackman, whokis in
physical education, relates an ex-
perience not exactly to the con-
trary, but not precisely in agree-
ment. "During my first counsel-
ing appointment, the P. E. coun-
selor kept telling me to take this
geography course because it would
make for an easier load. I didn't,
and even since I got a 3.0 my first
term I haven't had any hassle."
Two junior football players of-
fer some reasons why most ath-
letes bothered very little concern-
ing their academic life. One re-
marks, "Sometimes they (the peo-
ple in the athletic department) do
not have a total grasp of the
academic situation."
His teammate concurs, "The
coaches don't know anything about
courses up here. I think that's why
they don't usually say anything
about what we take."
Everybody knows that athletes
can get into any course any time
they want to, even after they've
taken the final.'Practice time does
cut into class time and so most
athletes try to schedule their class-
es between nine in the morning
and three in the afternoon. The
time taken up by practice isn't
the only reason for this as a sen-
ior hockey player points out about
the toll taken by practice. "You
can't take night classes because
you're so tired that it's impossible
to sit through them."


The eternal quandary of all stu-
dents; how much time to study; is,
of course, even more ofap rob-
of course, even more of a problem
for athletes since part of their
non-studying time is rigidly struc-
tured for them. A senior foot-
ball player gives advice for every-
one, "As far as studying goes, bud-
;eting your time is what is neces-
The athlete's part of the bargain
is to remain eligible and to put
out. The department's portion is
just to give him the money to
come to school and beyond mak-
ing sure he remains eligible, there
is little- the department will do
in the form of study help.,
A junior football player de-
scribes how athletes no longer ex-
pect the athletic department to
hand them everything, including
grades and their degrees. Instead, r'
they look to one another and fel-
low students. "The coach is look-
ing out for the coach. That's what
we should expect. The athlete to-
day is more aware of what's hap-
pening and how he is the only one
who cares about his getting
through. What we have to do is
relate this to the guys coming In
so they'll know what's happening."
Two fellow juniors sum up the
athlete's position at Michigan and
why they, along with the ma-
jority interviewed, will continue
being "jocks". One says, "Sure, it's
a lot of hard work, and it's not
fun as far as practicing on Tues-
days. But on Saturday afternoons,
when you play you feel a part of
all the tradition, the people all
around you. You just can't beat
it and you realize that you've had
fun and the whole deal's worth it.
Combined with the awareness
that it is all worth it, that it's up
to him to get the education 'he
wants out of it, is a fair assess-
ment of exactly where the schol-
arship athlete is in 1971 at Mich-
igan. The other junior expresses
this, "Athletes are in a posi-
tion so that if they are together
there isn't anything they (the ad-
ministration or otherwise) can

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Ticket information
Information concerning 1971 student football tickets was re-
leased yesterday. The cost will be $16.00 for seven home games.
They will be charged through Students Accounts Office after tic-
kets have been picked up and the football coupon from Registra-
tion has been turned in.
Distribution of the tickets will be as follows:
Group 4-September 9-primarily seniors
Group 3-September 10-juniors
Group 2-September 13-sophomores
Group 1-September 14-freshmen
Hours will be from 8:30 until 4:00 p.m. Proper I.D. with the
proper imprints must be presented.
Spouse tickets may be purchased for $21.00 at the time of
proper student group exchange day. Tickets will be issued in the
next lower priority. Checks should be made payable to the Michi-
gan Ticket Department.
Those students who wish to take in any away games can also
pick up applicationcards*for those games. They should be mailed
to the Ticket Office with proper remittance by the last week in
Picking the winners



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(Continued from Page 2)
Kuen maybe. So the sum of all
these deductions is that Pat-
ton will take Best Picture,
crowded by Love Story. That al-
so means, in the Academy's pe-
culiar cosmology, that Patton's
Franklin Schaffer will win ex
officio the Oscar for Best -Di-
rector. As for the others .. .
Best Actor: Despite his ray-
saying, and maybe even because
of it, George C. Scott will cop
the statue; Hollywood loves
self-flagellation. If n o t Scott,
then Nicholson. Where oh where
are Alan Arkin and Dustin
Best Actress: Actually, they
should never have opened up
this category - Glenda Jack-
son outclasses the rest of the
field. To my m a l e chauvinist
mind, Ali MacGraw is heaven on
earth, but she can't act. And
Jane Alexander of The Great

White Hope frankly isn't good
enough even for the Academy.
Carrie Snodgrass and Sarah
Miles have an outside chance.
Still, I put my money on Miss
Best Supporting Actor: Chief
Dan George should win if only
to atone for the oversight of
Little Big Man and its director
Arthur Penn. My saner, more
cynical half tells me, however,
that Gene Hackman will get
the Oscar for I Never Sang for
My Father.
Best Supporting Actress: I
confess, I'm stumped. Helen
Hayes and Maureen Stapleton
in the same category. Senti-
ment will favor Miss Hayes just
as it will favor Melvyn Douglas
for Best Actor. But somehow I
just can't imagine them giving
it to anyon ebut Karen Black.
There must be justice some-
where. Huh?


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