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So, USC is a Fine University?

  • I don't think anyone can argue that a good education can be had at USC. But, there's more to a school than its ABILITY to educate. Equally important is its desire to educate. As we all watch the Max Redfield recruitment, some call a decision to attend USC a "40 year mistake." I don't know that I'd go that far, but I will say that USC lacks the institutional soul that is Notre Dame's DNA. Let's not forget that Chris Gallipo has been quoted as saying that many fine people at USC helped him select a major that wouldn't interfere with football. In other words, he was led to whatever would glorify the football team with no regard for his personal future.

    Today, Gallipo is out of football. He has nothing but his major to fall back on. If that major has no real value, then the "soul" of USC has stolen Gallipo's opportunity to succeed. I'm not absolving the young man of responsibility for his own life, but the reason we expect adults to lead the young is because they know what they're doing. USC knew exactly what it was doing when it led Chris into his field of study. it was emphasizing its own glory at the expense of the young men.

    So, yes USC is a fine university. And, yes, you can get a good education there. But, there's still a vast difference between USC and Notre Dame, and no presentation by the USC staff can change that. They can make it look like a silk purse if they want to, but it's still a sow's ear underneath. For many, it IS a 40 year mistake, and the powers that be couldn't care less about it.

  • Mr. Rice, I absolutely agree that this is what ND does... educate first.

    But, to think that Chris Gallipo is sitting on a street corner with a tin can asking for money is kind of off base.

    I had a very good friend who played for Michigan State in late 90's, had his sites set on the NFL and then developed arthritis in his knees and never made it. He got a piece of paper from MSU saying he had a 'good college education', but it wasn't worth the ink that it was written with (much like many, many people who can't find a job right now). He was given a decent job with an MSU graduate/booster, learned on the job, and is now doing very, very well.

    As an engineer, what I learned in college barely scratched the surface of what I needed to know to be a proficient employee. What I have learned in my job eclipses all the knowledge I obtained in college 100 fold (probably more).

    Yes, there is an absolute intrinsic difference between what USC offers and what ND offers... but 10 years from now, that difference will be a lot less than it is now.

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    Member of the Gringo Mafia - chief infiltrator of the federales --- If life hands you lemons, throw them at an UofM fan

  • First of all. I find the contrast of a silk purse to a sow's ear confusing and misleading. They are both highly valued, at least to me.

    I think there are valid points in both Mr. R's and Tommy's posts. The quality of education an athlete receives at ND can be a leg up on the artifice of one which an athlete might receive elsewhere, even if it is a fine academic setting in every other regard. This should be a major consideration particularly for parents of indifferent students. That being said, most of us could provide examples of individuals, athletes or otherwise, who clearly out kicked the coverage of their academic background. But, in today's competitive marketplace, I think you're going to look for every edge you can find, and in this context, ND has one.

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    I may not be pretty, but I'm fast..... POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11

  • I live in Los Angeles. I work with no less than 5 USC alums at any given time. My sister-in-law is currently attending USC. I have met with some of the top people at the University, lectured to their students, and judged classroom projects. It has become a great University. To sit there and say that USC is a 40 year mistake is absolute ignorance on someone's part. Can an athlete skirt taking difficult courses, sure, but you can do that at almost any university, including Notre Dame. I'm sure we have a high number of players majoring in Sociology or Political Science and other such subjective majors. (One note: I was a double major, one of them was Sociology. Before anyone gets upset)
    If a USC grad, especially an athlete, finishes their degree, stays in LA, they will have many jobs available to them. The USC network is large and strong, and very helpful in providing opportunities to alums. At the end of the day, Notre Dame is an amazing place, and does a fantastic job of putting the right priorities in order, and works extremely hard to actually educate its athletes, but that does not make every other university a failure at it or a mistake. Some? Yes! All? No.

    I should also add...I HATE USC! Probably more than most anyone on this board.

    This post was edited by IrishWon 16 months ago

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  • I don't want to be argumentative, but I once interviewed a USC athlete. I really liked the guy. He was pretty personable. However, he couldn't string a sentence together. He had graduated from USC, he was 37 years old, and he was interviewing to handle inbound telephone calls. There was no way he could handle the job. He was a great athlete; he was used for the skills he was had; he was not educated at all.

    Obviously, this one individual is in no way a representative sample. But, he told me there were lots of guys like him, who were put in recreation majors for no reason other than to keep them eligible to play ball.

    I know, as I tried to say, that USC has become a very fine institution. It is the USC soul that I doubt. I don't beleive USC cares a whit for its athletes. The difference between Notre Dame and USC is that Notre Dame will virtually make you succeed, while USC will happily sweep you under the rug, all the while keeping you eligible to play, if you're not sufficiently self motivated. Thereby, I believe that if you're an athlete, USC can most certainly be a 40 year mistake.

  • I dont see a problem with what USC does.

