Kennington Avenue

Thursday, April 10th, 2014


The Wisconsin Badgers Basket ball team had a great year. They played superbly throughout the season. They were the pride of the state and rightfully so. But today we learned that the team has been suspended for a year because some players were not academically up to speed. I suspect that Wisconsin is not the only school that has turned its head when it comes to stressing the importance of academics and making certain that their athletes are in academic compliance. Take a look at the sports program at any Big 10 school and you quickly realize that the bottom line is about winning. And so recruitment becomes about bringing in those players who are going to help the bottom line. Coaches that don’t perform are let go. And let’s not kid ourselves while we give lip service to the importance and the value of education in general and a college education in particular it is not where we put our money. Buzz Williams would leave Marquette to  assume the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. It was for a lot of money-a seven year contract for $18 million dollars. It is easy for coaches and others to not pay as close attention as they should on the academics of a player or two because in the end its all about the bottom line.

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About the author

Ken Wheeler is a retired pastor. He most recently served at Cross Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Milwaukee, where he is now the director of the Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry. For 18 years he was as an assistant to the bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA.