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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Page 4A - Thursday, November 20, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Athletics over academics
The 'U' must maintain student-athlete academic integrity
espite increasing skepticism from the general public,
the NCAA claims to hold "the pursuit of excellence
in both academics and athletics" as a core value of its
institution. The NCAA prides itself on being an organization with
the students' best interests in mind above all else. Although the
NCAA generates massive amounts of revenue each year - in 2013
it generated a total revenue of $913 million - it still classifies itself
as a nonprofit organization with a commitment to academics.

in love with the game. Tradition
has been built at Michigan because
it's fun to go to games and cheer on
our team. Sports are fun. Football
at the Big House is fun. So on
Saturday, bundle up, scream until
you lose your voice, take advantage
of the deals that we'll get (it's fan
appreciation day on Saturday!)
and enjoy the day with a stadium
with your friends, family and
fellow Wolverines.
Let's make Saturday about
the football team, especially the
seniors. Earlier this semester, FSAC
members had the opportunity to

meet with the football team leader-
ship group. They voiced to us loud
and clear that the student section
matters to them. The first place
they look after touching the ban-
ner is the student section. They
notice how full it is when they run
out of the tunnel, and they hear and
respond to our cheers throughout
the game. We make a difference.
So, let's do our part and support
our boys in blue this Saturday. Let's
get to the game early to watch our
seniors honored and to cheer on our
team as they run out of the tunnel.
Let's stay for the whole game, sup-

port our team and be active partici-
pants in the victory over Maryland.
We can make Saturday count.
Our team needs one more win to be
eligible for a post-season bid, and
as students, we can do our part by
cheering our team on to a victory at
home for the last time this season.
As students, we are Michigan
and our presence at games makes a
difference. As FSAC, we're bringing
our best to Saturday. Will you?
This article was written by
members of the Football Student
Advisory Committee.

Ninety percent of the money brought in
comes predominantly from the Division I
through television marketing and ticket
sales. Of the revenue generated by the NCAA,
nearly 60 percent is directly distributed
to Division I programs, with $120 million
going towards grants-in-aid and $60 million
in funding for student assistance. By paying
the athletes' tuition, the NCAA appears to be
giving the athletes an education; however,
in reality it is buying the organization the
workers it needs at a discount price and does
not give the student-athletes the benefits they
would receive if they were employees, such as
overtime and promise of safety.
Forbes magazine reported that "The typical
Division I college football player devotes 43.3
hours per week to his sport - 3.3 more hours
than the typical American work week." The
NCAA restricts weekly athletic activities to
taking up no more than 20 hours, but because
this rule is not enforced, colleges do what
they can to take their athletic programs to the
next level. Most other colleges follow suit to
remain competitive, even though the safety
and academics of their student-athletes are
put at risk.
The schedules created by the NCAA suggest
a tacit disregard for student-athlete education.
It has been estimated that the students on
teams that make it to the Final Four miss a 24.2
percent of the semester's classes, and that is
for the tournament alone. The NCAA may give
the athletes an opportunity for an education,
but if they are only learning a fraction of what
other students learn, exactly how much is an
athlete's education worth? On the first day
of winter semester last year, the University's
men's basketball team was in Nebraska. This
caused them to miss the first day of class,
without significant ramifications. This comes
while non-athlete students risk losing their seat
should they miss the first day.
The apparent emphasis on athletics over
academics in the nation's universities has
become clear in recent years. In 2008, a
controversy arose at the University around
retired Psychology Prof. John Hagen, who
was accused of assisting student-athletes
in maintaining eligibility by teaching
independent study courses that were well
below University standards of academic rigor.
In Hagen's courses, the student-athletes had
an average GPA of 3.62, whereas their average
in other classes was a 2.57. Some students
were found to have spent only 15 minutes
with Hagen every two weeks, but earned up
to four credits for the class. Hagen taught 294
independent studies courses from Fall 2004
to Fall 2007, 251 of which were to student-
athletes. After months of investigation, the
allegations were dropped, but universities
across the nation were left wondering
about the academic rigor and standard
of student-athletes.
Last March, attention was drawn to the

