Sunday, October 12, 2008

Between the Hashes: Debating Season

GOOD EVENING MEMBERS of the college football nation. We would like to welcome you to this Football Forum “Debate” hosted by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

Lets start with the gentleman from the “Heart of America”. What is your position on APR (Academic Progress Rates)?

Kansas Coach Mark Mangino:
I'm in favor of the APR. But I'm concerned about the student athletes that just didn't have the resources in high school to prepare them for the challenge of college. Does that mean they shouldn't have an opportunity to go to college? I don't think so. In fact, I know so. Every young man and young lady should have an opportunity to get an education if they want to, and if it's because of an athletic scholarship, I think that's great.

Moderator: Can we here from the gentleman from the south, Dr. T.K. Wetherall (Florida St. University President)?

Dr. Wetherall: Once you make that commitment to admit that student, I think that student deserves every opportunity that any other student would get, including while they're in high school. Now, that violates a number of NCAA rules. We have a program called “Care at Florida State”. You look at U.S. News & World Report, you'll see we're actually graduating African American students at a higher rate than we are white students at one of the highest rates in the nation. The reason we're doing that is the programs we put in place before they get to Florida State. But if I send those same counselors out to talk to a football player, I'm going to be slapped with some kind of a violation. That doesn't seem right to me. But you've got to take the chains off of us if we're going to deal with those students.

Coach Jim Tressel, representing the great state of Ohio. What’s your take on recruiting younger players?

Coach Tressel:
I know what's happening in our state, a lot of the schools from out of the state, colleges from out of state, are coming in and just offering all kinds of sophomores. We really haven't gotten to know them as well, and it puts a little bit of heat on us being the home school and all that, so it's put a little bit of -- all of a sudden now you're trying to find out more about that 010 guy or 011 guy. I'm hoping we don't get into the eighth and ninth grade deal, but everything in this world is getting faster.

Moderator: I turn to the man from the great northwest, Coach Ty Willingham. What needs to be done to increase the number of African American coaches?

Coach Willingham:
We need programs of all natures to develop a coaching pool. We need programs that teach the skill sets that are needed. But you also -- we must have legislation. I think it's clear. We're not changing the numbers based on how we've done it in the past. So therefore it's necessary to have something not to mandate that a president or an athletic director hire an African-American or a minority, but at least they have an opportunity to sit down and then you expand the pool and can determine what young men are capable, and maybe they create another opportunity through that interview in itself. We've gone too long with the numbers the way they are, and to sit around and explain them and rationalize them, and we could be coming up with all the different programs, they're good, they're necessary, but we have to change the face of what we're doing, and the only way to do that is legislation.

Lets go to the state of Texas, Coach Gary Patterson of TCU, what are your thoughts on a playoff?

Coach Patterson:
If you think the playoff system is going to be fun for the kids except for the team that wins the final game, we'd all be kidding ourselves because you put the amount of -- every ballgame is a National Championship game. It's going to be -- because to get to the next round, so you're talking about six hard days of work, we let them take one day off, somewhere we'll work finals in between all of it, and then yeah, we'll end up with the National Championship winner, but there's not going to be anybody else happy.