NORMAN — The “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” segment on the relationship between academics and athletics at major universities airs tonight at 9 p.m. on HBO.
The report investigates the decreased admission standards and higher graduation requirements that have allegedly led to many schools pushing players through the system with diplomas.
The Oklahoman was provided an advance copy of the report, in which former OU offensive lineman Eric Mensik describes his multidisciplinary studies degree as a “football degree” and said it hasn’t helped him find a job.
My beat partner Ryan Aber talked with Mensik this weekend, and while he didn’t back off what he said, he did say he doesn’t blame OU for anything.
Mensik said he was a business major until his junior year, when he failed a calculus class and academic advisers showed him options for other degrees that included multidisciplinary studies, sociology and communications.
The former Sooner said the decision to change majors was his and his alone.
So based on what I can gather, here is what the OU Athletics Department is guilty of: Helping a football player stay eligible and graduate by showing him options to change his major after he failed a class.
I don’t find that appalling, shocking or the slightest bit controversial. It sounds to me like the system worked the way it should work.
Remember, academic advisers all over campus do the same sort of thing every single day when regular students are struggling. The only real difference here is that Mensik was a football player.