CU coach dis­agrees with Rosen

The highly touted UCLA quar­ter­back says “foot­ball and school don’t go to­gether.”

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle Fredrick­son

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.”

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