Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Test scores reaction

Likely you've read the Strib article today on the incoming class of football recruits and their reportedly low standardized test scores. This is, of course, a concern to all of us who love Gopher football.

But I had a couple of issues with this report.

First of all, I wonder how many newspapers in, oh, I don't know, say central Ohio, or Detroit, or Los Angeles, or Gainesville, FL are digging up ACT scores for incoming freshman football players and making an issue of it 3 days before the first game of the season. Clearly this issue gets some heightened awareness around these parts based on the recent news of MarQueis Gray not being with the team based on the unusually dramatic increase in his ACT scores.

Which actually leads to my next issue...

Why is MarQueis Gray even mentioned in this article when, according to the article, "The Star Tribune requested college entrance scores for incoming freshman football players from every Big Ten school last summer under the nation's Freedom of Information Act."

First of all, great job by the Star Tribune of utilizing the Freedom of Information Act.

The current recruiting class is being thrown under the bus for the transgressions of the previous class. If the test scores pulled were from last year's incoming class, then let's talk about it, but let's not put the current recruiting class in the same discussion. As the article points out, and in my opinion should have done in a separate article, the incoming recruiting class has plenty of issues of its own academically, to say nothing of what is expected of them as being part of a Big10 football program.

Finally, a good number of that incoming recruiting class last fall had been recruited by Mason's staff (a fact that is not mentioned in this article), and the ones that were recruited by Coach Brewster and his staff were recruited in, essentially, a 4-week period from mid-January when Brewster was hired to the mid-February signing day of 2007. The amount of control that Coach Brewster had over that recruiting class as far as the kind of talent he'd like to see on his football team, not to mention academic standards, was minimal at best.

Look, I fully understand that these are issues that need to be addressed, and I want to see Gopher football players succeed in the classroom as well as on the field. But to insinuate that these recruiting classes are in the same boat is inaccurate, in my opinion, and to pin the pre-college academic shortcomings of last years class on Coach Brewster, to a great extent, is also inaccurate.

If Gopher football is going to make strides to improve the product both on the field and in the classroom, it isn't going to happen in one year, especially when that one year is a transition year in more ways than one.

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