    While ND might hold a players hand and make them succeed. I dont think there is anything wrong when a University lets you sink or get buy by doing the bare minimum. Sometime the player needs to be held accountable for the poor choices they make. If the USC player didn't want to be a recreation major he should have went public and transferred.

    The real problem is that a lot of these kids have no business being in the classroom and would benefit more from playing in a minor league and getting a nice paycheck then wasting time in classroom learning how to ballroom dance.

    This post was edited by teo4heisman 16 months ago

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  • If there's one thing I learned from being a horse player, it's that life is a game of probabilities. In fact, of the 4,000+ mostly useless posts I've planted on this board, if there's one thing that's really a keeper, it's this: life is basically a percentage play.

    Let's get it out of the way one more time. USC is a fine academic institution, as is Florida, Michigan, tOSU, etc. Not only that, but some of their football players were excellent students, and have achieved remarkable success outside of football. I'd like to think we can stipulate that as a given. If Manti Te'o had gone to USC, the probabilities of his doing well academically, are still very high, probably somewhere in the range of many thousands to one. Pat Haden was a Rhodes scholar. You don't get that playing mumbly peg for four years.

    But, for many athletes, if they are truly (and that's a key word, here) interested in an education, but might be closer to the margins of academic success, the probabilities of them having a positive academic experience at Notre Dame are greater than at most of the other top ranked football programs not named Stanford. You can start with graduation rates. You can look at Mr. Galippo's comments (not his degree). You can acknowledge that eligibility at Notre Dame is not maintained by taking a ballroom dancing course. It is not an absolute, of which there are very few in life, in the first place. It is a percentage play. For some recruits, the chances of them getting a degree, engaging in a useful curriculum, getting consistently strong support, being surrounded by many like-minded athletes, and generally being given the message that academics are a priority, are greater at Notre Dame than elsewhere. There is evidence to bear this out. If that is considered insulting to other universities, too bad. They are dealing their play. Notre Dame won't be a difference maker for everyone, but it will be for some, and that's a selling point.

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  • The reason I don't like USC is because they embarrass the rest of college athletics with their willfull ignorance of their public persona. Forget about the Reggie Bush affair which may have been (thought doubtful) missed til it was too late to fix. The Matt Leinart and OJ Mayo situations were disgraceful. Leinart was a Heisman Trophy winner, the most famous face in colllge football. He deliberately dropped enough credits to be one short of graduation so as to avoid having to take Graduate School courses when returning for one last year in Hollywood. OJ Mayo 'told' the basketball coach that 1. He would be playing for USC. 2. He would handle the rest of the recruiting, and 3. "Don't call me directly. If you need me call my friend. I will be in touch". Both of these situations played out in the national press and with no objection from the coaches, AD, or the President of the School!
    USC has had a prominent place in college athletics for decades and these types of incidents hurt the reputation of all the schools that participate in athletics. It may not be being painted with the same brush but it is being cynicaly splashed by a sloppy crafsman. USC continues to hide from its responsibilty to all the other schools in NCAA athletics by not living up to the standards one would expect of a place that has so many natural benefits at its disposal that should make it easier to be a first class program on and off the playing fields.

    This post was edited by psdo51 16 months ago

  • You realize that you dont need to be a Grad Student or take Grad Classes to get a 5th year. Leinart could have easily graduated in 4 years and taken the same ball room dancing class. My guess is he took the bare minimum so he could focus more time on Football and less time on class.

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  • Not true. A 5th year is not the same as having graduated. There is a 12 credit minimum to play football 'unless you need fewer credits to graduate and are in your last semester'. Which is why Leinart deliberately didn't graduate on time, so he could play football without classes. All done with the knowledge of the school administration.

    The NCAA allows athletes who are in their final semester to forgo the 12 credit-hour minimum for eligibility:

    "A student-athlete may compete while enrolled in less than a minimum full-time program of studies," provided he or she is enrolled in the final semester or quarter of the baccalaureate program and is taking the courses needed to graduate."

  • Ham, as usual you are spot on. Only one thing of note from my own point, I am not disputing that ND's approach is a selling point. They are doing this education thing about as well as it can be done. But that does not mean that USC or any other institution that is letting in kids that are not ready for college, is a 40 year mistake for an individual. That is where i think the argument goes awry. You are correct that percentages wise, it is a better choice to go to ND, but let's leave it at that. No need to start saying someone has made a 40 year mistake because they chose USC.

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  • Preposterous and self-serving statement. USC is beyond a "fine" university. Notre Dame is a "great" university.

