In an interview with Bleacher Report, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen made some refreshing comments about the current status of college athletics. Rosen shined a light on a few issues that come with being a college athlete, while acknowledging that universities do not always keep the best interest of their students in mind. Predictably, his comments did come with pushback and forced UCLA Coach Jim Mora into damage control mode.
But what did Rosen say that is wrong? Here’s an overview of his main statements:
1. There is not enough time given to football players to realistically succeed in school.
It is well known that the life of a college athlete is hectic. A 2014 article by CNN Money reports that Division I College football players spend upwards of 40-50 hours per week dedicated to the game. This tweet from Florida Coach Jim McElwain outlines a non-stop, yet typical day in the life of Gator football. Trying to earn a college degree on top of all this is asking an outrageous amount of someone who is in their late teens/early twenties. Can it be done? Sure. But that leads to Rosen’s next point:
2. Schools are not concerned about student development; they are focused on keeping their ‘student athletes’ eligible.
Unfortunately for the NCAA, many universities have been involved in academic scandals involving college athletes. These schools will risk getting into hot water- especially in football -because of the huge financial upside that the gridiron provides.
What happens when a prominent player begins to wander near academic ineligibility? Magically, those grades suspiciously rise as all student Oaths of Integrity are laughed at. There is no chance a failing bio lab score will prevent a defensive back from playing on Saturday. This tacit agreement trivializes education all at the long term cost of the student.
3. Power football schools, like Alabama, are going to have better teams due to their looser restrictions on acceptance.
This is something that is specific to Rosen’s situation. UCLA is regarded as one of the top educational schools in the nation. It is safe to assume that the workload of someone at a highly regarded school will have a tougher time juggling both football and class. Conversely, many well known powerhouses in college football do not have the greatest reputation when it comes to their dedication to school. This relaxed attitude serves to give their athletes an advantage.
Photo Credit: Butch Dill/AP
It feels like here that Rosen was taking a shot at college football pundits that do not seem to make this connection. His frustration is understood, as we would all feel the need to vocalize this imbalance if we were being criticized for not meeting the standards of our competitors.
The 20-year-old Rosen deserves credit for having the guts to say something that makes people uncomfortable while also eliciting a necessary conversation. Hopefully, his words will remind people of the hypocrisies that exist not only in college football, but in society as well.
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Header Photo Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times