50 hour a week job leaves PAC-12 athletes too tired to study

Dennis Dodd of CBS obtained a copy of the survey – which the PAC-12 tried to keep secret – and has a report here:

NCAA rules restrict athletes’ time spent on their particular sport to 20 hours per week. The study showed that limit is being violated in the Pac-12 but only slightly (average of 21 hours). The other 29 hours accounting for the 50 include voluntary practices, medical treatment and traveling activities that don’t count toward the current limit.

I wonder where UO FARs Jim O’Fallon (Law) and Tim Gleason (Journalism) are on this?

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22 Responses to 50 hour a week job leaves PAC-12 athletes too tired to study

  1. Anon says:

    “an AVERAGE of 21 hours per week”

    Can we get some clarity on how Oregon contributes to this average? (Any IAC members here, and know the breakdown?)

    • On the IAC says:

      For what it is worth, this is the kind of information the IAC has requested from the Athletic Department and Jacqua Center staff, but they will not provide. A year or so ago, the Athletic Department stopped attending IAC meetings or communicating with the IAC (with Pres. Gottfredson’s permission), arguing that communicating with the IAC constituted ‘hostile workplace’ conditions (because the IAC asked for this kind of information). This is when Gottfredson created the President’s Advisory Group on Intercollegiate Athletics (PAGIA) that meets secretly with the President and Athletic Department (Kim Sheehan, Advertising, Chair). Coltrane has continued to tolerate this situation since taking office. As an aside, the IAC has functioned very nicely this year as a Senate committee, but without Athletic Department input.

      The Athletic Department has an exit survey of graduating athletes that they administer that could or should have this information, but will not share results, even aggregated ones. Instead, Loraine Davis summarizes the results in a paragraph that reads something along the lines of ‘The UO athletics program is superior in every way. Go Ducks.’ Paraphrasing further, LD said something to the effect that the IAC would never receive the exit survey data as long as she was involved.

      • On the IAC says:

        As another add-on…a certain blogger has requested the secret PAGIA meeting agendas as a public records request, but UO is holding on to them until a large ransom is paid.

        Any of the current committee members (listed below) could just post those agendas here in order to contribute to an environment of transparency….but they are apparently opting not to…

        Professor Kim Sheehan, School of Journalism and Communications, Chair
        Professor Jenifer Craig, School of Music and Dance
        Professor David Frank, Clark Honors College
        Professor James Isenberg, Mathematics
        Professor Lynn Kahle, Lindquist School of Business

        Jillian Alleyne, Communication Disorders and Science major, Basketball
        David Spencer, Accounting major

        Roger Thompson, Vice President for Enrollment Management
        Lisa Freinkel, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies
        Paul Shang, Dean of Students

        Ex-Officio Members
        Intercollegiate Athletic Director, Rob Mullens
        Senior Associate Athletic Director, Senior Women’s Administrator, Lisa Peterson
        Faculty Athletics Representative, Jim O’Fallon
        FAR Designee, Tim Gleason

    • Anon says:

      I’ll be less informative than our first IAC mover and only add that the it looks to me like the IAC will soon be in need of people who give a shit. In particular, giving a shit about Oregon as an acadmeic institution and giving a shit about exploited athletes. Those would both be good.


  2. Ben says:

    Also, some clarity on how many of those hours (such as time on an airplane) that are unstructured, in which a responsible athlete could study?

    • McArthur says:

      Sure, the atmosphere on a bus or plane is similar to a library or study center. Maybe they can do they homework during halftime… while Ben is watching halftime commercials. Give me a break.

      • Ben says:

        I did school work just fine when I took the bus or flew for athletic events. I did the same on military transports, which are much less conducive than luxury buses.

        Suck it up and use your time to its potential; do your homework on the bus and stop complaining about your free tuition.

        • charlie says:

          Instead of you telling us or athletes how to use their time wisely, why don’t we listen to what the players are saying they think is an appropriate use of their time.


          Northwestern University footballers made a compelling case that they had so little time to fulfill the student part of the student-athlete equation, they must be considered employees, with the right to form a union, in order to maintain their rights. The NLRB agreed, based on facts, such as, mandatory practices, off season workouts, other mandates, that in aggregate, required more than 40 hours per week.

