Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cheating, Irony, and Football

I make no secret of the fact that I am a college football fan. I love football (American style). I agree that there may be room for reform. I also agree it is not perfect. However, I think as a whole it is positive for higher education.

I also like college athletes. Student-athletes at the college level have high demands that the average college student does not have to deal with. In addition to a heavily regulated schedules, they often have to deal with faculty and librarians who are biased against athletes. Yet, this is one of the groups of patrons who may need the help of librarians the most. Nancy Lucas and I talked about this in a LOEX Conference presentation in 2000. (“Introducing First-Year Student-Athletes to the Library: The Michigan State University Experience.” In First Impressions, Lasting Impact: Introducing the First-Year Student to the Academic Library. Edited by Julia K. Nims and Ann Andrew. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Pierian Press. (2002): 95-100.)

Despite this, I am very disturbed by the case of the Florida State University football team. 36 members of the team have been suspended from the team's bowl game for cheating on an online music exam. (Why were so many members of the team in the same class?)

The irony? The suspended players can not play in the Music City Bowl! It seems like poetic justice for cheating in a music class.

The student-athletes I have taught in credit courses at Ohio University, Michigan State University, and Central Michigan University have been great. They were all good students.

I will use the example of the Florida State University players and their alleged cheating in future classes of classes I teach. It is a good example of academic dishonesty. However, I do not believe it is representative of college athletes.

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