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Mar 4, 2004 4:36 pm


But Could a Bulldog Pass It? ...



Former University of Georgia basketball coach James Harrick and his assistant/son, James, Jr., are currently suing the university for defamation over their dismissal for violating NCAA rules. Some 1500 pages of documents have now been filed in the NCAA inquiry. Among the documents is a final examination given by Harrick, Jr., – the only test – in his course, Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball in 2001. Among the twenty questions on the final exam:
How many goals does a basketball court have? [ans: 2]
How many halves are there in a basketball game? [ans: 2]
How many points is a three-point goal worth? [ans: 3]
Apparently the print edition of the Washington Post publishes the whole exam, but it is not on-line. Thanks to David Post at The Volokh Conspiracy for the one-pointer.

You could do that sort of thing in a history class. Is there anything that cannot be corrupted?

What did the Declaration of Independence declare?
When did the War of 1812 begin?
Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?
But, wait, Groucho Marx already did that one.
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David Lion Salmanson - 3/4/2004

The NYT published the whole test too. My favorite question was "diagram the half court line." When I taught at Michigan I generally had good experiences with athletes. I didn't even know a certain current New England Patriot was on the football team until he told me he was going to miss class to go to the White House! He did well in the class too. I did have some students that struggled who worked with tutors, but I found the tutors to be nothing but helpful. One made his student rewrite his term paper four times (all drafts were handed in) and although it clearly got better with each draft, it was also clearly the kids work. The paper got a C+. Hockey players, however..., let's just say there were a lot of reasons the coach got fired.


Ralph E. Luker - 3/4/2004

Richard, You are, as so often, right on all counts. The only thing that surprises me in this is that no one who could make a difference seems to have learned very much from previous scandal. By the way, send me your e-mail address.


Richard Henry Morgan - 3/4/2004

This has been going on at major programs for years. The other method for passing athletes is to find a pliable professor, and have him pass "study materials" to an athletic department "tutor" -- the "study materials" being almost word-for-word the test. The lid on that gone blown off at Texas, when a class-full of jocks who never showed up to class still managed to pass with A's.

Georgia got smacked some years back by one their own. Seems they put a female Georgia PhD in charge of the "remedial program" there -- Georgia had a special program for admission of minorities who needed remediation (it turned into a back-door method for stuffing athletes into the system). Seems you could spend all four years taking remediation and playing. She blew the whistle, got fired, sued the University, and made off with a few million. Color me not surprised.

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