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?

 

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SEC

Photo Slideshows

http://www.kmov.com/sports/tigersfootball/slideshows/Photos-SEC-Championship-Game-234906511.html?gallery=y&img=1&c=y#/sports/tigersfootball/slideshows/Photos-SEC-Championship-Game-234906511.html?gallery=y&img=0&c=y&c=y

This first slideshow is a series of photos about the SEC Championship game that took place between SEC West representative Auburn and East representative Missouri on December 7, 2013. Mike Ehrmann and Kevin Cox are the men who took the photos, and they represented Getty Images.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/photos/1401/cfb-bcs-title-game-florida-state-auburn/30/

The second slideshow is of the BCS National Championship Game which was played at the site of the Rose Bowl on January 6, 2014. The slideshow was made by Stanley Kay who was representing Sports Illustrated.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/port_popup.html?mem_id=10022&i_id=1093931

The last slideshow is about a University of Georgia women’s basketball team against Presbyterian College on November 10, 2013. Photos were by Ted Mayor, a freelance photographer for the University of Georgia and the Marietta Daily Journal.

These slideshows depict the action that went on between the teams facing each other, as well as other aspects that make a game  enticing, like the pregame warm ups and shots of the fans. The slideshows has journalistic value because they show an up and close look at what happens on a football field or basketball court, like the passion that the players show and the extreme effort it takes to make the plays that they do. It’s another side to sports that you can’t see if you’re just watching it on a TV screen or from the stands. Shots of the coaches and of the venues where the games are played are cool because they help one get a feel of the atmosphere  I find this slideshow inspiring because as and athlete myself I can identify with the passion that the players’ faces show in the pictures while at the same time appreciating what they go through from a fans perspective.

After looking at these slideshows it’s hard to remember that these athletes are also students trying get an education at college. But are these players today really student-athletes anymore? Or are they merely athletes bound by the NCAA to attend school in order to continue to play sports?

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