  • Doesn't anyone remember Jim Harbaugh's comments when coaching at Stanford. He had wanted to major in History but was told he couldn't and play football because there was too much reading and a subsequent study by the Ann Arbor News showed that over 80% of football players were enrolled in "General Studies". The graduation rate was abysmal for the African American players as well....below 50%. Harbaugh also said that Michigan had ways of keeping players eligible for football but that the big time donors in the 50 yardline seats would never hire them becaus they knew they weren't getting a real Michigan degree.
    We like to compare Stanford to ND and although Stanford has even more difficult requirements for admission than ND they still redshirt the majority of players, have general studies programs and still don't graduate more than 85% of their admirable success rate but still not at ND level. In my opinion if players have 5 years plus summer course opportunities there is no excuse not graduate almost every player, unless there is not the effort or focus of the administration and athletic dept. Many ND players graduate in 3.5 years as they take advantage of the extra time on campus during football camp.
    When it comes to USC it has a reputation as a fine University but as mentioned in prior posts there can't be the same prority placed on academic success for the football players by the administration or athletic department. The last time I looked USC's graduation rate was hovering around 50%. That said, if graduating with a real degree is an individual player's prority then he can achieve that goal at most schools....the big question is what kind of environment makes it more likely to achieve for a player.....does he have to swim upstream when in an environment that just gives a wink and a nod at going to class or being around a lot of peers that have no interest in" I'm here to play football man" . If I was the parent of a kid blessed enough to be making that kind of decision with these options I know I would want him at a school that has a track record like ND's because it indicates to me that the school cares about the whole person and not only has the tools in place but the people that ensure the athletes are going to succeed.
    I'll close with saying that my two sons who are fortunate enough to be ND alums had multiple scholarship football player friends in their residence halls who were treated as one of the guys and fellow students before football players and in some cases future NFL players. I think that is the most unique aspect to student life at ND which contributes to the players social and academic acclimatization. My Michigan alum fiends never saw a football player in a class while at Michigan.

  • Redshirting players usually has nothing to do with academics.

    And while Stanford has lower Grad Rates then ND its because they don't push players to attend study sessions and tutors. They expect the Football players to be self motivated to succeed in the classroom.

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  • Well said, Ham and others,

    Good to see folks here debating the academic bonafides of the institutions against whom ND competes. If I may be so bold, I'd posit a theory as to why the disparity in grad rates exists between ND and some other schools.

    Basically, the difference is in the mission of the schools. The question that needs to be asked is why are SC, UM and others elite (yes, I said it) academic institutions? I'd say its because UM and SC (among others, including Stanford) are research universities and not necessarily in the business of undergraduate education. SC and UM are elite academic institutions because of

    1) the biomedical research that goes on there
    2) prowess of the teaching hospitals and med schools that exist there
    3) the professional schools that are there (law, pharmacy, PhD programs, etc)
    4) best of the best faculty in humanities majors and the like (e.g., SCs School for Cinematic Arts)

    Notre Dame is a research university as well, but not in the sense that SC and UM are. For example, both SC and UM offer >100 Ph.D. programs. each. At those schools, most faculty are focused on getting grants, not teaching undergrads, so that's why an SC grad can talk so poorly; as long as he makes progress it's all good. I tell my friends kids, no one goes to Harvard for an undergraduate psychology degree. You go to Harvard to get your Ph.D. IN psychology. That's not what Harvard, UM and SC are there for.

    At Notre Dame, faculty are expected to teach in addition to their research; the infrastructure is designed around making sure students, regardless of major or endeavor, have access to both professors and the resources necessary to be successful. At SC, UM and others, there's an alumni network, but for folks who leave early, the school doesn't care. I remember an article in SI a few years back that looked at OSU and Mizzou players who bombed out...they tried to go back to the schools for help, and were told "I cant do anything for you." In my opinion, ND tends to be more like the Whartons, Swarthmores and Williams' of the world: elite undergraduate institutions whose students populate the graduate schools at SC and UM. If your Andrew Hendrix and/perhaps not anymore, Alex Anzalone, you do pre-med at ND because you'll have your pick of Med-Schools when you're done. And I haven't mentioned the business school/MBA. When you match their record of educating these kids with potential alums in high-ranking positions in the business world, that's where the 40 vs 4 comes into play.

    Darn, I told myself I would be brief....sorry guys
    Good topic, if any one detects flaws in my logic, I welcome the back and forth...

    This post was edited by J_Law 16 months ago

  • I don't see how your statement relates to mine. There is nothing inaccurate here, which rules out preposterous. I wasn't comparing USC to any other university just their personal disregard for their own program and how it relates to everybody else, including their own student body. If by self-serving you mean my opinion? ok, it's my opinion of how their lack of pride reflects on their school but I don't derive any benefit from that, so that would rule out self serving. Maybe you quoted the wrong post?

  • You miss the point. Does it not stand to reason that if a player is at school for 5 years to complete a degree that should be completed in 4 years with a normal course load, plus has access to summer courses to further enhance progress towards the needed credits, that said player should graduate with a degree ? .....And kudos to Stanford for not pushing players into study sessions, that's truly admirable that they should not encourage academic success but expect it to be done by players on their own. Unfortunately some slip through the cracks...oh well

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