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
when athletes received relatively high marks
in regular, introductory classes. Paragraph-
long final papers were given an A- on more
than one occasion. An interview later
discovered that athletes were encouraged
to sign up for "paper classes," classes with
little work; later, they were guided into
"easy" majors. Many student-athletes were
not capable of keeping up with college
academics. A UNC study showed 60 percent
of football and basketball players at their
school read between a fourth and eighth
grade reading level. It's not acceptable for
universities to allow these students into
an academic world for which they are not
ready. This responsibility falls first to the
NCAA to make sure that universities are
compliant with the academic standards in
admissions and throughout the college career
of student-athletes.
For an organization that prides itself on
putting academics first, even the money the
NCAA gives to students is focused solely
on what the player can contribute to the
team, not what they can contribute to the
classroom. Most athletic scholarships are
granted for one academic year at a time,
and they are available to be renewed except
in cases of extreme injury that prohibit the
student's athletic performance from meeting
expectations. If education and player safety
are the goals of the NCAA, then they wouldn't
tie student-athletes' education directly to
what they can give the athletic department,
and thus, what they can give the NCAA.
Universities will not change by themselves,
and are stuck in this position the NCAA has put
them in - with no room to act againstcthe harsh
conditions for fear ofnotremainingcompetitive
with other schools. In order to keep up with
otherschools, universitieswill continue to push
student-athletes as much as they can. Rules like
academic standards and athletic boundaries
were set for good reason, and only the NCAA
can enforce them. It needs to take that first
step. The NCAA needs to enforce the rules to
protect not only the education of our student-
first student-athletes, but also the integrity of
our traditions.
In a 2008 Michigan Daily interview, Bruce
Madej, then University Athletic Department
spokesman, said "Compliance has a big
stake in each and every part of the Athletic
Department. They look at academics as much
as travel expenses and recruiting and all
other aspects." This is precisely the problem.
When our students' bus rides become as
important as their educations, the system
is flawed and in dire need of a change. The
NCAA and universities are responsible for
their athletes' educations, and must provide
ways to make sure student-athletes aren't left
behind. Student-athletes should be given the
chance to succeed and get the most from their
college education, while engaging in their
respective sports.

Edvinas Berzanskis, Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John,
Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Victoria Noble,
Michael Paul, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke,
Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Mary Kate Winn,
Jenny Wang, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
Winning the battle for blood
When I returned to campus for my sophomore year, of Blood Drives United have, I would in a heartbeat.
my personal goal was that by the end of November, every We have been tirelessly promoting and organizing this
single student as well as faculty and staff member on the competition for the past eight months, but there is only
University of Michigan's campus would have heard the so much the five of us can do. We cannot donate the
words "Blood Battle" at least once, and hopefully even competition's goal of 2,500 pints of blood ourselves - we
know for what they stood. I am afraid I have not yet desperately need you.
successfully completed mygoal. There are only four blood drives left on campus to
Blood Battle is the annual competition hosted by the help us save lives and beat OSU. Make an appointment
student organization Blood Drives United. It occurs at redcrossblood.org with the sponsor code 'goblue' or
in November between the University and Ohio State just walk in and donate - and bring all of your friends!
University to see which school can collect the most pints Also, all presenting donors receive a free T-shirt and
of blood. The University has won five out of the past buy-one-get-one Pizza House milkshake coupon. Please
six years and has an overall record of 19 wins, 12 losses consider donating, and a huge thank you to those who
and one tie during the competition's 33-year history. already have. Do you bleed maize and blue? If so, help us
However, without your help, that loss tally mightbecome beat OSU.
a 13 during the course of the next week. Thursday Nov. 20 in the South Quad Game Room from
Appointment counts are extremely low, and every 2-8 p.m.
single pint matters, both in the competition and in terms Thursday Nov. 20 in the Union Ballroom from 2-8 p.m.
of saving lives. Your pint of blood can save three lives, Friday Nov. 21in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery
and if you were to donate every 56 days from the time from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
you turned 17 until you reached 76 years old, you would Friday Nov. 21 in the Union Ballroom from 12-6 p.m.
have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save Need another reason to donate? Check out the short
more than 1,000 lives. And as we are quickly approaching news piece from Local 4 about agirl who needs thousands
the holiday season, your pint is needed more than ever, as of donors to donate blood on her behalf.
fewer people donate duringthese months.
If I could donate more than once or even just show Laurel Fricker is an LSA sophomore and an
you how much passion the five of us Executive Officers executive board member of Blood Drives United.


hile the front seats of
my decrepit, immobile
Pontiac Grand Prix
often provided
a venue for deep
particular bits
of conversations ,
lately resurfaced
in my mind.
Within the car's
confines,two dear
friends divulged MELISSA
secrets, expressed SCHOLKE
future hopes and
formed promises.
The tall, good-natured shadow in the
passenger seat frequently assured
his anxious counterpart her worth
and her academic ability weren't
intertwined. He promised she could
trust the decisions she was making
- even if they contradicted others'
expectations. He fervently suggested
she cease fearing her own intuition.
Likewise, the small shadow sitting
cross-legged in the driver's seat
lookedback at her friend and assured
him the whispered judgments of
close-minded people were worthless.
Supportive,. tolerant individuals -
the soft-spoken shadow swore to him
- aren't a rarity in the world. She
promised him once he left their little
hometown - where archaic notions,
indifference and homophobia
were as frequent as the snowfall -
everything would improve. She, with
teary eyes, promised him minds and
society were about to change.
Of all the promises I've made,
that particular statement is one I,
regretfully, find myself continually
questioning. The words - in for-
mation - arise with full, idealistic
conviction. Yet each time, the syl-
lables wedgethemselves in my throat
before their shaky utterance. My
words are well-intentioned when
I try to offer support to my family
and friends who identify as LGBTQ,
but I know my attempts to empa-
thize with my loved ones will never
allow me to fully understand their
struggles. Nor will my optimistic
statements remedy the injustice
they face. Likewise, I know they
deserve far more than reassurance

