I’m not sure why presidents even bother with these statements, it just makes them look like fools or dupes – or bought men:
In the days after the hazing scandal in Northwestern University’s athletics program broke this summer, school leaders homed in on this message: “Make no mistake, our student-athletes are students first,” President Michael Schill wrote in an open letter to the school community.
Former Wildcat football player Ramon Diaz says that was not his experience. …
He says student-athletes, particularly those of color, are brought to universities to win on the field, with little attention paid to their academic growth or mental health.
“To leave somebody like that is really just kind of tying both their hands behind their back,” said Diaz, who is Mexican-American. “That’s why some of these Black and brown athletes are left in shame and guilt, embarrassed.”
… Diaz got the message that he was supposed to take easy classes so he could maintain a high GPA. If his grades dipped too low, he wouldn’t be allowed to play football. The year he arrived, he remembers taking three music classes.
“There wasn’t a conversation [around] how this is going to contribute to your degree,” said Diaz, who at 6’4” still carries himself like the offensive lineman he once was. “It was the eligibility part. Those were the cymbals in the background … clanging over and over again, ‘Eligibility, eligibility.’ ”
Diaz said his coaches never asked him how classes were going or if he needed help.