Florida Gators, NCAA Basketball

“The More We Won, the Less I Went to Class”

March Madness is just around the corner, and heading into the most exciting time of the college basketball season is the University of Florida as the #1 overall seed in both the AP poll and the USA Today coaches poll. Florida has been on a tear for the past few months, going 27-2 on the year and has not suffered a loss since a narrow 65-64 loss to the University of Connecticut on December 2. Since then Florida has run off 22 straight victories and is the prohibitive favorite to win the tournament.

Florida’s return to success in the college basketball ranks reminds me of something that former Gator Joakim Noah said about the way he lived when Florida won back to back championships in 2006 and 2007. In this interview on Dan Le Batard’s ESPN show, Highly Questionable, the former Gator and current starting center of the Chicago Bulls admitted that the more Florida won basketball games the less he and his teammates went to class. The interview can be seen here below.

Noah states how instead of going to class and trying to get a degree he and his teammates became accustomed to the life of the party, whose only real purpose at Florida was to win basketball games. It was like the “student” aspect of “student-athlete” was taken out entirely.

This was alarming to me, and I know that it’s been a topic of debate among people for years. Just how are athletes viewed by the Universities that enroll them? It’s even more alarming when you take into account that Florida is only one of many colleges that allow athletes to slack on their studies because they are good at sports, and that this is almost becoming an accepted way of life for these so called student athletes. Should this be an accepted way of life though?