mpty romzi
and promises - especially the empty
ones they've been receiving from
Michigan's government.'
A tumultuous legal battle - span-
ning a mere matter of months - both
ignited and diminished the hopes of
the LGBTQ community and its allies.
At first, over 300 same-sex couples
were granted the long-overdue right
to legally marry, but state Attorney
General Bill Schuette quickly halted
progress by issuing a stay - restrain-
ing any further marriages and
forcing the Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals to assume jurisdiction of the
case. Schuette's appeal'initiated the
beginning of a tenuous and unneces-
sary waiting game. An answer - in
the form of a 2-1 ruling by the Sixth
Circuit - was received earlier this
month. However, this decision com-
pletelyunraveled the miniscule steps
taken by the state to ensure equal-
ity for all citi-
zens. Although-
the two judges Until same-s
who decided to
reinstitute the is legalized -
ban stated "the doubt - laws
question is not
whether Ameri- to dictate v
can law will individual ca
allow gay cou-
ples to marry; it the life th,
is how and when
that will hap-
pen," Schuette on Nov. 14 further
demonstrated unwillingness to let
same-sex marriage occur by declar-
ing the marriages performed in
March no longer exist.
By issuing a filing stating: "From
a legal standpoint, because the mar-
riages rested solely on the district
court's erroneous decision, which
has now been reversed, it is as if
the marriages never existed and
the Plaintiff's request for benefits
attendant to a legal marriage must
be denied," Schuette retracted the
promise frequently echoed over the
past few months by Snyder where
he reaffirmed the legality of these
marriages. Now with only the rem-
nants of a former promise to hold
onto, LGBTQ couples are forced
to wait for action from the U.S.
Supreme Court..
Even in the realm of preventing


discrimination, the potential for
progress has met possible hindrAnc-
es. Currently, Michigan's main anti-
discrimination law doesn't offer
any protections for LGBTQ citi-
zens, but the proposed amendment
by state Rep. Frank Foster (R - St.
Ignace) would only offer protection
to a subset of its intended commu-
nity. The amendment - while it
does include protections for sexual
orientation - doesn't include any
mentions of "gender identity and
expression" in the language of the
legislation. Likewise, a possible
impediment to the overall goals of
the amendment is found in pairing
this piece of legislation with anoth-
er proposal - known as the Michi-
gan Religious Freedom Restoration
Act - that would allow for "broad
exemptions to federal laws if they
conflict with an individual's reli-
gious beliefs."
Currently, the
ex marriage University and
select cities offer
- without a protections for
will continue sexual orienta-
tion as well as
ihether an gender identity
n freely lead and expression,
but legislators
ey desire. cannot expect
members of the
LGBTQ commu-
nity to confine themselves to a single
city or move out of state if they want
to possess rights they're wrongfully
denied in Michigan. Regretfully,
this is an option my friends and
family members have considered
for the future. Even if proper anti-
discrimination laws are eventu-
ally passed, it would only partially
eliminate discrimination. Until
same-sex marriage is legalized -
without a doubt - laws will contin-
ue to dictate whether an individual
can freely lead the life they desire.
Michigan's leaders must stop try-
ing to placate citizens by insinuat-
ing they'll eventually receive basic
human rights. Our friends and
family deserve action, not more
empty promises.
- Melissa Scholke can be
reached at melikaye@umichedu.


Make Saturday count

To Our Fellow Wolverines:
Throughout the semester, between study-
ing for our exams, enjoying boneless Thursday
deals at Buffalo Wild Wings and cheering on the
football team, a group of 22 students, all foot-
ball season-ticket holders, have met regularly
with the UniversityAthletic Department. With
four representatives from each class, includ-
ing graduate students and two members of the
Central Student Government, the Football Stu-
dent Advisory Council has served as a candid
voice to the Athletic Department regarding stu-
dents' experiences at football games.
We've helped make changes to how
students experience game days. Our feedback
played arole in loweringfootball season ticket
prices and the free water at the Penn State
game was our doing. We've also contributed
to the discount on hot dogs available through
the H.A.IL. app, because who doesn't love
discounted hot dogs?
Hotdors,cheaper tickets and free waterjust
skim the surface of the list of improvements

that FSAC has contributed to, andthough they
may make for a more positive student expe-
rience, the Athletic Department's policies
should not influence our student section game
day environment.
Our attitude determines whether or not
we enjoy game day. As a student body, our
attitude toward this upcoming football game
is important. Saturday marks the last home
game of the season, the last time we will
walk through those hallowed gates into our
house this year, and our attitude will dictate
our experience of the game. So, let's choose
to put aside our critiques and complaints
and make the matchup between Michigan
and Maryland the best home football game
atmosphere yet.
Let's make Saturday fun. The rich tradition
surrounding Michigan football far surpasses
any other collegiate football program, and
that tradition includes having fun. Players
spend hours every week at practice preparing
for Saturdays because at some point they fell

Check out The Michigan Daily's editorial board meetings. Every Sunday and
Wednesday at 6 p.m., the Daily's opinion staff meets to
discuss both University and national affairs and write editorials. E-mail
opinioneditors@michigandaily.com to join in the debate.

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