There are so many things wrapped up in this profile in the Chronicles of Higher Education about a college football player. This is the opposite to The Blind Side, the film about Michael Oher. Though the focus here is the University of Memphis, likely it is no different from most other college football programs. Mostly it strikes me as sad:
One of the popular paths for Memphis athletes—including Mr. Cathey and nearly a third of his football teammates—is an online program designed for working adults and students looking to build their own degrees.
Most semesters he takes a potpourri of courses, hardly building toward any specialization. This year he is enrolled in "Area/Facility Planning" through the School of Leisure Studies, and an online family-communication course. He has also taken "Wellness Concepts," "Introduction to Dance," and a class called "The Developing Adult" (which he failed—twice).
Fortunately for Mr. Cathey, D's count toward graduation in almost all of his classes. And one-third of his credits can come from electives. Over his five years at Memphis, he has gotten credit for 10 phys-ed courses, including yoga, kickboxing, free weights, and beginning tennis (which he aced—twice).
On the whole, Memphis athletes have had a 3.0 grade-point average or better the past three semesters. But many of its football and basketball players come to college underprepared for university-level work. Two years ago, the athletic department started a summertime "bridge" program for transfer students and first-year athletes with academic deficiencies. Of the 50 players who have come through the program, nearly half tested at or below a seventh-grade reading level.