CU coach disagrees with Rosen
The highly touted UCLA quarterback says “football and school don’t go together.”
BOULDER» Phillip Lindsay walked across the University of Colorado graduation stage this past spring, his brown Afro stuffed into a black cap, to pick up the first of what will be two undergraduate degrees.
Of course, balancing time as a running back and a communication/sociology major is difficult — “It’s been tough for me in classes,” Lindsay says — but the expectations from coach Mike MacIntyre have been clear since he arrived in BoulZach der in 2012.
“They’re a student and an athlete,” MacIntyre said. “You can’t really separate the two.”
That assessment counters the view of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, who is quoted in a Bleacher Report Q&A published this week that has since sparked debate on social media about the time demands of a student athlete and the priorities of college football programs in admissions. A couple of examples from Rosen:
“Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says, ‘Raise the SAT
eligibility requirements.’ OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.”
“Any time any player puts into school will take away from the time they could put into football. They don’t realize that they’re getting screwed until it’s too late. You have a bunch of people at the universities who are supposed to help you out, and they’re more interested in helping you stay eligible. At some point, universities have to do more to prepare players for university life and help them succeed beyond football. There’s so much money being made in this sport. It’s a crime to not do everything you can to help the people who are making it for those who are spending it.”
While Rosen’s comments have drawn considerable ire, he does address an issue that has been fresh on the mind of CU administrators. Athletic director Rick George told The Denver Post last week that one question the university is addressing for its athletes is “How do we give them an opportunity to get internships?” It’s something made difficult with summer workouts and coursework, as Buffs players typically take several classes during the break as part of a plan to graduate players in 3½ years.
“I think that’s a little piece that’s missing,” George said. “When you’re done playing football or you’re done playing basketball and you put a résumé together, and you never have experience working at a bank, or a marketing firm, or an advertising firm or whatever, you still don’t have that experience.”
CU football does employ an academic counseling staff that runs a six-week bridge program for incoming freshmen that teaches college life essentials with help from professors and current students in learning how to balance the workload. Players’ class schedules are then personalized to specific needs.
“If a guy has a tough time in math, we try not to put math in the fall,” MacIntyre said. “We try to put it in the spring when he’s got a little bit more time, when he’s not traveling every weekend.”
The program matched its highest-ever multiyear Academic Progress Rate score in 2015-16 — a sport-based metric built on two factors for each scholarship athlete per term, eligibility (one point) and retention (one point), with athletes earning up for four points for their program in any given year — with a 968 out of 1,000.
Lindsay boosted that total with his graduation, and after the completion of three more courses, he’ll have an additional sociology degree. You won’t hear Lindsay complain about the workload when asked about the challenge of being a studentathlete. He instead praises the work of Katie Bason, director of football academics, and learning specialist Michele Brannigan.
“Nowadays, football is a job, school is hard, and you want to have a life,” Lindsay said. “But it’s about being disciplined. I’m going to handle my business in school, then I’m going to handle my business on the field, and then the rest of the time I’m going to relax, have fun and enjoy it. But you’ve got to be able to put it all together.”