Daily Archives: November 19, 2008

Are college athletes taught to ‘beat the system?’

USA Today has published a major feature article on college athletics:

the NCAA’s toughening of academic requirements for athletes has helped create an environment in which they are more likely to graduate than other students — but also more likely to be clustered in programs without the academic demands most students face.

Some athletes say they have pursued — or have been steered to — degree programs that helped keep them eligible for sports but didn’t prepare them for post-sports careers.

“A major in eligibility, with a minor in beating the system,” says C. Keith Harrison, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, where he is associate director of the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

•83% of the schools (118 of 142) had at least one team in which at least 25% of the juniors and seniors majored in the same thing. For example, seven of the 19 players on Stanford’s baseball team majored in sociology.

•34% of the teams (222 of 654) had at least one such cluster of student-athletes.

More than half of the clusters are what some analysts refer to as “extreme,” in which at least 40% of athletes on a team are in the same major (125 of 235). All seven of the juniors and seniors on Texas-El Paso’s men’s basketball team majored in multidisciplinary studies, for example.

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Today’s teens report higher self-esteem than their parents, study finds

This is a cross-post with my Cognitive Science Blog.

Today’s teenagers and young adults are far more likely than their parents to believe they’re great people, destined for maximum success as workers, spouses and parents, suggests a report comparing three decades of national surveys.

And these so-called Millennials or Gen Y young people may be heading for a fall when their self-esteem is punctured by reality, says psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. She examined changes from 1975 to 2006 in yearly surveys, given to thousands of high school seniors by University of Michigan researchers.