          But, if you’re still skeptical that scholarship athletes aren’t employees rather than students, answer these questions. Can players skip a meeting, practice, workout sessions, any of that, due to their academic requirements? Can they tell their coaches that it’s really stupid to schedule any games or practices during dead week, or the week of finals, and that they would rather spend time studying in order to not flunk? Can the players tell their coaches, admins, boosters, guys like you, to suck it up because we have a better idea of how to use our own time to its best potential? NU footballers called the unis/2A’s bluff, and pretty much threw the lie of student-athlete back into the admins’ faces.

  3. McArthur says:

    Who is complaining about free tuition? I am glad it worked out for you but I doubt you are the standard. I don’t know how old you are but college sports changed dramatically. See for a discussion Prof Oriard’s description:

    I have seen enough student-athletes for whom it didn’t work out – full school load plus athletics. I had a student who fell asleep twice during a midterm after a USC road game; several “redshirt-freshmen” who came straight from “weight-lifting at 6am” to discussion section at 8am; friends whose scholarships were dependent on “athletic performance” and paid with their GPAs.

    “Suck it up and use your time to its potential” – I am happy that you find time for online comments…

    • Ben says:

      “Who is complaining about free tuition?” — any athlete who buys your argument that they are a victim of the system rather than a victim of their own time management.

      My experience with athletics was this decade, but that is a moot point. You are changing the subject… all I’m commenting on is that travel time = study time for anyone responsible enough to use it. The only exception is if travel time is used to catch up on sleep missed exclusively due athletic requirements (aka a flight at 2 a.m.), in which case the “50” hours still needs a caveat related to sleep instead of a bonus study hall on a bus.

      My initial point here is that before saying they work a 50-hour a week job and have no time to study, you have to factor in for when some of those 50 hours could reasonably be used for study. Time on a bus, plane, or terminal is time that could be reasonably used for study.

      Life is all about choices. Barring cases in which an athlete is not suited for school (someone who is horrible at academics and would maybe be suited for community college if not for the scholarship opportunity, most athletes cannot legitimately say that they have no time for studying. A claim of no time for both studying and enjoying the “college lifestyle”? Sure.

      (Ok, I’ll admit there are some legitimate cases. Having a kid is one of them. There are also those who choose to have a job instead of relying on student loans for room and board. Aside from the outliers though, it is usually a matter of bad choices of time management, not athletic conditions, that make freshmen fall asleep in your class.)

      • Ben says:

        I meant to add… if any official team activities occur during travel–suppose a coach uses the opportunity for a “team-building exercise” or sexual harassment awareness training, etc., that is another valid exception.

        • Sports Fan says:

          “Studying the playbook or else” is an official team activity

        • Makes you wanna shout says:

          Part of Chip Kelly’s success at Oregon came from co-opting the most productive part of the day for practice and having his players’ classes scheduled (note: not the players doing their own scheduling) for after noon, and those players’ days did not (and still do not) start with actual football practice. It would be helpful if Ben would share his particular sport. I have a suspicion it wasn’t football.
          Also, a recent segment of Real Sports on HBO showed the actual time the Washington women’s basketball team spent on a bus/train road trip for a game at Portland last season. All told, about 21 hours. Washington’s log entry for NCAA accounting purposes: 5 1/2.

      • McArthur says:

        I did not change the subject. I followed up on your statements.

        “Time on a bus, plane, or terminal is time that could be reasonably used for study.”

        I disagree and I have seen such assignments and exam outcomes. It is not quality studying time, and I hope that nobody really believes that this should be the standard to receive a higher education degree.

        “buys your argument that they are a victim of the system ”

        I didn’t say they are victims. I refuse to think of them as “amateurs” while they have a full-workload as athletes – whether 50 hours or 40 hours – and get a degree on the side while waiting at the airport terminal or sitting in a 12-passenger van.

        • Anon says:

          Stop fighting about second-order concerns. The big moving pieces are that we are implicated (as educators here) in one of history’s most successful cartels. It’s starting to crumble, as all cartels do (with greed from within being their ultimate downfall), but there are many years of exploitation remaining. That’s what you should get up in arms about. Fat coaches. Fat administrators. People who say would do it differently (hi Scott) until they are put among the riches themselves and are not recognizable by anyone who knew them. Get pissed off at that. Do something about that.

