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NY Post
New York Post
17 Feb 2024


NextImg:Compromised collegiate standards have corrupted the sports world

Superstar Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill is a family man. He’s married and recently, over just four months, fathered three kids with three different women, none of them his wife

Hill’s also a college man. Three times. Garden City CC then Oklahoma State. He was tossed from Oklahoma State after he was arrested and pleaded guilty to domestic violence. West Alabama was happy to have him next. 

Hill is also inquisitive. Last week he wondered in public why Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo hasn’t been granted a chance to be an NFL coach, though Spagnuolo had previously coached the Rams. So Hill tweeted (or X’ed), “Why don’t Spags got no interviews.” You can reline all the bad grammar you want, but that was the quote. 

Though Hill’s atrocious grammar calls into question his fundamental literacy, it’s nothing unusual from NFL players. Not these days. It’s the Oklahoma State part that grabs and stick. … Oh, yeah, Dexter Manley! 

In 1989 Manley, a defensive end for the then-Washington Redskins, made national news when he tearfully told a U.S. Senate panel that he graduated Oklahoma State in 1981 as a full scholarship student-athlete despite his inability to read or write. 

Shocking. 

Tyreek Hill #10 of the Miami Dolphins and AFC runs the ball in for a touchdown during the 2024 NFL Pro Bowl Games at Camping World Stadium on February 04, 2024. Getty Images

Years after graduation, Manley testified, he began to seek instruction to end his illiteracy. 

Manley’s coach at Oklahoma State, Jimmy Johnson, would next coach a collection of renowned reprobates — criminals included — to a national title at the University of Miami, then on to more glory as coach of the Dallas Cowboys before landing his current role as a big name but just-show-up Fox NFL studio panelist. 

After Manley’s heart-breaking Senate session, the cry went out for NCAA educational reforms. Such reformation would become a nearly annual exercise/waste of time for Division I NCAA members, as there were still loopholes to run through. 

In fact, as a matter of blatant nose-thumbing, schools with stadiums and arenas to fill and TV revenue to chase began to hire NCAA investigators at increased wages to help circumvent NCAA rules designed to educate college men who were recruited as athletes. 

Jerry Tarkanian, highly successful basketball coach at UNLV — a highly dubious but steady landing place for academically deficient “student-athletes” — was the rep at one of these NCAA reform conventions. 

Asked by another college’s rep why he, of all people, demanded changes that would actually educate recruits, Tark the Shark answered that some schools might actually try to institute the changes, thus providing him with a further advantage to recruit athletes who had no business being enrolled in any college. 

The North Carolina, famous for basketball superiority, was revealed to have maintained players’ eligibility with no-show courses for which they “earned” A’s — for 18 years! The bogus courses were broadly labeled African-American Studies, as if UNC were doing black players a favor as opposed to exploiting them to remain eligible in order to beat Duke. 

Washington defensive end Dexter Manley (72) celebrates at the conclusion of Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos. Vernon J. Biever

UNC’s national title star Rashad McCants claimed he made the Honor Roll despite never attending a class. Yet Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams — the folksy, good ol’ guy “Coach Roy” as CBS Jim Nantz lovingly called him during NCAA Tournament games — claimed he knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about any of it. 

Meanwhile the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame continues to elect college coaches who were hired for millions of dollars to use or abuse colleges as a phony pretense — even after they were sanctioned for cheating. 

So, the nearly annual reforms to eliminate the full, ask-no-questions search for young men, such as Manley, led to nothing better than more compromised standards in order to win games predicated on the enrollment of possibly illiterate or semi-literate athletes. 

Many of these recruits were — and remain — the products of splintered, dysfunctional families that provided the neglect to depart their high schools with no practical ability to succeed in life if it didn’t include professional sports. 

Thus many of those who didn’t make it as pros, were — and continue to be — flushed back to the blighted environs from which they were pulled. Their productive lives end in their early 20s when legit college students’ productive lives begin. 

And where are we now? After all the calls and conferences that demanded reform, we’re worse — much worse — than ever. The schools have never been more ready, willing and able to serve as false fronts for basketball and football, which meets the legal definition of illegal racketeering. 

Heck, payments to players are now above the table as players annually declare themselves free agents. 

There is no moral compromise to consider, it’s completely rotten. The education of full-scholarship “student-athletes” occurs only by accident, not design. 

From their presidents, through their boards of directors, through their athletic departments, they don’t give a damn. And those presidents — mostly hired as fund-raisers — would risk termination if they tried to set course on a higher road. 

Or, to quote 2021 Giants first-round pick, WR Kadarius Toney — a four-year University of Florida man, a new father to a daughter and “explicit lyrics” rapper as Yung Joka — after he was recently left off the Chiefs’ roster due to an “injury” as opposed to his presence as a liability: 

Kadarius Toney did not play in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl 2024 win. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

“Ya’ll reading this cap ass s–-t? … I don’t give a s–-t. Ain’t never been a n—a to do all that, but man that cap-ass. I’m not hurt. Save that s–-t. Suck my d–-k too.” 

Four years on full scholarship at Florida, ranked No. 1 academically in the state. It’s sick. Hideously backward. But as long as our immune systems can be compromised, why not everything else? 

This just in: ESPN has reportedly signed an $8 billion deal for rights to the college football playoffs. You can buy a lot of college recruits for that. Literacy, as well as civility, strictly optional.

CBS’ Verne Lundquist says he’s likely done after this year’s Masters. He’s 83, thus packing it in early. 

There are scores of suitable-for-framing calls of live games, and Lundquist’s from the 1979 Cowboys-Steelers Super Bowl XIII remains a spontaneous ode to humanity. 

Early in the third quarter, with Dallas down, 21-14, tight end Jackie Smith dropped a 10-yard would-be touchdown pass from Roger Staubach. Lundquist: “Bless his heart, he has to be the sickest man in America.” 

And he’d subtly let us know what he really thought. During an NFL game, after a player performed an all-about-me-dance after a routine play, Lundquist said, “he’s trying to make the nightly cable TV highlights.” 

Verne Lundqvist (right) has been one of the iconic voices in sports. Getty Images

If he’s done after the Masters, he was our pleasure. 

The cancer diagnosis of King Charles inspired all-day live shots of Buckingham Palace, as if cable news networks anticipated his appearance from a window. 

It brought to mind offseason reports about the Yankees, when local TV news reporters and crews were dispatched to stand in the front of Yankee Stadium in case a game broke out in January. 

CBS/Paramount is laying off 800 employees while Tony Romo is paid nearly $18 million per for seasonal work.