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Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops weighs in on HBO's RealSports episode on academics in sports

by Ryan Aber Published: March 25, 2014

“Interested to see what @HBO’s Real Sports is going to say about my Multidisciplinary Studies degree. Wonder why they didn’t interview me?” Ikard tweeted.

Mensik said he was approached by an HBO producer through LinkedIn. After a couple of phone interviews, Real Sports reporters flew to Houston to interview Mensik a little less than a month ago.

Mensik was initially a business major initially before failing a calculus class late in his junior year. Instead of extending his time at OU, he opted to switch majors and was given several choices of majors where he could still graduate on time — multidisciplinary studies being one of them.

Different people have different academic ceilings, Stoops said, and advisors try to work with students to make sure they’re in a place where they can excel.

“At the end of the day, you want to be a finance major and you fail calculus, you’re gonna have to find something else to do,” Stoops said. “That’s just the real world, right?

“At the end of the day, everyone has different abilities — on the field and in the classroom.”

Stoops said the APR standard can also keep athletes from pushing themselves as hard as they can academically.

“It doesn’t allow kids to pursue (a degree) as hard as they can and they may fail it, but now not everyone is failing because they’re not going to class,” Stoops said. “They took a tough major, they struggled and they couldn’t do it. Now they’re penalized for it.”

Stoops said he knows of many athletes who came into college with grades and test scores that would’ve made it difficult or impossible for them to get enrolled in college before the APR standard who have prospered in college.

“I think all kids deserve and should be in college,” Stoops said. “They’re better for the experience of having done it. I believe taking a guy from a tough background who hasn’t had much and you give him an opportunity to participate and have the opportunity to get your degree, they’re still better for having that experience, I think. … Most kids really come and take advantage of and grow from it.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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