This isn’t the NCAA violation that the headline makes it sound, however, its very much worth mentioning.
Wooden and Naismith award winner Jimmer Fredette, of BYU fame, has become such a celebrity at the school that his presence is a distraction in class. To that end, the University has requested that he no longer attend classes like a normal student, and instead finish his course work online.
It’s worth pointing out that BYU’s academic year ends earlier than just about any other university in the nation. Next week is finals for them, meaning that Fredette will miss about 4 or 5 days of class at most (assuming the news leaked not much later than the decision was made). That’s not a fatal result for a student in any scenario. It’s also worth noting that they are allowing him to complete his coursework.
However, as a teaching assistant at a university, I find this completely ridiculous. Is BYU so pathetic that they can’t control themselves enough to focus in class? Are they so undisciplined that they can’t pay attention to what actually matters? If one of my students were a star athlete on the Basketball team (not a small matter for this school) he would be viewed as any other student – as he should be.
This reminds me of a friend of mine who attended that institution in Provo, Utah. His parents were so concerned about his video game playing that they forbade him from having a computer while he was at school. Rather than teaching him the tough lesson of time management, they instead failed to trust him and made his decisions for him.
As a whole, there seems to be a wildly pervasive culture of “kids will be kids” in Utah. There are very few repercussions for misbehavior, and kids often seem to be able to get away with any number of actions that might go punished elsewhere. So, perhaps I shouldn’t find it so surprising that students at BYU can’t keep themselves under control in the presence of a star athlete. They must learn from a young age that their elders are there to be their sense of self-control, and that how they act doesn’t really matter.