          • DuckandCover says:

            An additional $.02 from a former big-conference D-I college athlete (from the past 15 years). I, like the poster above, was able to get my school work done in airports, planes and hotels, but I was far from the typical student–I am now faculty–and I had a major that required lots of solo reading and writing which could be completed anywhere. HOWEVER, many if not most, of my teammates had majors, or wanted to have majors, that required collaborative work, lab time and other kinds of out-of-classroom work that was campus-based. This is a disaster in combination with athletics. Even highly-motivated and highly-accomplished teammates took 5-6 years to complete their degrees, because they couldn’t take labs and the like during competition season. Many, even most, chose their majors based on fitting in classes around practice and travel. Even with mandatory tutoring and study hall every single day, including during travel (until your good grades “earned” your unsupervised study time back) well-meaning teammates were simply too exhausted to do all their work or were caught between the demands of the sport and the demands of their classes, often in opposition. This is not a minor problem. It could definitely be alleviated in part by changing the administrative culture, and a bit by encouraging good time management, but big-time NCAA sports are set up for athletes to fail or underachieve academically, even when the students are smart and motivated, and even when the promise/pressure of professional contracts after college is minimal.

          • Anon says:

            Yea… “big-time NCAA sports are set up for athletes to fail or underachieve academically,” is the exploiting I had in mind. I’m tired of fixing the symptoms while letting the fundamentals continue.

            That said, we could open up the athletics special admits committee to scrutiny.

  4. Max Powers says:

    I have a good friend who played Division I on scholarship and the first year of college football nearly ruined him academically. Between meetings, practice, weight lifting, etc. he could hardly keep up. He was an A and B student in high school and pretty bright. There just weren’t enough hours in the day.

    Now think about how many players who come to big time college football programs and are not academically fit or ready at all. I used to teach at a community college and I saw kids come in on basketball scholarships who could barely read or write and they flunked out. Seeing the tears in their eyes because they couldn’t cut it academically at a community college was soul crushing.

    The system of big time athletics is failing these kids with the promise of fame and glory when very few of them go on to any kind of fame and glory. Far too many of them come out of high school woefully prepared and are placed on campuses where they barely have any time to be a student in a meaningful way. The NCAA with all of its strange rules and gate-keeping is failing at many levels. Institutions of higher education who buy into the money, power and prestige are also failing these kids.

    The % of them who will earn a living playing sports is so miniscule. The % of them who never earn degrees is far more troubling and needs to be addressed by those who are making millions. I love college football but I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the money grubbing juggernaut it has become.

  5. XDH says:

    I’d believe this headline…..unlike some of the other UOM “whoppers”.

    I taught a big 300-level service course for 15 years straight. During that time I had routinely had a track athlete or two (usually A/B), field athletes once in a while (B/C) and once a couple of wrestlers (D/F) – never any footballers. One of the wrestlers took my course three times, “improving” from F to D to D+. The third time around I had a heart-to-heart with this kid. He confessed that by the end of the day, between morning workouts, classes, and then evening workouts, he was too pooped to study. I felt really sorry for him. If I recall correctly poor academic performance was one of the main reasons the wrestling program got $hit-canned.

  6. Anas Clypeata says:

    I love that Dodd is doing this reporting, but I find it odd that he wrote “voluntary practices” instead of “‘voluntary’ practices”.

    Coach: Hey, NCAA! Look! Over there! Shiny! OK boys, now they can’t see you at your three-hour “voluntary” practice. Carry on.

    It’s a tower of adults who are liars and cheats as tall as the eye can see, standing on the backs of “student”-athletes (and their victims).

    • Sports Fan says:

      There are no adults in the room. Just coaches and administrators, on up the org chart, who aren’t willing to change the current practice because it’s worked so well in the past.

      Everyone wonders why the NCAA doesn’t just disintegrate in the face of hypocrisy. The reason is because college administrators ARE the NCAA, and they’re doing just fine, thank you. UO’s new president gives no indications that anything will be different under his watch (except for the impending construction boondoggle that will be Hayward Field).

  7. that effing Dog again says:

    and yes my 10 hour work week does leave me too tired for a) teaching effectively, b) doing research, and c) writing sensible blog posts to UOmatters – I can’t image what a 50 hour work week would be like …