Below is the satirical article I wrote for the "April Fools edition" of The Concordian, Concord University's student newspaper. It was printed on April 3, 2013. I've written about it in a couple previous blogs, so check those out for the full story. But, the short story is basically, I found out some information about differences in scholarships that go to regular students and ones that go to athletes, in addition to some other stuff. I was asked by a couple Concord employees to submit a piece to the newspaper about it, so I did.
The people on the newspaper staff that I spoke with about the article all said they enjoyed it and thought it was funny. After being printed, it caused a little controversy, as some were not happy about it. A couple pieces were written in the next issue of The Concordian about me, which I'll print in my next blog.
If you haven't seen it yet, let me know what you think. I think it's okay. I like the descriptor they included in my byline.
* * *
Printed in The Concordian; April 3, 2013
In a shocking development, Concord University officials have made the decision to remove CU athletics from official NCAA sanctioned play and instead move to a "club sports" program.
"Basically, it was a money issue," said Kevin Garrett, athletics director. "This institution was wasting way too much money on athletics, and we decided it was time for a change."
Under club sports rules, student athletes do not get scholarships and in fact, actually pay dues to play their chosen sport.
"Don't worry, we're still going to have sporting events and teams that you can cheer for," Garrett said. "What's changing is that the students will be playing because they love the sport, not because we're giving them inflated scholarships."
For the 2012-2013 academic year, Concord University paid approximately $1,312,000 in athletic scholarships. For the 2008-2009 academic year, that number was only approximately $369,000.
"That's just ridiculous to be paying such an exorbitant amount of money for what are basically average teams," Garrett said. "I mean, if we were doing something huge on a national stage, I could see spending all that money, but I’m sure we could do something better with it."
Institutional scholarships, which are monies that Concord gives out to all students, were listed at approximately $1,576,000 for the 2012-2013 academic year. In 2008, that amount was approximately $1,666,000.
Money that all CU students can receive for scholarships decreased approximately $90,000 over the last four years. Athletic scholarships, in that same time frame, increased in the neighborhood of $943,000.
"And, that's not right," Garrett said. "Think of all the money that we waste on athletic scholarships. Take a look at the statistics on the ones who graduate in a timely manner, it doesn’t make us look good."
In the fall of 2008, there were 132 incoming freshman student athletes. Only 17 of those 132 graduated in four years.
"Some of our athletes even get their books paid for too," Garrett said. "Do you know how expensive books are? The amount of money we're throwing at them is ridiculous."
One benefit that Garrett looks at to removing athletic scholarships is that student athletes might actually use their study lounge located in the Rahall Center.
"That's a real nice room down there," Garrett said. "It used to be the business incubator and all the furnishings in there were paid for with entrepreneurial grants to see businesses thrive and succeed. Since we're not doing that anymore, the athletes might as well use it."
With the change in the athletics structure, a question raised is if this will have any effect on the athletics staff, which according to the CU directory page includes 35 members, more than most education departments.
"We'll probably have to get rid of some," Garrett said. "Realistically, a lot of them just coach and don’t teach anything. Since we're putting more of a focus on the classroom, some of these coaches aren’t needed any longer."
Reaction from student athletes has been mixed. One student in favor of this stated, "It will force me to actually study and apply myself." Another student against the changes noted, "It will force me to actually study and apply myself."
When informed of the changes to the athletic structure, Concord University President Dr. Gregory Aloia promptly put in an application to the College of Coastal Georgia.