Michigan Two-step: Step 1- Non-denial Denial, Step 2-Stick Head in Sand

After orchestrating a Mike Hart attack on Jim Harbaugh for turning states evidence against Michigan, head Michigan whiner Lloyd Carr addressed the facts that Michigan herds kids into majors that won’t help them and graduates just 38% of its black athletes with obfuscation:

“John Wangler, Elvis Grbac, Todd Collins, Michael Taylor, Scott Dreisbach, Brian Griese, Tom Brady, John Navarre, Chad Henne … those guys, they all got the degree of their choice at the University of Michigan,” Carr said. “If you would ask them, they would tell you how proud they are to have the degrees they have from this great university.”

Say what? Exactly what does that have to do with the fact that you herd kids into “football majors?” Let’s break this down. One, he’s not addressing the underlying issue, just evoking other quarterbacks names in an effort to balance out Harbaugh’s statements — throw the dogs off the scent. And two, he just dismisses the issue as if to say “move along, nothing going on here.”

Oh, and Henne doesn’t have a degree yet, Lloyd. Lloyd handles these issues the same we he handles the talk of his retirement, with meaningless answers that seem to mean something on the surface, but really stand for nothing.

Here are stats compiled by Michigan Football Saturdays:

  • According to university records, 3 percent of all undergraduate degrees conferred between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005 were in general studies, which falls under the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts umbrella.
  • The percentage of football players currently on track to receive a general studies degree is much higher. The recently published spring football media guide shows that nearly 82 percent of scholarship players on the 2007 Michigan football team who declared a major have done so in general studies.
  • The four of 22 who did not pick general studies are majoring in psychology, American culture, sociology and sports management and communications, respectively.

Michigan Live had this to say in its article, Carr Still on Defense.

First,there’s something compelling about Harbaugh – an icon in this program – taking a moral stand against a university that prides itself on balancing football and academics. Whether Harbaugh is right or wrong, he has grabbed public interest in a way that Michigan officials don’t seem to fully grasp.

Secondly, many people simply believe college football players can’t be students. When you couple that belief with the fact that in the last four graduating classes measured by the NCAA, just 38 percent of black football players have received their Michigan degrees, and the fact more than 80 percent of football players with a declared major are pursuing general studies, it’s easy for people to believe Harbaugh.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Michigan has completely flubbed its response. Michigan could put the issue to bed with one statement from school president Mary Sue Coleman:

We want to be the best in college football on and off the field. Although we strongly disagree with Jim Harbaugh’s contention that we’ve compromised academics for athletic success, we’re committed to raising our graduation rate for African-American football players, and we’re going to ask a faculty committee to examine why so many of our football players are clustered in one major.

That simple.

Just show an interest in examining graduation rates and general studies, and the Harbaugh issue goes away.

Every time someone brings it up, Carr could simply point to Coleman’s statement. End of story.

Instead, Michigan has refused to acknowledge there might be areas where it could improve academic performance for football players, as if being Michigan somehow means you can’t admit you’re not perfect in public.

It’s silly, and it has hurt both the university and the football program with the debate turning into a bizarre national family feud.

Nobody wins when Harbaugh’s former teammate Jamie Morris and current tailback Mike Hart are criticizing Harbaugh in public, or when Carr is forced to publicly debate another Division I football coach over his program’s academic record.

Nobody wins when there are doubts raised about Michigan’s academic integrity and a beloved former player essentially divorces himself from the program.

It’s time for Coleman to put a stop to it.

Maybe Michigan can do better, maybe it can’t, but refusing to examine the issues only leaves open the possibility that Harbaugh just might be right.

That gets us 90% of the way the there… the missing point is that Harbaugh is right. They’re facts. Michigan’s football players have majors that look nothing like the rest of the school. There is no plausible reason for such a skew outside of the fact that players are either allowed to choose or are guided into general majors that enable them to play football, but as Harbaugh said, won’t help them when football doesn’t work out as a career (as it doesn’t for most of the top players in the country.)

Is it a wonder Corwin Brown tells recruits that he would have gone to Notre Dame if was offered?


One Response to “Michigan Two-step: Step 1- Non-denial Denial, Step 2-Stick Head in Sand”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Good football schools who want to win games focus on football. The end.

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