Friday, May 15, 2009

The Tail Wagging The Dog

If you watched the state boy’s basketball tournament, you couldn’t miss Vander Blue. He’s a talented basketball player for Madison Memorial High, a junior guard. He was the MVP of the tournament. He made what the NCAA calls an “oral commitment” last summer to play for the UW Badgers.

It’s now become apparent that Mr. Blue likes to play basketball and is very good at it, but Mr. Blue doesn’t like academics and isn’t making good grades. In fact, his grades are obviously so crappy that SEVEN big-shots had a sit-down with him Monday and told him, in essence, to buckle down, or he wouldn’t meet the “academic standards” to be a Badger jock.

I would imagine those standards are, shall we say, fairly low.

Cap Times sports reporter Rob Schultz says after the meeting with these big-wigs, including Bo Ryan himself, and UW Admissions Director Robert Seltzer, along with two academic counselors, assorted other Memorial High top administrators, and his mom, Mr. Blue put thinly-veiled hints on his Facebook page that he was going to start shopping around for another school to make a “commitment” to. He’s going to take his ball and go…..elsewhere.

Let’s face it. He’s a teenager, and he’s acting like one. To further complicate matters for the young man, he’s under pressure from his peers to play for Marquette. Marquette and Memorial High alum Wesley Matthews has joined the chorus urging him to consider Marquette.

I’m not sure how Mr. Blue will “get into” Marquette if he’s already shy of the standards for the UW, but - stranger things have happened, haven’t they?

It is impossible for me to imagine a scenario where any other “department” at the UW would make such a big thing about recruiting one student. If a good trumpet player at Hortonville High was recalcitrant about going to Madison, I can envision Mike Leckrone MAYBE making a trip up there to sit down with the young trumpeter, and maybe the parents, and the kid’s band director.
But not with a phalanx of other high-ranking UW officials and counselors.

And let’s face another fact: a music scholarship is nothing like an athletic scholarship. Or a math scholarship or an engineering scholarship or any other kind of scholarship. And kids who are offered math, science, art, or any other than an athletic scholarship usually aren’t having any trouble whatsoever making A’s.

It’s a strange world we live in, when we place such value and emphasis on the young people we want to carry, bounce, throw, or kick a ball.

1 comment:

  1. Sports: the opiate of the people...along with reality TV, the National Enquirer, MP3 players, cell phones, and, by god!, the GoreNet.

    Fabulous parody of our self-involvement at The Onion:

    The Dr.